Treatment Options For Dry Eye
Many of us experience dry eye symptoms situationally, such as during allergy season or in windy dry climates. Common dry eye symptoms include blurry vision, eye redness, sensitivity to bright lights, achy burning foreign body sensation in the eyes, or even watery eyes due to the body’s response to eye irritation. Most people assume dry eye symptoms and contact lens intolerance are a normal part of aging, when in fact it is not normal to have chronic red eyes or your eyelids stuck to your eyes upon waking. Some people struggle with dry eye symptoms regularly, even without external factors to trigger them. Dr. Wu is a cornea specialist who focuses on understanding and treating the underlying cause of your eye condition to restore your eye health before moving on to surgical procedures.
What is Dry Eye?
Healthy eyes produce a strong tear film that coats, protects, and lubricates the surface of the eyes. When the tear film breaks down prematurely between blinks, this leaves the eye surface unprotected and prone to injury and infection. Dry eye is a common condition that happens to most people occasionally. When it becomes severe or frequent enough to affect your life, your dry eye deserves the attention of a trained professional. If left untreated, these symptoms may lead to corneal scarring or decreased vision. However, many people do not seek treatment. In fact, many only mention it to Dr. Wu when asked about it during a consultation for laser eye surgery. If you have dry eye problems, Dr. Wu will focus on correcting this issue before proceeding with eye surgery.
What are the Causes of Dry Eye?
Environmental factors, age, gender, medical conditions, medications, and many other factors can cause dry eyes. People who have dry eyes often have poor tear quality or not enough tear production. The tear film has a water (aqueous) layer, a mucus (mucin) layer, and an oily (lipid) layer. When the eyelid (meibomian) glands that make the oily layer become blocked or the oil secretion is poor quality, this is called Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD). Clogged oil glands or clumpy oil lead to tears that evaporate too quickly. The most common cause of dry eye is actually poor oil secretion, not decreased tear production. MGD accounts for greater than 80% of dry eye disease.
Treatment Options for Dry Eye
Over-the-counter artificial tears require frequent administration and do not provide sustained relief from dry eye symptoms. Dr. Wu and her team offer several in-office dropless dry eye treatments, aimed at targeting the underlying cause of your dry eye symptoms. See a dry eye specialist to find the treatment that works best for your unique eyes. All procedures are quick, gentle, and non-invasive, and help you achieve long-lasting dry eye relief without the need for frequent drop application.
MGD is often linked to inflammation around the eyes. This light-based treatment addresses MGD by decreasing abnormal dilated blood vessels around the eye leading to improved tear film. Pulses of light reduce inflammation around the eye, decreasing the swelling that can keep oil from flowing normally. It also improves the appearance and texture of the skin around your eyes by stimulating collagen production.
This trademark treatment works by fitting specially designed thermal pads over the eyelids to deliver gentle heat therapy to the meibomian glands. This heat helps break down thickened meibum that are blocking your meibomian glands. After the heat softens these oils, an eyecare professional gently expresses the poor quality oil to open the glands. Depending on how often your glands become blocked, you may require maintenance treatments as needed.
This treatment addresses inflammation at the eyelid margin (blepharitis) by deeply cleansing the area along the eyelash base and the opening to the oil glands. This procedure removes dead skin cells, oil clogs, bacteria, and other biofilm debris to restore healthy eyelid margins and increase meibum production. Most people require a few maintenance treatments a year to keep their eyes clean and healthy.
Request a Consultation
We’d love to help you get all the information you need in order to make the best choice for your eyes. Request a consultation today! Our staff is available and happy to answer your every question.
Does LASIK Cause Dry Eye?
If you have considered LASIK, you may have been asked if you have a problem with dry eyes. People with chronic dry eye are often recommended for other types of vision correction treatments because LASIK can make dry eye worse. If you have dry eyes and want LASIK, Dr. Wu may instead recommend SMILE, another type of laser eye surgery with less dry eye. She may also recommend an ICL (implantable contact lens) which causes minimal dry eye.
Am I a Good Candidate for Dry Eye Treatment?
Anyone with dry eye symptoms is a good candidate for dry eye treatment. If you plan to have laser eye surgery but have dry eye symptoms, Dr. Wu will first address your dry eye problem. Dry eye can even disqualify you from some types of eye surgery, so you will benefit from having this condition under control before proceeding with eye surgery.
Take the Next Step
Want to know more about dry eye treatments? Please fill out the form on this page or call (949) 208-9090 to schedule your appointment.
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