Dry Eye Treatment for Healthy, Comfortable Eyes
What is Dry Eye?
Dry eye is a common condition that occurs when a person’s tears are not functioning properly. It can be a chronic, progressive problem that affects people of all ages. If not managed properly, dry eye can permanently impact your eye health, comfort, and ability to see clearly.
Millions of people suffer from dry eye syndrome every year, but only a fraction of those people seek treatment for their painful, itchy, and irritated eyes. At Siepser Eyecare, we believe that everyone deserves to live life with comfortable, healthy eyes, and we’re proud to offer our patients solutions for relief in the Siepser Dry Eye Center.
Read on to learn more about dry eye, its symptoms, causes, and treatments.
What Causes Dry Eye?
The surface of the eye is covered with a layer of fluid called the tear film. The tear film provides moisture and lubrication that’s essential for the health and comfort of the eye.
The tear film is made up of three layers:
- The lipid (oil) layer, produced from the eyelids, lubricates, stabilizes, and prevents evaporation of tears
- The aqueous (water) layer, which nourishes, protects, and polishes the eye surface
- A mucin layer, which keeps liquid adhered to the eye
If any of these components aren’t produced in the quantity, or with the quality, needed to properly moisturize the eye, the eye’s surface can become irritated and dry eye symptoms can occur.
Genetic Causes of Dry Eye
Some causes of dry eye are genetic and can’t necessarily be prevented. Many times, decreased tear production is caused by aging. Certain medications, such as antihistamines, decongestants, antidepressants, and birth control, may place you at greater risk of developing dry eye. The risk of dry eye can also be greater for those with medical conditions like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, thyroid disorders, and more.
Environmental Causes of Dry Eye
Dry eye disease affects millions of people worldwide, and sometimes the condition is caused by environmental factors that cause tears to evaporate too quickly. This includes being exposed to wind, smoke, and dry air, like that found in high-altitudes and air-conditioned environments.
We’ve found that dry eye cases are increasing as a direct result of technology use. As you focus on electronic screens, you blink far less than is needed to moisturize your eyes, resulting in dry eye symptoms.
Some dry eye can occur after various eye surgeries. For example, those that have upper eyelid lifts, such as a blepharoplasty, will sometimes not completely close the eye at night, causing dryness.
What are the Symptoms of Dry Eye
Dry eye symptoms both affect your eyes’ comfort, and reduce your quality of life by making some activities, like reading, using the computer, wearing contact lenses, or being outside in certain conditions, difficult.
Symptoms of dry eye can include:
- Scratchy, gritty eyes
- Feeling like there’s something in your eye
- Blurry vision
- Eye fatigue
- Stinging or burning sensations
- Rapidly changing eyeglass prescriptions
- Discomfort or pain
- Excessive tearing
- Mucous buildup around the eye
Patients often notice that symptoms worsen throughout the day. However, it is possible for symptoms to go somewhat unnoticed as you learn to live with mild “background” irritation. This can cause your eyes to feel or look tired, like you haven’t had enough sleep.
Dry Eye Treatments
At the Siepser Dry Eye Center, before we provide you with treatment, we always complete a full evaluation of your eyes. This is because providing you with effective dry eye treatment means identifying the underlying causes of your condition.
Your doctor may recommend prescription eye drops to be used in combination with, or instead of, artificial tears. We may prescribe eye drops that decrease the inflammation that results from dryness, and can help the eye produce more natural tears. These can be used in conjunction with steroid eye drops, which help speed up inflammation reduction. Other specialty drops, such as serum tears, amniotic cytokine extract tears, or other treatments, may be needed for more severe cases.
Depending on the severity and cause of your dry eye, our doctors may recommend a vitamin supplement that can help treat dry eye from within.
Punctal Plugs, MiboFlow Treatments, & IPL
If your dry eye is caused by the tears draining too quickly from the eye, we can place tiny punctal plugs into the eye ducts. These microscopic plugs keep the tear film in the eye so that they remain hydrated and moist.
MiboFlow is an FDA-approved medical device that uses heat and pressure to stimulate the oil glands near the eye’s tear ducts. This will restore oil production and can improve the quality of your tears.
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) utilizes pulses of light to liquefy and release hardened oils in the eyelids, relieving dry eyes. IPL also reduces eyelid redness and stimulates healthy gland function.
Dry Eye Surgery
Severe cases of dry eye may require surgery to experience relief. For chronic, extreme cases of dry eye, our expert eye surgeons can perform a surgery to permanently close the tear ducts so that the tear film remains on the eye.
Find Relief at The Siepser Dry Eye Center
Dry and uncomfortable eyes don’t have to be your normal. At the Siepser Dry Eye Center, our team, led by dry eye specialist Michele Pendrak, O.D., will provide you with the treatments you need to improve your eye comfort, health, and vision.
To learn more about dry eye or schedule a consultation for dry eye treatment, call us at 610-753-5194.