What Is Dry Eye?
You need tears to keep your eyes protected and healthy. Your eyes produce two types of tears:
- 1. Tears that lubricate your eye throughout the day
- 2. Excessive tears produced as a reaction to irritation or emotions
People with dry eye either produce an inadequate amount of tears or poor quality tears that fail to nourish the eye. Just because you have dry eye doesn’t mean your eye can’t produce tears. In fact, some people with dry eye produce excess tears in response to the dryness and irritation.
What Causes Dry Eye?
Several factors cause dry eye including:
- – Age: tear production decreases with age
- – Gender: women are more prone to have dry eye after menopause or during pregnancy
- – Medication: certain drugs and medications reduce tear secretion
- – Environment: smoke, dry heat, and other environmental factors can dry out your eyes
How is Dry Eye Diagnosed and Treated?
If you believe you have dry eye, contact your doctor. A simple examination can be enough to determine if you have dry eye. At Eyesight Associates, we offer a TearLab test, a more accurate and measurable assessment of the dryness of your eyes. The test collects one tear drop and provides an objective measurement to help our physicians monitor your treatment.
We also have a new testing device called LipiView. It is an ophthalmic imaging device used to capture digital images of your tear film and Meibomian glands. LipiView is a standard test that provides a proper diagnosis, helping your doctor arrive at a more verifiable conclusion.
The LipiView test only takes about five minutes and patients will be asked to look directly at a special light and blink normally so that a computer program can take the necessary measurements of the eye’s lipid content and quality.
Treatment for Dry Eye
If you have dry eye caused by blocked Meibomian glands (glands on your eyelids that produce an oily substance preventing your tears from evaporating), LipiFlow can offer the relief you are searching for.
An eyepiece called the Activator is placed on your eye. Using precisely controlled heat and light pressure, the Activator unblocks your Meibomian glands and allows them to produce oils again.
IPL (Intense Pulsed Light)
IPL is used to unplug the oil glands that line the upper and lower lid margins. The light feels like a healing, warm compress and it liquefies any secretions that may be blocking the Meibomian glands. Once the glands are unplugged, the oily layer of the tear film is restored, thus tears remain in the eye and bring soothing relief. We are seeing positive results from many of our patients who suffer from dry eye. IPL cannot be used on tan or darker skin tones, as it might permanently lighted the skin.
Pelleve’ is an alternative to IPL and that be used on any skin complexion. Pelleve’ uses a wand that produces radiofrequency to heat the skin. A thin layer of cooling gel is applied to the area, and the skin is heated to 42° Celsius.
Additional treatments for dry eye include:
- – Prescription or over-the-counter eye drops to replace missing moisture
- – Solid eye inserts that release moisture throughout the day
- – Closing tear duct channels to keep the eyes moist longer
- – Humidifiers to preserve moisture in the air
- – Ointments to moisturize the eyes
Dry eye, if left untreated, can damage your eye and affect your vision. Schedule an appointment with Eyesight Associates today to begin the process of finding out which treatment will work best for your dry eye condition!