Dry eye syndrome is a common condition marked by an inadequate amount of tears to effectively lubricate the eyes. This condition may lead to:
- grittiness, especially while using electronics for many hours
- sensitivity to light
- mucous buildup around the eyes
- difficulty driving at night
- inability to open eyes in the morning or to wear contacts
If left unaddressed, dry eye syndrome can negatively affect overall quality of life due to significant eye discomfort, inflammation and corneal epithelial decay with intermittent blurred vision.
Dry eye syndrome occurs when the tear film is disrupted, primarily due to Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD). In MGD, at least one of the three eye layers (mucus, water, and oil) that works together to protect the eye is severely diminished. The oil layer helps to prevent the tears from evaporating while the eyes are open and thus maintains hydration and protects the eyes, thereby preventing dryness. The oil layer is produced by the meibomian glands located on the upper and lower eyelids. While artificial tears and medications provide temporary relief from dry eye syndrome, eventually it is no longer possible to keep using so many eye drops, since their preservatives cause inflammation as an adverse side effect.
Many conditions can cause dry eye syndrome and/or MGD:
- Rosacea/Ocular rosacea
- Chronic blepharitis
- Hormonal changes
- Contact lens wear
- Prolonged screen time
- Eyelid inflammation
- Medication side effects
- Lasik surgery/Cataract surgery
- Sjogren’s syndrome
- Over-the-Counter Artificial tears or ocular lubricants are used as a first line of treatment to alleviate the dry, scratching feeling and foreign body sensation of dry eye but must be used continuously.
- Prescription eye drops may be used if over the counter drops are not helping. These may include: Lotemax to reduce inflammation or Restasis or Cequa to increase tear production.
- Punctal Occlusion Therapy involves inserting punctual plugs to block drainage and increase tear film and surface moisture.
- Omega-3 Supplements recommended by our doctors and sold in our office. We carry Whole Omega Cold Pressed Camelina Oil, a Vegan and non-GMO balanced Omega oil produced by Camelina Sun.
- Intense Pulsed Light Therapy (IPL) addresses the two root causes of dry eye syndrome: Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) and inflammation and provides long term relief.