Dry Eyes

What is Dry Eye?

Millions of people suffer from dry eyes, which is a condition related to the tear film system in the eye. Dry eyes occur when the eyes do not produce enough tears, or they do not produce high-quality tears to keep the eyes moist. 

It may start off as a temporary acute problem, but it can become a chronic condition for many patients. If not treated properly, dry eye can progress and permanently impact how you see.

What Are The Symptoms Of Dry Eyes?

Common symptoms of dry eye include:

  • Scratchy feeling in the eye
  • Feeling that there is a foreign body in the eye
  • Stinging or burning sensation
  • Eye redness 
  • Blurry vision
  • Contact lens discomfort 
  • Eye pain 
  • Excessive tearing 
  • Mucous buildup around the eye

The Tear Film System 

To understand dry eye, it’s important to know some basics about the tear film system. The tear film has three layers that cover and protect the eye:

  • The outer oily (lipid) layer is produced by the meibomian glands. It prevents the watery layer from draining too quickly
  • The middle (aqueous) layer is produced by the lacrimal glands. It is watery and nourishes the eye with water-soluble proteins.
  • The inner (mucin) layer spreads the watery layer over the entire eye

What Causes Dry Eye? 

There are many things that can cause dry eye.  Finding the most effective treatment depends on what’s causing dry eye syndrome to occur. Patients who have frequent uncomfortable symptoms of dry eye should have a thorough eye examination and evaluation. 

Chart Illustrating a Healthy Eye Compared to One Experiencing Dry Eye

The eye may not be producing enough tears. There are a variety of reasons for that, including:

  • The natural aging process 
  • Side effects of many medications including antihistamines, beta-blockers, and antidepressants
  • Rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome, and other autoimmune disorders
  • Not blinking enough when looking at the TV or electronic devices. 
  • Complications of LASIK 

The tear film may be evaporating quickly due to environmental factors or certain health disorders:

  • Exposure to windy, smoky, or dry environments 
  • Meibomian Gland Dysfunction
  • Blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids)
  • Rosacea 

How Can My Eye Doctor Determine What Is Causing My Dry Eye Symptoms?

There are special tests that your doctor can perform to test dry eye symptoms. These include measuring the volume and quality of tears, as well as how long it takes the eye to make tears. 

  • Exploring possible environmental factors
  • Administering the Schirmer test to see whether the eyes are making enough tears
  • Inserting eye drops containing dye so that the doctor can measure how long it takes for tears to dry
  • Evaluating the meibomian glands by pressing on the glands of the eyelid to see if the oil is being secreted normally

Concerned that you may have dry eye syndrome?

Click the button below to schedule an appointment at Joshi Eye Institute in Boynton Beach, FL to get relief!

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What Are The Treatments For Dry Eye?

The good news for patients is that a lot of research is being conducted, and new types of treatment become available every year. 

For mild dry eye symptoms, you can try making some simple lifestyle changes or using non-prescription treatments: 

  • Applying a warm washcloth over the eyes several times a day
  • Inserting over the counter artificial teardrops
  • Using artificial tear gels and ointments at bedtime
  • Cleaning with eyelid scrubs may reduce bacteria that cause blepharitis
  • Blinking often and taking short breaks every 20 minutes when reading and using the computer 
  • Consulting with your doctor about changing medications to reduce side effects. 
  • Adding Omega-3 fatty acids to the diet

Medical options for more serious or chronic dry eye symptoms:

Your doctor may recommend prescription eye drops that can be used in combination with, or instead of artificial tears.

  • Eyedrops that decrease the inflammation in the cornea or on the eyelids 
  • Steroid eye drops are sometimes used with artificial tears or other eye drops to reduce inflammation quickly. 
  • Tear-stimulating eyedrops
  • Eye inserts that slowly release a substance to relieve symptoms 

Scleral or bandage lenses protect the surface of the eye and help keep moisture in the eye.

There are a variety of tiny “punctal plugs” that are used to plug the tear ducts and retain tear film in the eye. 

LipiFlow is an FDA approved medical device which is used to treat blockage of the meibomian glands. It uses heat and pressure to stimulate the release of the oily layer of the tear film. 

LipiFlow Logo

How can I get dry eye relief?

At least 16 million people have been diagnosed with dry eye disease. There are many millions more might be living in discomfort without a diagnosis. But relief is in sight.

Are you tired of dry scratchy eyes? Most of people will tell you that they have no problem shedding tears when they are upset but a decent percentage of the population is unable to create tears. There people suffer from a condition known as dry eye syndrome. Dry eye is a condition that causes your eyes to feel as though there is an irritant present. The cause for this irritation is that the eyes are not producing the required fluid that needs to be covering the eyes. Normal healthy eyes are being continuously cover by a thin tear film. This film allows people to be able to see more clearly. Treatment of dry eyes aims to restore a more normal tear film to minimize your dryness, blurred vision and irritations.

Do you think you have dry eye syndrome?

You have come to the right place if:

  • Your eyes feel tired, irritated, burn, are red, or if your eyes just bother you
  • Your eyes bother you, but you haven’t seen an eye doctor, or you have seen an eye doctor, but your eyes still aren’t feeling better.
  • You spend a great deal of time reading a hand held device, computer, documents, books, watching TV or driving.
  • You would simply like to see and feel better.

Persistent irritations to one or both of your eyes might be a cause of dry eye(s). A decreased tolerance to contact lenses is a common symptom as well. Symptoms do vary from patient to patient when it comes to dry eyes. Most patients say they suffer from the feeling that there is something in their eye that is impossible to get out. If you have any of the following symptoms listed, you may be suffering from dry eye.

Persistent irritations to one or both of your eyes might be a cause of dry eye(s). A decreased tolerance to contact lenses is a common symptom as well. Symptoms do vary from patient to patient when it comes to dry eyes. Most patients say they suffer from the feeling that there is something in their eye that is impossible to get out. If you have any of the following symptoms listed, you may be suffering from dry eye.

Dry Eye Symptoms

  • Scratchy and burning feeling in the eyes
  • Heightened sensitivity to smoke or wind in the eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Decreased vision
  • Tired eyes from reading or trying to focus on an object
  • Becoming immune to contact lenses

Treatment Options

At Joshi Eye Institute we provide a state of the art treatment option for dry eye syndrome called M22 Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) technology by Lumenis.

We see many dry eye patients throughout the year as it is one of the most common eye conditions we treat. Patients come in complaining of burning, itchiness, or redness in the eye. For years we have treated them with various drops or other methods. Now we have a better solution.

What is IPL Technology?

With IPL technology, light pulses penetrate the tissue and create heat, targeting the abnormal vessels that are the root cause of the inflammation. The body’s natural reaction to the treatment removes the abnormal vessels and heals the inflammation threatening the skin and eyelid. IPL technology treats your skin and eyelid inflammation while improving overall skin appearance.

Each session lasts approximately 15 minutes. During the treatment, you might experience a warm sensation as light is applied to the skin, but the treatment is gentle and should not feel uncomfortable.

4 treatments (or more) are required using the Lumenis M22. Patient skin type and any medication contraindications are assessed prior to the treatment session.

Permanent closure of the tear ducts with thermal puncture cautery may be recommended for very severe cases of dry eye.

If you live in south Florida and you feel as though you may be suffering from dry eye syndrome you may seek to have your eyes tested. Your eye doctor will ask you a series of questions  about your lifestyle, work and home environments, work requirements, and even nutrition habits so that they can begin to make a general assessment. Often we will measure your tear volume or tear production using one of several tests. These tests may include the “Schimers Tear Test” which a strip is placed under your eyelids to see how much tears are absorbed. Other tests include a series of dyes to determine the surface conditions of your eyes and to determine how long it takes for your eyes to evaporate the tears. These tests determine the degree of dryness and the location of the dryness on the eyes.

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