Dry eye is not as simple as it sounds. It can be caused a variety of things including medications, computer usage, and exposure to air flow. It affects a multiple of eye functions such as blink rate, tear production, lid closure and tear evaporation. Common symptoms include redness, scratchiness, and light sensitivity.
Eye drops may temporarily alleviate discomfort for some, but treating the underlying cause of dry eye is the only way to bring true relief.
Your oil glands can atrophy and degrade after years of not producing oil correctly, and once this happens it cannot be undone. Your body cannot regenerate or regrow these glands. For this reason, it is essential that if there is gland loss, it is diagnosed and the existing glands be treated in order to prevent additional gland loss. The oil produced from these glands is essential in keeping the tears from evaporating off the surface too quickly. Once the diagnosis is confirmed, Dr B. will discuss all options with you and create a treatment plan with you, specific to your type of dry eye. There are many treatments available. Some of which are simple and might include warm compresses, tear gels, or prescription drops. Other common but more involved treatments include punctal occlusion, blink exercises, oral prescriptions and vitamins. And advanced treatments include meibomian gland treatment procedures, amniotic membrane treatments, and blood serum drops.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for dry eyes. And ultimately, the success of any treatment depends significantly on your willingness to be compliant with the at home procedures and drops. If at any time, you feel like you can’t keep up with the plan, you should come in and discuss your concerns with Dr. B.
Diagnosing Dry Eye
The Oculus 5M allows us to take high-resolution images and videos of the front of the eye, but we can also image the meibomian glands within the lid. These images allow us to see if glands are scarred. Scarred meibomian glands limit the amount of oil being deposited into the tear, causing them to evaporate too quickly. The Oculus 5M’s video capabilities allow us to capture the speed at which tears break up between blinks as well as measure the thickness of the fluid layer and oil and water balance in the eye. Once these comprehensive tests are complete, our doctor will sit down and discuss the meaning of the results and your options of treatment.
Meibomian gland loss is permanent. Dry eye causes the oil in your eye to become thick and stagnant. This blocks the glands, causing them to atrophy. It is imperative to reopen and preserve any glands that are still functional. The oil keeps your eyes comfortable and your vision clear. Those who suffer from dry eye often notice their vision improves briefly after a blink. This is because the dry patches of the eye can blur the vision.
Treating Dry Eye
At Elite Dry Eye Spa, there are many options to treat dry eye. One simple procedure includes using a microwave-heated mask upon the eyelids. Special forceps are then used to express the glands at the slit lamp. Although results will be almost immediate, this procedure must be repeated frequently to maximize its effectiveness.
BlephEx lid cleansing is a mechanical in-office cleaning process. It removes the bacteria (biofilm) from along the lid line and lashes. It is especially effective for those who have crusty eyelashes (blepharitis) or morning discharge.
A more advanced procedure involves the LipiFlow Thermal Pulsation System. This advanced piece of equipment heats the eyelid, compressing the glands within. This expresses the glands to promote the flow of oil. It is an easy, one-time procedure that treats both eyes simultaneously.
There are many more options available than those listed here. To find relief from your dry eye, contact Elite Dry Eye Spa and schedule a consultation with our doctor to find the treatment that is right for you.