Do your eyes regularly feel stiff, gritty, sore and difficult to move around freely? Do you feel like you are hypersensitive to light or is your vision slightly blurred or distorted? Do your eyes burn, sting or water regularly? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, you could be suffering from dry eye.
Dry eye is a common ocular condition that occurs when the eyes do not make enough natural tear film to keep them lubricated, or the tear film drains or evaporates too quickly, causing the eyes to dry out. While it may not sound serious, the effects of dry eye can be significant and have a very real impact on the day to day life of the sufferer.
Exactly what causes dry eye can vary. It is more common as we get older, particularly amongst women and up to a third of people aged 65 or older may have dry eye syndrome. This is believed to be due to the deterioration of the function of the glands in the eyes responsible for making lubrication. Other causes of dry eye include:
Side effects from taking certain medications
Menopause or other hormonal imbalances
Blepharitis and other eye conditions
Spending excessive amounts of time looking at screens such as those on a computer or a digital device
Specific diseases such as collagen vascular disease and rheumatoid arthritis
Our knowledgeable eye care experts have extensive experience in diagnosing and treating dry eye and are pleased to be able to extend this to patients in and around each of our TMS Eyecare locations in Wichita and Arkansas City, KS.
Our routine testing includes imaging of the oil-producing glands in your eyelids (meibomian glands). If these glands are not working properly or are clogged it will lead to poor tear quality. We are excited to include this new non-invasive technology in your routine evaluation. Depending on the results of the imaging and the rest of your testing it may be necessary to perform a dry eye or ocular surface disease consultation to develop a plan to manage your dry eye.
Fortunately, you don’t have to suffer from dry eye for a moment longer than necessary. There are a number of different treatment options available that can alleviate your symptoms and make your eyes feel more comfortable. Exactly what our experienced team will recommend will depend on the severity of your symptoms. We may try a number of different treatment options to find which works best for you. TMS Eyecare has you covered when it comes to treating dry eye. We carry in the office several lubricating drops, nutritional supplements (HydroEyes, Nordic Naturals fish oil), warm compress masks and eyelid cleansers to remove excessive debris and reduce the bacterial load on and around the eyes. Additional treatment options include:
In some instances, it may be possible to reverse your symptoms by making changes to your medication. If your dry eye is believed to be caused by side effects relating to medications that you currently take, it may be possible to change to an alternative drug.
One of the first treatments that we will recommend is artificial tears or prescription eye drops. These are designed to replicate natural tear film so that your eyes feel more lubricated. With several varieties of eye drop available, it may be a case of trial and error to find one that is most effective; your evaluation will help narrow which options are likely to work the best for you.
If eye drops alone are not giving you adequate relief from your symptoms, you may be recommended to try a treatment called Lipiflow. This innovative system works by transmitting tiny, electronic impulses of heat and pressure that stimulate the glands responsible for making tear film. In doing so, they become unclogged and can begin working more efficiently, producing the necessary lubrication to keep your eyes healthy.
This treatment is recommended for patients who have been found to have tear film that drains too quickly. These tiny inserts are placed into the tear drains in the corners of your eyes, keeping tear film on the surface of the eyes for much longer and reducing the symptoms associated with dry eye.
Similar to the buildup of plaque and tartar on your teeth caused partially by the bacteria that live in your mouth a biofilm can develop on your eyelid margins blocking the oil glands and causing an inflammatory response that results in dry eye. BlephEx is an in-office micro-exfoliation procedure to remove this biofilm and debris from the lashes.
Limit Screen Time
We know this is easier said than done, particularly if your work involves you using a screen for a large proportion of the time. However, limiting screen time, taking regular breaks to let your eyes adjust and making sure that you are sitting far away enough from your screen can also help to reduce your symptoms of dry eye.
Reserved for the most severe cases of dry eye and ocular surface disease, Prokera is an amniotic membrane that is placed on the eye for 3 to 7 days to repair tissue and promote healing. The benefits and effects of treatment with Prokera can last many months.
If you would like more information about dry eye, or if you think that you may be experiencing symptoms of the condition and would like to get assessed by our experienced eye care team, please contact our offices.