Announcing Our Launch of The Center for Dry Eye
Dry eye causes discomfort and blurred vision for millions of Americans. It is frequently misdiagnosed and almost always undertreated. While it may sound simple, dry eye is actually a complicated, progressive, and often serious condition. Piedmont Eye Care is your center for dry eye diagnosis and treatment. We are one of the only practices in the region offering Lipiflow as well as the new TrueTear dropless treatment.
Why Visit Your Center For Dry Eye Care
About Dry Eye
People typically suffer from dry eye when the quality or quantity of healthy tears declines. Our diets (junk food) and our lifestyles (staring at computers, phones, & other devices) can result in a decrease in the overall quality and quantity of our tears. As a result, the eyes can’t stay sufficiently lubricated. Dry eye syndrome also happens when the eye’s protective lipid layer breaks down. It is a progressive condition that ranges from very mild to severe.
Different conditions can cause dry eye, so the best treatment depends on the cause, symptoms, and severity.
While the causes vary, the following list highlights common symptoms of dry eye:
- Dry sensation in the eye
- Red eyes
- Itchy eyes
- Burning sensation
- Eyes that feel “heavy”
- Aching or sore eyes
- Fatigued eyes
- Blurry vision
- Dryness sensation
- Light sensitivity or photophobia
- Scratchy sensation or feeling that there is an object in the eye
- Watery eyes from excessive tear production
Healthy eyes rely on tears to moisten the eyes and to help wash away dust or debris. Healthy tears help prevent some eye infections and discomfort. To understand dry eye, it helps to understand some of the factors involved in producing and maintaining healthy tears:
- Lipids or oils layer produced by meibomian glands
- A watery or liquid layer formed by lacrimal glands
- A mucous-like layer produced by goblet cells in the conjunctiva that covers the white of the eye
Some common and less common causes for dry eye include:
- Many medications including decongestants, antihistamines, antidepressants and prescription medications that alter hormone balance
- Age, since dry eye symptoms worsen over time
- Inflammatory conditions like rosacea and blepharitis
- Autoimmune diseases
- Hormone changes in females including pregnancy, use of oral contraceptives, and menopause
- Environmental conditions like wind, sun, dust, smoke, and air pollution
- Seasonal allergies
- Hours of reading or looking at computer screens & other electronic devices due to decreased blink rate
- Laser eye surgery
Effective treatments for dry eye usually address one or more of the root causes of the dry eye.
Treatments for Dry Eye Symptoms
At Piedmont EyeCare, we offer the most effective treatments options. The best treatment for you depends on the cause and severity of your dry eye. We start with the simple and move to the complex. Our goal is to get you comfortable with the least amount of treatment necessary
The following list covers some of the common and less common dry eye treatment options.
- Artificial Tears is an over the counter eye drops offer relief for milder dry eye symptoms especially those caused by reading, studying, or computer use.
- Restasis – your eye doctor may prescribe a course of these prescription eye drops. Restasis reduces inflammation and helps your body produce natural tears.
- Xiidra is another variety of prescription eye drops that reduce the inflammation associated with dry eye.
- Steroid Eye Drops also aim to reduce inflammation. This is usually a short-term treatment to manage symptoms quickly.
- Autologous serum, where blood is drawn and artificial tears are made from your own serum. The serum is made by a compounding pharmacy.
- Punctal Plugs are inserted to help your tears remain on the eye’s surface longer.
- Blephex treatment can help opening the meibomian glands when the lid margins contain debris.
- Warm Compresses and lid hygiene.
- LipiFlow is an in-office treatment combining elements of meibomian gland expression and warm compress therapy. This treatment usually takes around 12 minutes per eye and is the only effective treatment for meibomian gland dysfunction.
- Truetear is a new treatment that makes patients produce more of their own tears via neurostimulation. This can now be tried in our office.
Each of these treatments has a set of associated risks so they may not suit every patient. Our doctors specialize in dry eye disease and can help determine the right treatment for the severity of your dry eye disease.
Nutritional Supplements & Dietary Changes To Relieve Dry Eye
We recommend that almost all of our dry eye patients take an omega 3 supplement.
We also recommend dietary changes to decrease overall inflammation in the body as well as drinking plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated.
Home Remedies & Lifestyle Changes For Healthy Eyes
Sometimes patients with minor dry eye symptoms find lifestyle changes diminishes their symptoms. Since dry eye tends to be progressive, it is important to be proactive in diagnosis and treatment.
Lifestyle changes that may help relieve dry eye include:
- Wear large sunglasses when outside in the sun or on windy days. You may get the best results with wraparound sunglasses or sunglasses and a hat.
- Remove eye makeup before going to bed since residue can contribute to blocked ducts and glands.
- Practice eye-friendly computing and reading. Often when concentrating, we forget to blink, and this can dry the eyes. Take frequent computer breaks where you blink and focus on distant objects. The 20-20-20 rule is helpful and easy to remember. Simply take a break every twenty minutes, focus on something 20 feet away, and rest your eyes for at least 20 seconds.
- Clean your eyelids before bedtime using a clean, warm washcloth.
- Discuss prescription and over the counter drugs with your eye doctor as some medications can contribute to dry eye.
- Reduce or stop using contact lenses until your symptoms are under control.
Keep in mind these lifestyle changes are not a substitute for professional eye care. Be sure to visit your center for dry eye for an exam, diagnosis and the best treatment options.
If you suffer from dry eye, don’t wait for it to get better on its own. Schedule an eye care exam today. If you live in the Charlotte-area, schedule your appointment with Piedmont EyeCare’s Center for Dry Eye.