Dry Eye / Tear Science
Dry eye is a common condition in which the eyes are insufficiently lubricated, leading to itching, redness and pain. The eyes can become dry and irritated because the tear ducts are not producing a sufficient number of tears, or because there is a chemical imbalance in the tears themselves. Natural tears require a particular chemical balance to lubricate the eyes efficiently.
Alleviating the symptoms of dry eye is important. Left untreated, they have the potential to damage vision. Dry eye can be diagnosed after a thorough examination of the eyes, and a Schirmer tear test to evaluate tear production.
Dry Eye Syndrome is emerging as a major eye condition interfering with cataract surgery and laser vision correction among others. We offer the latest laser assisted diagnostic techniques and the breakthrough newest treatment technology.
Causes Of Dry Eye
People usually begin experiencing dry-eye symptoms as they age (they are more common in people older than 50), but they can also result from certain medications, medical conditions or injuries. Dry eye tends to affect women more than men because of the hormonal changes that take place during pregnancy and menopause. Oral contraceptives can also affect the consistency of tears. Other causes of dry eye include the following:
- Antihistamines, decongestants and blood-pressure medications
- Rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, Sjögren’s syndrome and thyroid disease
- Environmental conditions such as smoke, wind or excessive sun
- Long-term contact lens use
- Eye injury
- Eye or eyelid surgery
- Inflammation of the eye (conjunctivitis or keratitis)
Any of these factors, alone or in combination, can affect the frequency or consistency of tears, either of which can lead to dry eye.
Symptoms Of Dry Eye
The symptoms of dry eye typically occur in both eyes, and include the following:
- Stinging, burning or scratchiness
- Eye fatigue
- Sensitivity to light
- Difficulty wearing contact lenses
- Excessive tearing
- Blurry vision
Dry eye can damage eye tissues, leaving tiny abrasions on the surface that can impair vision. There are, however, many treatments for relieving dry-eye symptoms, restoring eye health and protecting vision.
Treatment Of Dry Eye
Treatment for dry eye depends on its cause and severity, as well as the patient’s overall health and personal preference.
Nonsurgical treatments, which include the following, are often effective:
- Deliberately blinking
- Increasing humidity levels at home or work
- Using artificial tears or a lubricating ointment
- Avoiding environmental irritants
- Eliminating medications that may be responsible
- Adding Omega-3 fatty acids to the diet or taking them as supplements
In many cases, simple lifestyle changes can alleviate dry-eye symptoms.
If less invasive methods are unsuccessful, surgical treatments, which include the following, may be an option:
- Insertion of punctal plugs to limit tear drainage
- Punctal cautery to permanently close the drainage holes
- Treatment of an underlying disease
If an eyelid condition is causing dry eye, eyelid surgery may be recommended. If dry eye is left untreated, it can lead to complications that include pain, corneal ulcers/scars or vision loss.
LipiView® II with Dynamic Meibomian Imaging™(DMI™) is the only instrument available that measures lipid layer thickness, evaluates the blink dynamics and images meibomian gland structure for Eye Care Professionals.
The LipiView® II interferometer, with patented noise canceling technology, accurately measures sub-micron thickness of the lipid layer. LipiView® II analyzes over one billion data points, isolating the lipid layer of the tear film to generate an accurate repeatable measurement.
Real-time visualization of the lipid layer allows you to evaluate the dynamic response of the lipids to blinking, while proprietary algorithms measure the extent of lid closure during each blink.
Restore Gland Function
The LipiFlow® Activator, a single-use sterile device, safely and comfortably delivers automated therapeutic energies to each meibomian gland while protecting the delicate structures of the patient’s eye. Supported by 36 patents and seven years of dedicated research, LipiFlow® provides a level of accuracy and quality that allows eye care professionals to treat their MGD patients with confidence and ease.
Its contoured design vaults the cornea and protects the eye allowing a maximum therapeutic temperature of 43 degrees Celsius to reach glands from the inner eyelid, without damaging the eyelid or delicate structures of the globe. Space-age insulation protects the cornea from exceeding a safe 39.5 degrees Celsius, while an intelligent pressure feedback loop sends pulsed sequences to expel blockages. Force equalization protects the globe from pressure transmission by focusing energy only on the eyelid.
Delivered through the LipiFlow® Activator, Vectored Thermal Pulse™ (VTP) technology maximizes results while delivering patient comfort. VTP™ uniquely applies a combination of heat and pressure to the inner eyelid to safely remove gland obstructions and stagnant gland content. Patented vectored heat and adaptive force equalization targets the pulse, heat, and pressure on the meibomian glands to maximize effectiveness. Therapeutic motion provides proximal to distal parastalsis to clear gland contents.
Preventing Dry Eye
There are steps that can be taken to prevent dry-eye symptoms. Simple lifestyle modifications such as wearing protective glasses on windy days, and giving the eyes a break during reading or other tasks that require intense focus, can effectively reduce the frequency and severity of symptoms.
Vitamins For Healthy Eyes
Eye vitamins can help maintain eye health and protect our eyes against several different diseases, including those that most frequently affect aging eyes, including macular degeneration.
Experts disagree on which nutrients can prevent eye disease or reduce vision loss. Studies have been conducted to help us learn more about the relationship between vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and eye health. The general consensus is that the same things that are good for your body are good for your eyes: a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, drinking at least six glasses of water a day, regular exercise, and avoidance of cigarette smoke.
Much of the research that has already been conducted points to the benefits of vitamins and antioxidants, specifically beta carotene, vitamins D, E, A and C, zinc, selenium, copper, omega-3 fatty acids, manganese and lutein. The National Eye Institute’s Age-Related Eye Disease Study found that about one-fifth of patients with intermediate and advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD) were able to reduce their risk of vision loss after taking high levels of zinc and antioxidants. The study did not find a correlation between these nutrients and the development of cataracts.
Patients taking the anticoagulant medication such as warfarin or Coumadin should consult their doctors before increasing the amount of leafy greens they eat.