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Dry Eye Syndrome near Chicago, IL


Dry eye syndrome is a common eye issue affecting up to 30% of the population. It is more common in women and the incidence increases with age. There are 2 main categories of dry eye disease – aqueous tear deficiency (low tear production) and meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) (tears evaporate off the eye too quickly due to a lack of oil). 80% of patients with dry eyes have MGD.

Meibomian glands produce the oil layer of the tear film. MGD leads to dry eye symptoms, and an increased risk of chalazion (bumps on the eyelid). At Kirk Eye Center, we provide a treatment for Meibomian Gland Dysfunction called LipiFlow®. This innovative treatment option uses a device that gently heats and massages blocked oil glands in a 13-minute procedure.

During a thorough consultation and assessment, our team will be able to effectively identify if you are suffering from MGD or dry eye syndrome in order to provide you the best possible treatment option. Services include:

  1. Artificial tears
  2. Prescription dry eye medication (Restasis, Xiidra, Serum tears)
  3. Punctal plugs
  4. LipiFlow (short procedure to unclog oil glands and increase tear quality)
  5. Eyelid anti-inflammatory medication (Avenova, Tea tree oil, Lid scrubs, Heated eye masks, and Antibiotics)
  6. Blephex (short procedure to clear lash debris and lid inflammation)
  7. TearCare® System (targets the meibomian glands with controlled heat and manual expression)
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Your dry eye treatment will be customized based on the underlying condition triggering your symptoms. Our team will determine the cause by reviewing your medical history and performing an in-depth examination. If we find that you have a mild case of dry eye, you may be advised to use an over-the-counter or prescription lubricant eye drop. We may treat more advanced cases of dry eye with a minor procedure such as LipiFlow or punctal plugs. We also treat dry eyes with the TearCare® System, which targets the meibomian glands with controlled heat and manual expression. Flexible SmartLids, adhered to the eyelids, deliver heat to melt solidified meibum (oil) within the glands. After heating for about 15-20 minutes, our team member will manually express the glands to clear out the melted oils and debris, restoring proper gland function. This process improves the tear film's stability and quality, providing relief from dry eye symptoms, especially in patients with meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). Periodic treatments may be necessary for sustained relief.


Dry eye is caused by a lack of tears (tear production) or a deficiency in the oil or mucin layer (tear quality). Some patients have more than 1 cause for their dryness. The most common cause is MGD. There are multiple factors that contribute to dry eye—eye strain, contact lens wear, prescription drugs, hormonal changes, and certain underlying conditions, like rheumatoid arthritis or Sjogren’s syndrome.

Dry Eye Syndrome FAQ

How common is dry eye syndrome?

Very common. In the U.S. alone, up to 50% of people are affected by dry eye syndrome yearly.

Does dry eye syndrome cause permanent eye damage or problems?

Although dry eye syndrome can lead to a corneal abrasion or corneal ulcer, this is rare. The more immediate concern with dry eye syndrome is that it can increase risks for eye infections and inflammation that can cause discomfort or impede vision.

Can having dry eyes be a symptom of a serious eye health concern?

There are a number of health issues that can cause dry eyes including lupus, arthritis, allergic eye disease, Sjogren's syndrome, thyroid disorders, the effects of aging, and more. That's why it's always recommended to have regular eye exams at Kirk Eye Center so that any possible eye health issues can be diagnosed and treated early.

What are tips to help with dry eye syndrome?

  • Rest eyes after an extended period of screen time
  • Use a humidifier
  • Avoid places with high air circulation
  • Avoid cigarette smoke
  • Use a warm compress on your eyes
  • Include an omega-3 fatty acid supplement in your diet
  • Drink plenty of water

How does dry eye syndrome impact sleep quality?

Individuals with dry eye syndrome often experience discomfort, such as itching, burning, or a gritty sensation in their eyes. These symptoms can make it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep. Frequent awakenings throughout the night and reduced sleep time may decrease the quality of sleep and prevent them from reaching deep, restorative stages of sleep. Those affected with dry eye syndrome may also develop sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea or daytime sleepiness due to the lack of sleep. Sleep disturbances can also affect mental health, leading to increased stress, anxiety, and depression. To improve sleep quality, people with dry eye syndrome may use artificial tears before bedtime and maintain a humid sleeping environment.

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Dry eye syndrome is a frustrating condition that can interfere with your daily life and can also affect your vision if not treated in a proper manner. If you suffer from dry eye symptoms and have not had success treating them with over-the-counter remedies, we encourage you to schedule an exam at Kirk Eye Center in River Forest, IL or Gurnee, IL. Our experienced team of ophthalmology specialists will work to help you resolve your symptoms.

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*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images may contain models.