What is DRy Eye Syndrome?
Dry eye syndrome affects millions of Americans around the country today. Dry eye syndrome is the most common complaint patients have when visiting their eye doctor. Dry eye syndrome can manifest in mild or severe symptoms. Today, we have made many advances in treating dry eye syndrome, but there is no outright cure for it.
Dry Eye Syndrome is a chronic condition involving reduced tear production, poor tear quality and inflammation of the surface of the eye including the eyelids.
Common symptoms include scratchiness, itching, burning, stinging, redness, aching, stabbing pain, watering, light sensitivity and fluctuating vision especially when reading. You may have a single or multiple symptoms.
Various conditions can lead to dry eye symptoms including, but not limited to, decreased tear production, abnormal or reduced oily tear layer production, decreased blink rate, incomplete blink, inflammation of eyelids, lash mites, wind, low humidity, air pollutants, smoking, medications, menopause, previous LASIK, make-up, and contact lenses.
The symptoms of Dry Eye can be uncomfortable- and a big burden. Basic visual tasks, such as reading, using a computer, driving or watching television may become difficult. Wearing contact lenses may be impossible. And, you might find that symptoms worsen later in the day, keeping you from enjoying the activities you want to do.
Blepharitis is a broad term referring to inflammation of the eyelids. The eyelids appear red, swollen and irritated, with crusting of the eyelashes. Blepharitis is caused by an overgrowth of the bacteria that is normally found on the skin.
The meibomian glands are specialized sebaceous glands at the eyelid margins that are responsible for the supply of meibum (oil) to the tear film which prevents evaporation of the tears.
Blepharitis may lead to Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD). MGD is associated with altered composition of the meibomian gland secretions and inflammation. The abnormal production of the oil tear layer leads to rapid tear evaporation.
Dry Eye Syndrome and Blepharitis cannot be cured but symptoms can be greatly diminished with treatment over several months. There is no “quick fix” for this condition. Dry Eye Syndrome and Blepharitis are managed by several different treatments in an effort to minimize your chronic symptoms. After initiation one or more treatments, improvement should not be expected earlier than 6-8 week. It is unlikely that just one or two of the recommendations will give you relief from significant symptoms. Instead multiple treatments work together to slowly decrease inflammation and improve symptoms.
Treatment options include:
- Frequent artificial tears
- Prescription eye drops (Restasis®)
- Eyelid scrubs and cleansers
- Heat Mask
- High-potency triglyceride form Omega 3 fatty acids
- Steroid drops and ointment
- Antibiotic drops, ointment and/or pills
- Lubricant ointments during sleep
- Punctal Plugs (close off tear drain)
- Moisture Chamber Goggles
The Eye Center of Fort Wayne offers all these treatments and non-prescription products. It may be difficult to find good quality dry eye treatment products at the local pharmacy. For the convenience of our patients, The Eye Center of Fort Wayne offers these products at a very reasonable and competitive price.