What is Dry Eye Syndrome

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What is Dry Eye Syndrome

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What is Dry Eye Syndrome

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What is Dry Eye Syndrome

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What is Dry Eye Syndrome

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Welcome to the newest expansion of our clinic! Dr. Wilder has been a local Dry Eye specialist for more than a decade, and with the newest clinical knowledge and technology, we now have more tools and expertise than ever to treat your Dry Eye!

What is Dry Eye Syndrome?

Dry Eye Syndrome and Ocular Surface Disease

Approximately 49 million people in the US suffer from Dry Eye. That is nearly 15% of the population! Although Dry Eye Syndrome is the general term to describe symptoms that include dryness, grittiness, watering and vision fluctuations, Ocular Surface Disease is the broader term that addresses the most common contributing factors to those dry eye symptoms. Ocular Surface Disease describes the range of issues that can affect the front surface of the eye, the eyelids, and the underlying oil and tear glands. Inflammation is one of the biggest causes of dry eye symptoms. Inflammation comes in many forms including Blepharitis, Ocular Rosacea, Demodex, and Meibomian Gland Disfunction which all fall under the umbrella of Ocular Surface Disease and all contribute to dry eye symptoms.

Dry Eye Causes

There are three layers to your tear film: the mucin, aqueous, and lipid layers. The mucin layer is a secretion from the cells of the conjunctiva, and it helps keep the tear film stable and attached to the front surface of the eye. The aqueous layer is the watery center layer produced by the lacrimal glands. It provides hydration and visual stability to the eye. The lipid layer is distributed by the oil-producing glands in the eyelids: the meibomian glands. This outer lipid layer is critical for keeping the tears from evaporating too quickly resulting in the signs and symptoms of dry eyes.

There are two main types of Dry Eye Syndrome: Aqueous-Deficient and Evaporative. 86% of patients with Dry Eye Syndrome have Evaporative Dry Eye.

Aqueous-Deficient Dry Eye means that the eye does not produce enough of the watery portion of the tear. When the lacrimal glands do not function properly due to auto-immune disease, medications, obstructions, or other damage; the volume of the tear is insufficient to protect the ocular surface or provide comfortable and stable vision.

Evaporative Dry Eye is a condition where there are plenty of tears, but they do not remain protected and stable inside of the tear film, usually because the lipid layer is not healthy or present. This can cause the eye to constantly produce tears, which is why “watery eyes” is a widely reported symptom of Dry Eye. This watering is also one reason patients suffer from vision fluctuation, which can be incredibly frustrating for patients.

Common Causes of disruption of the lipid layer include Contact lens wear, incomplete or reduced blinking, Ocular Rosacea, Meibomian Gland dysfunction (which includes loss of Meibomian Glands), Blepharitis, Demodex, and aging.

Treatments for Dry Eye

Although Dry Eye symptoms are often mild, and sometimes even unnoticeable, Dry Eye is a chronic condition that will progressively get worse if not managed properly. Diagnosing and treating dry eye early improves long term ocular health and visual function. Home therapies, in conjunction with in-office procedures can treat the source of the inflammation and provide relief for bothersome and even painful symptoms.

Home Therapies:

  • Stay Hydrated

  • Omega 3 rich diet

  • Hot compresses

  • Lid massage and cleaning with approved lid care products

  • Avoid air blowing directly toward eyes

  • Blinking and periodic breaks from electronic devices.

  • Preservative Free Lubricant eye drops, gels, or ointments

In Office:

  • Lid exfoliation and debridement to clear away inflammatory build-up

  • Prescription medications to improve tear production and reduce inflammation

  • Gland expression to remove obstructions in meibomian glands and allow fresh oil to flow and protect the tears

  • Intense Pulsed Light therapy to eradicate demodex mites, treat ocular rosacea, and reduce inflammation in the eyelids resulting in improved meibomian gland function

  • Plugging the tear ducts to prevent much-needed tears from draining away too quickly

  • Amniotic membrane placement for severe cases requiring repair to the surface of the eye

If you are struggling with redness, dryness or grittiness, watering, fluctuating vision, or have sensitivity to light and glare, call our office to schedule a Dry Eye Consultation. Take the SPEED test on our “Diagnostics and Treatment Options” page to see how much your symptoms are affecting your day-to-day life and explore our site to learn more. Our team can help you reach your best comfort and visual clarity, and we look forward to answering your questions and meeting your needs

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