Dry Eye Problems in Arizona

Q. I just moved from the midwest to Arizona and I am finding that my eyes are more red, irritated, and scratchy — Is this a common issue on Arizona?

A. Because of the prevalence of our sunny dry days, Arizona residents statistically have a much higher incidence of dry eye problems. For the most part, these issues can be kept under control with the use of OTC artificial tears used 3 – 4 times per day or more. Other solutions include prescription drops, such as Restasis, or lacrimal plugs (a painless procedure of inserting microscopic plugs into the tear ducts to slow down drainage of normally produced tears.)


Q. What types of artificial tears work best?

A. There is a multitude of different brands of artificial tears. We do not recommend that you use any brand that promises to “get the red out”; these brands actually make the eye dryer and can predispose the eyes to other diseases. Using any artificial tear often is satisfactory for most people. If the artificial tear that you try seems to burn a lot when you place a drop in your eye, it is possible that you may be allergic to the preservatives in most artificial tears, and you may need to find a “preservative free “tear. If the dryness and irritations are not easily helped by these artificial tears, then consultation with an ophthalmologist to rule out other conditions would be advisable.