What is Dry Eye?
Dry eye syndrome is a common chronic disorder caused by decreased tear production and/or excessive tear evaporation. Symptoms include eye stinging, grittiness, redness, blur, and excessive tearing. Factors that influence dry eye are aging, hormonal changes, poor eyelid hygiene, contact lenses, environmental factors, prolonged screen use, autoimmune diseases, certain medications, and more.
Meibomian Gland Dysfunction
Meibomian gland dysfunction is the most common contributor of dry eye. Meibomian glands, which have openings near the base of your eyelashes, normally secrete a layer of oils on top of your tear film to prevent tear evaporation. In MGD there is poor quality and quantity of these oils. The first-line treatment of MGD is using warm compresses at least once a day. Warm microwavable eye masks are worn for ten minutes, heating up glands to improve oil secretion. Our office offers the TearCare System, an in-office treatment for MGD. TearCare delivers targeted heat to the eyelids at a consistent therapeutic temperature, melting hardened oils obstructing the meibomian glands. This is followed by manual expression of the glands, clearing any residual blockage. Our optometrists can determine if you are a good candidate for the TearCare System.
Blepharitis is inflammation of the eyelid margins often caused by excessive growth of normal skin bacteria. To treat blepharitis, practice eyelid hygiene by gently cleansing and scrubbing the base of your eyelashes twice a day. Our optometrists will evaluate for blepharitis and discuss different eyelid cleansers and wipes best suited for you.
Artificial tears are lubricating eye drops that relieve dry eye. Preservative-free artificial tears are more gentle to the eyes and can be used as often as needed. Artificial tears with preservatives should not be used more than four times a day. Depending on the severity of your dry eye, we may recommend a thicker gel eye drop or an overnight lubricating ointment. Avoid “redness relief” decongestant eye drops, which contain extra chemicals that cause more redness in the long run.
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Boyd, Kierstan. “What Is Dry Eye? Symptoms, Causes and Treatment.” American Academy of Ophthalmology, 25 July 2022, https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-is-dry-eye.
Eberhardt, Mary. “Blepharitis.” StatPearls, 1 Feb. 2022, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK459305/.
Gupta, Preeya K, et al. “TearCare for the Treatment of Meibomian Gland Dysfunction in Adult Patients with Dry Eye Disease: A Masked Randomized Controlled Trial.” Cornea, 1 Apr. 2022, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8895971/.
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