Dry Eye Ocular Surface Disease affects an estimated 25 million people in the United States. Signs and symptoms of this condition are the reason that people visit an eye care professional.
The prevalence of Dry Eye Ocular Surface Disease is why VEI has developed an Ocular Surface Disease Center for Excellence, which has become certified by TearLab. The staff at VEI is dedicated to providing the highest quality dry eye care by using advanced ophthalmic diagnostic techniques and treatments.
Because this condition is often progressive, it is vital to treat Dry Eye Disease as early as possible and have regular doctor visits to ensure complications or damage to the eye or vision do not occur.
If you believe you are suffering from Dry Eye Disease, please schedule an appointment with the dry eye specialists at VEI. Treatment options vary depending on symptoms and severity, so schedule an appointment today for an eye exam and assessment of your options.
What is Dry Eye Disease?
Some people do not produce enough tears to keep the eyes wet and comfortable. Stinging, burning, scratchiness, production of stringy mucus, and excess irritation from smoke are common symptoms. Problems with contact lenses may be caused by dry eyes and may make it impossible to wear contact lenses.
Increased tearing may be a symptom of Dry Eye Disease. If the basic tear secretion is below normal, excess tears are produced by the lacrimal gland in response to the dryness.
What Causes Dry Eye?
Normally, tear production decreases with age. Dry eyes symptoms are more common in women, especially after the age of menopause, but they can occur at any age in both men and women. Dry eye can also be associated with arthritis or Sjogren’s syndrome.
The most common cause of Dry Eye Disease is meibomian gland dysfunction. The meibomian glands produce the lipid layer of the tear film, which prevents the premature evaporation of tears. Meibomian gland dysfunction leads to inflammation of the gland. This may lead to blurred vision, eye pain, redness, and in some cases swollen eyelids. The environment may play a role in evaporation – dry eye with staring (i.e., computer work, long-distance driving or reading) may exacerbate symptoms.
Drugs and medication may cause dry eyes by reducing tear secretion. Since these medications are often necessary, the Dry Eye Disease must be managed.
How is Dry Eye Diagnosed?
Often, our doctors are able to diagnose Dry Eye Disease by examining the eyes. Tests to measure tear production are often necessary.
One of the latest devices in dry eye technology is the TearLab Osmolarity System. By using the TearLab, the doctors at VEI can quickly and painlessly measure a small sample of your tears to determine how dry the eyes truly are.
Using just a nanoliter of tear fluid, the osmolarity data that the TearLab test gathers allows patients to understand their “level” of disease. Your unique tear number will also allow your doctor to determine the best means of treatment for you.
How is Dry Eye Treated?
VEI is pleased to offer the LipiFlow® Thermal Pulsation System, which may reduce the need for artificial tears and other prescription dry eye treatments by attending to the cause of evaporative dry eye symptoms, the meibomian glands.
Artificial tears are used as eye drops to lubricate the eyes and replace the missing moisture. They may be used as often as necessary, once or twice a day, or as often as several times per hour.
Another approach to keeping the eye moist is conserving your natural tears. Tears leave the eye through tear ducts in both eyelids and go down into the nose. Your VEI doctor may recommend closing these channels to create a blockage, which will keep the eyes moist for longer periods of time.
Learn More Today
We invite you to call and learn more about dry eye treatments. Call 804.287.2020 now to schedule your consultation with one of our surgeons and learn about your options to treat dry eye.