Dry eyes is a condition that may occur when tears are not able to properly lubricate the eyes. Tears may not properly lubricate the eyes if they are of poor-quality or if there are not enough tears being produced. Causes of dry eyes may include aging, diabetes, smoke, low vitamin A levels in the body, and tear gland damage. These causes may decrease tear production or increase the likelihood of tears drying up. Symptoms of dry eyes may include stinging or burning eyes, eye redness, blurred vision and the feeling that something is in the eye.
The goal of treatment is to manage the cause of dry eyes. Corticosteroids such as cyclosporine (Restasis) work to decrease inflammation on the eye surface. Side effects of cyclosporine may include redness and itching. Cholinergics such as pilocarpine (Salagen) work to help increase the production of tears. Side effects of pilocarpine may include nausea.