Dry Eye Syndrome
What is Dry Eye Syndrome?
Dry Eye Syndrome (DES), also known as Ocular Surface Disease (OSD), is the most common eye disorder, affecting about 20% of the population. It is caused when one or all of the components of the tear film are not in balance. Clogged oil glands along both upper and lower lid margins contribute to 86% of ocular surface disease progression (OSD) and dry eye. Poor lacrimal gland function further reduces the production of our “emergency eye wash tears.” Damage to our goblet cells that reside in the tissue near our beautiful iris can reduce the output of our mucous tears which help to nourish protect our precious sight. Understanding the complex makeup of our tears is important in devising a proper treatment approach to solving OSD.
What are the Symptoms?
The most common symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome include:
- Watery eyes
Advanced dry eyes may damage the front surface of the eye and impair your vision. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, we have effective treatment solutions for OSD.
What are the Risk Factors?
Dry eyes can develop for many reasons, including:
- Age (a majority of people over age 65 experience symptoms of dry eyes)
- Gender (women are more likely to develop dry eyes due to hormonal changes caused by pregnancy, the use of contraceptives, and menopause)
- Medications (i.e., antihistamines, decongestants, blood pressure medications, and antidepressants can reduce tear production)
- Medical conditions (i.e., rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and thyroid problems are more likely to have symptoms of dry eyes)
- Environmental conditions (i.e., exposure to smoke, wind, and dry climates can increase tear evaporation and failure to blink regularly can also contribute to drying of the eyes)
- Long-term use of contact lenses
- Refractive eye surgeries, such as LASIK, can decrease tear production
How is Dry Eye Treated?
We start with a full eye examination and carefully examine the ocular surface with specific diagnostic equipment to determine which areas of the tear film are in distress. Dr. Brigman will then formulate an initial treatment plan which may include:
- Lid margin hygiene to encourage better oil gland production: OCuSOFT Original, OCuSOFT Hypochlorous spray, Zocushield gel
- Discussion of supplements that may be beneficial
- Possible prescription eye drop medication
- TempSure Envi procedures to revitalize the oil glands along the lid margins
- Intense Pulse Light Therapy to reduce redness and vessel inflammation around the eyes and Demodex eradication
- Amniotic membrane technology
- Scleral lenses
- Autologous serum eye drops
- Or a combination of some of these strategies
Request an Appointment in Willmington, NC
If you suffer from dry eye or any of its associated symptoms, schedule an appointment at Atlantic Vision Center.