Dry Eye Treatment
Dry Eye Treatment Coral Gables, FL and Palmetto Bay, FL
Over 100 million people worldwide suffer from dry eye, and women are affected by dry eye 50% more than men. If you are suffering from dry eye syndrome and are looking for a solution, the doctors at Clarin Eye Care in Coral Gables, FL and Palmetto Bay, FL have the expertise to diagnose and successfully treat dry eye.
What is Dry Eye?
Dry eye syndrome is a disease in which the eyes don’t produce enough quality tears to properly lubricate and nourish the eyes. Tears help maintain eye health and keep vision clear. They provide lubrication, reduce the risk of eye infection, wash away foreign matter in the eye, and keep the surface of the eyes smooth and clear. When tear production and drainage are out of balance, dry eye can occur.
The tears are made of three components:
- Lipid (oil layer to prevent the tears from evaporating),
- Aqueous (water and nutrients),
- And mucin (to spread the tear film evenly and stabilize tears).
Any decrease in the quality or the quantity of any of the three components will lead to dry eyes. Dry eye is categorized into two distinct groups:
- Aqueous deficiency dry eye (keratoconjunctivitis sicca)
- Evaporative dry eye (meibomian gland dysfunction)
What are the Symptoms of Dry Eye?
Common symptoms of dry eye include the following:
- A stinging, burning, or scratchy sensation in your eyes
- Stringy mucus in or around your eyes
- Sensitivity to light
- Eye redness
- A sensation of having something in your eyes
- Difficulty wearing contact lenses
- Difficulty with nighttime driving
- Watery eyes, which is the body’s response to the irritation of dry eyes
- Blurred vision or eye fatigue
What Causes Dry Eye?
While most cases of dry eye are caused by meibomian gland dysfunction, some other conditions and diseases can lead to the development of dry eye. Determining the root cause(s) of your dry eye is important so that it can be treated properly.
Meibomian gland dysfunction
The most common cause of dry eye disease is meibomian gland dysfunction or MGD.
The meibomian glands are small oil glands located in the upper and lower eyelids that secrete oil that coats the surface of the eyes and prevents moisture from evaporating. Water, oil, and mucin layers make up the tear film, and this tear film is what keeps the surface of the eye healthy. MGD occurs when the oil-producing meibomian glands are clogged and unable to create a healthy tear film to keep the eyes properly lubricated. Symptoms of meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) include dryness, burning, itching, sensitivity to light, watery eyes, red eyes, the development of chalazion/styes, blurry vision, and eye crusting or stickiness.
People who have chronically high blood glucose levels can experience serious eye health complications, including diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, glaucoma, and dry eye.
Diabetes can affect the oil glands in the eyelids which are responsible for preventing the watery component of the tears from evaporating too quickly after blinking. High blood glucose levels can also damage nerves in the eyes, specifically in the lacrimal gland and on the cornea, and these nerves are crucial for keeping tears on the surface of the eye. When these nerves are damaged, this can cause insufficient blood flow to the area, leading to a decrease in tear production.
Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids. The affected area is usually at the very edge of the eyelid, located at the base of the eyelashes. This inflammation causes this area to swell up, appear red and inflamed, and produce infected debris called scurf. It’s a common issue, particularly if you have oily skin, dandruff, or rosacea. Some people describe blepharitis as “psoriasis of the eyelids,” and this condition can cause dry eye.
Sjogren’s syndrome is a systematic autoimmune disease that affects the entire body. One characteristic of this disease is that it causes the immune system to attack the moisture-producing cells in the body, so it’s common for people who have Sjogren’s syndrome to also have a dry mouth, dry eye, and dry skin.
People who have thyroid disorders can suffer from dry eye as well. This includes people with Graves’ disease or hyperthyroidism, where the thyroid makes too many hormones, and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or hypothyroidism, where you have low levels of hormones.
Some medications can cause dry eye as a side effect, including cold medications, antihistamines, high blood pressure medications, and anti-depressants.
Laser eye surgery
People who undergo laser eye surgery such as LASIK may experience decreased tear production or increased corneal sensitivity, resulting in dry eyes.
Radiation therapy for head or neck cancer, cancer of the eye socket, or brain cancer can sometimes cause dry eye as an unfortunate side effect.
Staring at screens for too long can lead to dry eye since we tend to blink less while concentrating on screens.
Using birth control, hormonal patches, IUDs, and vaginal rings can cause hormonal changes designed to mimic pregnancy, resulting in dry eye symptoms.
Women going through menopause experience a decrease in progesterone, estrogen, and androgen production. Androgens can affect the balance of tear production, so a drop in androgen production can result in decreased tear production and dry eye symptoms.
How is Dry Eye Diagnosed?
At Clarin Eye Care and Coral Gables Eye Care, our doctors diagnose dry eye disease by performing a series of tests that evaluate the quantity and quality of your tears. We will also ask about your symptoms, health history, current medications, and any environmental factors that could be causing your dry eye.
What is Dry Eye Treatment?
While dry eye can be a chronic condition, our doctors offer a range of treatment options to help you maintain healthy eyes, minimize dryness and discomfort, and prevent vision issues. Some common treatments include using artificial tears, increasing tear production, and treating inflammation of the eyelids or the eye surface.
The doctors at Clarin Eye Care in Palmetto Bay or Coral Gables Eye Care will create a treatment plan customized to your specific case of dry eye disease. If you’re dealing with dry eye symptoms, please contact us today to schedule an appointment.