Dry eye is a very common eye disorder which occurs when the eye doesn’t produce enough tears. It can also occur when the quality of the tears that are produced does not help keep the eye healthy and comfortable. Virtually everybody is susceptible to dry eye.
Millions of people worldwide are affected by dry eye. The symptoms can vary per person, with the most common being irritation, redness, and sensitivity to light. Dry eyes can cause a gritty, sandy sensation with burning, stinging, or itching as well.
Cause of Dry Eyes
There are many causes of dry eye in patients, the most common being age, gender (woman are more susceptible than man), some medications, contact lens use, LASIK, and computer usage.
Treatment for Dry Eyes
The most common treatment for dry eyes is usually lubrication with artificial tears.
Eye doctors also often recommend temporary closure of the tear drainage system to increase the volume of the tear film. This closure is accomplished with a small plug that fits comfortably into the tear drainage system. The procedure itself is a quick and painless office procedure.
If you have dry eye that’s caused by Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) your doctor may recommend trying iLux. iLux is the first treatment of its kind that allows targeted treatment of MGD in just minutes.
Meibomian Gland Dysfunction occurs when the meibomian glands become blocked. When these glands become blocked, it leads to a lack of oil in your tears. Tears that don’t have enough oil will start evaporating from the eyes too quickly. This is often what brings on symptoms of dry eye or blepharitis.
The iLux treatment works for three reasons:
- The LED light is applied to the inner and outer eyelid. This helps increase the temperature of your eyelids and helps melt blockages.
- The eyelid is compressed to clear any blockages. iLux gives your eye doctor the utmost control thanks to one button control.
- This applies to both heating and compression of the eyelids. iLux allows your eye doctor to see the blocked glands with the device’s magnifying lens.
Many patients who try iLux don’t need to repeat treatments more than once a year! Talk to your eye doctor at Bausch Eye Associates if you think you would be a good candidate for iLux.
Before Bausch Eye Associates can treat your dry eye, we’ll take a sample of your tears. This is done with our TearLab device.
The TearLab device allows us to analyze your tears and measure for osmolarity. Osmolarity means we are measuring how salty your tears are. Healthy tears are low in osmolarity. As the osmolarity levels in your tears increase, it leads to damage in the ocular surface cells.
Your eye doctor will only take a tiny sample of your tears and it’s not painful! Thanks to TearLab, we can diagnose and treat dry eye to provide much needed relief.
If you have dry eye and produce low-quality tears, another treatment option is punctal plugs. Punctal plugs come in semi-permanent and dissolvable versions.
The kind of punctal plug your eye doctor recommends depends on the severity of your symptoms. The punctal plug gets inserted into your tear ducts to prevent drainage. Keeping tears in your eyes increases the tear film and moisture levels in your eyes.
Dissolvable punctal plugs are usually made of a material like collagen. Over a period of time, they will eventually get absorbed into the body. These punctal plugs are best if you’re trying to determine if the treatment works for your dry eye. Dissolvable punctal plugs are often only worn for days or months before dissolving.
Semi-permanent punctal plugs don’t dissolve since they are made of silicone. This is a long-lasting material. Even semi-permanent punctal plugs can be removed, but they can be worn indefinitely.
Concerned about your dry eye symptoms? Schedule an appointment at Bausch Eye Associate’s Dry Eye Center of Excellence in Allentown, PA today!
A treatment option for patients struggling with tear production is a user controllable neurostimulator known as TrueTear. The TrueTear technology is designed to send tiny pulses of energy through the nasal cavity. Once the brain has been signaled by these pulses, the brain will then provide nerve signals to your tear glands surrounding the eye.
Once the nerve signals make their way to your eyes, this will signify your tear glands to temporarily increase tear production. This treatment option is user friendly and is beneficial for adult patients dealing with extreme dry eye symptoms.
Dry Eye Center of Excellence
Bausch Eye Associates are proud to announce the opening of our “Dry Eye Center of Excellence.” This in-office clinic will provide comprehensive evaluation, education, and treatment of Dry Eye Disease. Patients will complete a symptomatic survey to “grade” the severity of their symptoms. Multiple clinical evaluations will include corneal surface mapping, baseline tear production, reflex tear production, lid anatomy evaluation, tear evaporation measurements, tear thickness evaluation, and ocular surface evaluation.
Treatment modalities will depend on the severity of the Dry Eye condition. This could be as simple as lifestyle changes, nutritional counseling, and over-the-counter artificial tears. A more significant disease may be treated with prescription eye drops, prescription oral medications, lid treatments, insertion of punctal plugs, use of bandage contact lenses including amniotic membrane lenses, and even the use of the Tru-Tear nasal stimulator.