Dry eye syndrome is a common condition in which there is a deficiency in the quality and/or quantity of tears produced by the eyes. Tears perform an important function for the eye in keeping it clean, lubricated, providing nutrition and establishing a smooth surface at which the eye refracts light.
Typical symptoms of dry eye include dry or gritty sensation, scratchiness, itching, burning, pain, eyelid heaviness, intermittent blurred vision and intermittent tearing. Symptoms are usually worse later in the day, with prolonged use of the eyes and in conditions of heat, wind and low humidity.
Many patients with dry eye syndrome complain of intermittent tearing. Normally the lids produce a small amount of tears to keep the eyes lubricated and healthy. If this baseline tearing is of poor quality or of insufficient quantity to keep the eyes healthy, a message will be sent to the brain to cause a reflex flow of tears from the main lacrimal gland. This is usually a large volume of watery tears that may not provide adequate lubrication. In other cases, the eyes may attempt to make up for poor quality tears with an increased quantity of tears. In either case, artificial lubricants can help decrease the tearing.
Detecting Dry Eyes with LipiView (Ocular Surface Interferometer)
Associated Eye Care is proud to offer LipiView, a non-invasive diagnostic test that captures live images of the patientís tear film and measures lipid content and quality. This test will allow your Associated Eye Care doctor to help determine if you should undergo the LipiFlow treatment or other tear therapies.
Eye Drops, Gels, Ointments and Vitamins
Dry eye syndrome is rarely a serious problem, but it is almost always a nuisance. Treatment initially begins with artificial lubricants, usually drops given 3 to 6 times a day.
Warm wet soaks with a clean washcloth can also be used when the eyes are especially irritated. Artificial tears work best when given on a scheduled basis rather than in response to symptoms. After beginning therapy with artificial tears, it may take several weeks of continuous use before long lasting improvement in symptoms is achieved.
More severe cases of dry eye may require the use of an ointment or gel at bedtime, and/or the use of non-preserved artificial tears every hour or two during the day.
All artificial tears are not created equal. Many have preservatives that can cause further irritation, especially if used frequently. Gently preserved artificial tears may be used up to 4-6 times a day. If more frequent use is required or for especially sensitive eyes, non-preserved tears should be used.
Associated Eye Care offers a wide variety of drops, gels, ointments and vitamins for dry eye therapy. All are available for purchase at the check-in/out desk in all of our Associated Eye Care locations.
Patients with severe symptoms may also consider closure of the tear drainage system (punctual occlusion) which allows the patient's own tears to remain on the eye longer.
LipiFlow (Thermal Pulsation Program)
Associated Eye Care is proud to offer LipiFlow, a revolutionary technology to dry eye patients find relief for up to nine months with just a single treatment. LipiFlow delivers controlled heat to the inner layer of the eyelid, releasing lipids or oils from blocked Meibomian glands. It treats both upper and lower eyelids at the same time, without causing damage to other delicate tissues and structures within the eye. The treatment takes only 12 minutes and is pain free. By unlocking the glands with the revolutionary thermal pulsation technology, the body can resume its natural production of oil and keep the eyes lubricated.
We are proud to be a TearLab Accredited Dry Eye Center. For more information on TearLab, visit their website here.