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Dry Eye Treatment

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Dry Eye Disease & Treatment

Dry eye syndrome (DES) is a chronic condition that develops when your eyes do not produce and maintain enough tears to keep the eye’s surface lubricated resulting in multiple symptoms that range from person to person. This can be due to a reduction in tear production or increased tear evaporation from a lack of lipids in the tears that stem from oil glands in the eyelids. The effects can range from minor dryness and discomfort to pain, blurred vision and frequent infections.

Symptoms of Dry Eye Disease

 

Symptoms of dry eye syndrome can vary depending on the severity of the condition but can include:

  • Dry, itchy eyes

  • Burning or stinging

  • Irritation

  • Watery eyes

  • Blurred vision

  • Pain

  • Foreign body sensation

The main function of tears is to maintain the health of the cornea of your eye by washing away foreign matter and ensuring that the surface of your eye remains moist, smooth and clear. Tears also rinse away dust particles from your eyes and contain enzymes that protect your eyes from bacteria that can cause infections. Dry eyes is a condition that develops when the amount of tears produced is not sufficient to maintain the moisture balance in your eye. This can result in that scratchy sensation, a continuous feeling of dryness, stinging and a sensation of a foreign body in your eye. Ironically in an effort to fight off the condition, dry eyes can cause you to produce excessive tears, which is why some people experience watery eyes.

 

Causes of Dry Eye Disease

 

Dry eyes can occur naturally as a result of aging or hormonal changes, typically in women who are pregnant, taking oral contraceptives or going through menopause. In fact, women over 50 have a 50% greater risk of dry eye disease (DED) than men do of the same age. It can also result from taking certain medications that reduce tear production such as antihistamines, blood pressure medications and antidepressants. Environmental factors can also play a role in drying out the eyes and DED is common in areas where the climate is dry, dusty and windy. Home air conditioners or heating systems and excessive time spent staring at a computer or television screen can also dry out eyes and exacerbate symptoms due to the lack of blinking while staring at our screens.

Individuals that suffer from certain medical conditions such as diabetes, blepharitis, lupus, arthritis and thyroid problems are more vulnerable to developing DED. Other causes can be due to eye surgery including LASIK, certain conditions in which the eyelids don’t close properly or extended contact lens use.

 

Diagnosis of Dry Eye Disease

Typically, dry eye disease can be diagnosed through a comprehensive eye exam and a description of your symptoms. On some occasions the eye doctor might decide to do a test that measures how quickly your tears evaporate from the surface of your eye. By instilling a simple dye called fluorescein (much like food coloring) the doctor is able to watch and count how long it takes the tears to start to break up after they’ve asked you to hold your eyes open after a blink. This is called TBUT or a Tear Break Up Time test. A low TBUT generally indicates a lipid (aka oil) deficiency in the tears resulting from oil glands in the eyelids not functioning properly. In another type of test, called a Schirmer test, a strip of filter paper is placed under the lid of the eye and you will be asked to close your eye for five minutes. Following the test the amount of moisture on the strip will be measured. Schirmer tests are performed less frequently than a TBUT test.

 

Treatment for Dry Eyes

 

There are many treatment options for dry eyes which are highly dependant upon the cause and severity of the condition. Many mild forms of DED can be alleviated using artificial tears or lubricant eye drops to make up for the lack of natural tears usually produced by your eyes. If over-the-counter drops don’t alleviate your symptoms, your doctor might prescribe prescription drops that actually stimulate tear production or steroids for short-term relief.

More severe cases of dry eyes might be treated with a punctal insert which is a tiny insert containing a slow-release lubricating substance that is placed inside the lower eyelid. Since DED is often related to eyelid inflammation known as blepharitis your doctor may prescribe a heated hot compress mask, specialty eyelid scrubs and sometimes an antibiotic ointment. Finally, punctal plugs might be recommended for severe cases which would be inserted into the tear ducts to reduce the tear drainage in your eyes to keep them from drying out.

If the cause of your dry eyes is something external or environmental, eliminating that cause may solve the problem and resolve the symptoms. Avoid dry environments, hair dryers, heaters and fans, (particularly directed toward the eyes) and smoky environments and wear eye protection such as wrap around glasses or goggles when in dusty or windy areas. Use a humidifier to add moisture to dry indoor air. If working on computer or watching television, make sure to blink purposefully as our natural tendency is to reduce our blink rate when staring at a screen. Also avoid rubbing your eyes as this can further irritate them. Staying hydrated by drinking at least 8 to 10 glasses of water per day can also help.

In cases where discontinuation or switching to different medications is possible this can eradicate symptoms. Dr. Bang may also recommend that you limit or refrain from contact lens use for a certain amount of time or switch to a different brand or type of contact lens which will reduce dehydration.

Dry eye disease won’t have a permanent effect on your vision, but there is no reason to endure dry, itchy and uncomfortable eyes, especially since there are so many treatment options to increase moisture and comfort. It’s also important to realize that this is a chronic disease that needs consistent treatment. Our Integrated Vision eye doctor will work with you to create a long term strategy to keep your eyes as comfortable as possible.

Myopia can be aggressive. As incidence rates of myopia drastically rise, it’s also the case that aggressive or progressive myopia is rapidly increasing too.

Equinox Low Level Light Therapy (LLLT)™

 

The Equinox Low Level Light Therapy (LLLT) is a non-invasive, pain and stress-free treatment of dry eye syndrome as well as periocular inflammatory conditions for all patients regardless of skin type. 

 

The LLLT uses specifically designed LED lights to gently warm up the eyelids, causing the meibomian glands to unclog and release oils. 

  • Safe, non-invasive procedure

  • 15 minutes per session

  • No recovery time needed

  • No side effects or discomfort

  • Safe for adults and children

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Benefits of LLLT

  • LLLT therapy is easy. The automated treatment software calculates the energy and duration of the process.

  • The painless, 15-minute procedure provides a comfortable patient experience with no gel required.

  • A unique, patented LED mask treats the periocular area efficiently.

  • LLLT is capable of producing results for the patient from the first treatment. In many cases, 1 or 2 treatments are enough.

  • The instrument and software are upgradeable so you will always have the latest generation of equipment with new opportunities for innovative treatments.

  • Minimal economic commitment and low per patient costs make LLLT a great option for those launching services to treat periocular inflammatory conditions.

Simply lay back with the Equinox mask on and relax as the warm light clears your glands.

*It may also help decrease the appearance of facial wrinkles, acne and rosacea.

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AB Max™

AB Max™ is an advanced  Distal-Ciliary Cleansing System (DCS) remove excess bacteria, scurf and debris from the ends of the eyelashes. Your trained technician will use the AB Max™ to spin proprietary microsponges along the distal end of the lashes helping improve your patient's eyelid hygiene and the overall health of their eyelids.

View the brochure here or watch the video below.

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