Dry eyes

Duke corneal specialists use sophisticated imaging devices and latest treatment options to diagnose and treat dry eyes. Dry eye syndrome affects millions of Americans, and can range from mild to severe. Our comprehensive evaluation determines whether you have evaporative dry eye or aqueous-deficient dry eye. As experts in dry eye diagnosis and treatment, we assess your condition and recommend the treatment that is best for you.

Comprehensive care for dry eyes

Redness, irritation, blurriness, and a gritty feeling in your eyes are the classic symptoms of dry eyes. The condition may result from too much time spent in front of a computer or smart phone. Or, it may result from another medical condition such as thyroid disease, adrenal gland disorders, hormonal imbalances (including menopause), food allergies, and digestive disorders.

Evaporative dry eyes occurs when the meibomian glands (found at the edge of your eyelids) become inflamed or clogged, and no longer produce the oil that lubricate your eyes. Aqueous-deficient dry eye occurs when the lacrimal glands (located above the eye in the upper, outer corner) stop producing the tears needed to maintain a healthy surface of the eye. This type of dry eye is often related to autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and Sjogren’s syndrome.

Dry eyes need prompt treatment because the condition can worsen over time. Chronically inflamed glands can cause irreversible damage. We diagnose your dry eyes quickly, and start treatment promptly. Our goal is to revive your glands, and return you to normal activity when possible.

Choose Duke for your dry eyes care because we offer:

  • Top-ranked care. U.S News & World Report consistently ranks Duke Eye Center among the nation’s best.
  • Respected leaders. Our eye specialists travel the country to lecture and teach courses on dry eye procedures. Our vast experience and knowledge means you receive your care from some of the best corneal specialists in the country.
  • Latest treatment advances. Our eye specialists are among the few in the country who have undergone advanced training in the most sophisticated treatments for dry eye available: intense pulsed light therapy and the LipiFlow thermal pulsation system. These treatments moisten and lubricate your eyes.
  • Convenience and comfort. Many treatments for dry eye can be done in the convenience and comfort of our offices. The procedures are quick, and require very little down time. We help you feel better faster.
  • Sophisticated imaging. We use advanced imaging devices to evaluate the condition of your meibomian glands, and determine the best treatment for your individual needs.


Obtaining relief for dry eyes can involve trying different over-the-counter products, prescription medications, and more advanced approaches. The following treatments may be recommended, depending on what works best for you.


A comprehensive dry eye evaluation will determine which type of dry eye you have, and help your doctor recommend the most appropriate treatment. The following tests may be performed.