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A basic understanding of COVID-19, how it spreads, and what every individual can do to protect themselves and others is critical to mitigate the spread of the virus among communities.
Dry Eye Disease
What is Dry Eye Disease?
Dry Eye Disease is an increasingly common eye condition that results from poorly functioning tears. Our tears are made of three main components: an oil layer, a water layer, and a mucous layer. An imbalance of these tear components leads to inflammation and irritation of the ocular surface. Symptoms of dry eye disease can be mild or occasional, but will often worsen over time if the underlying cause is not treated.
There are two main types of Dry Eye Disease:
- Evaporative (Oil Deficient) Dry Eye
- Aqueous (Water Deficient) Dry Eye
What Treatments Are Available For Dry Eye Disease?
There are now many dry eye treatments available to our patients ranging from home-based to in-office treatments. Creating a customized plan for each patient is key to achieving treatment success. Determining the type of dry eye disease is very helpful to guide treatment choices.
- Lubricant Eye-Drops
- Eyelid Hygiene (Lid Wipes) & Eyelid Compress (Heat Mask)
- Prescription Anti-Inflammatory Medications
- Nutritional Supplements (Omega 3/6)
- Eyelid Cleansing/Exfoliation
- Lipiflow Thermal Pulsation
- E-Eye Intense Pulsed Light (IRPL)
- Punctal Plugs
- Bandage Contact Lens Therapy
- Amniotic Membrane Therapy
Evaporative (Oil Deficient) Dry Eye
As the most common cause, this type affects up to 90% of patients with dry eye disease. Meibomian glands located within our eyelids produce a vegetable oil like substance that flows over the surface of the eye and prevents tear evaporation. Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) is most often caused by the development of a bacterial biofilm (much like dental plaque) along the edge of the eyelid. This leads to blockages or inflammation within the oil glands, causes a thin and unstable oil layer, and results in dry eye symptoms. Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) can also worsen with age, hormonal changes, contact lens wear, or with certain prescription medications. Fortunately there are now several very effective treatments available to reduce or even prevent Meibomian Gland Dysfunction and Evaporative Dry Eye.
Aqueous (Water Deficient) Dry Eye
Although a less common cause, this type affects about 10% of patients with dry eye disease. The Lacrimal Gland, located under the upper eyelid, produces the aqueous (water) component of our tears to lubricate the surface of the eye. Lacrimal Dysfunction is most often caused by the development of chronic eye inflammation. This leads to damage to the lacrimal gland and sensory nerves in the eye, causes a thin water layer, and results in dry eye symptoms. Lacrimal Dysfunction is associated with aging, hormonal changes, ocular surgery, many prescription medications, and can be associated with autoimmune or inflammatory health conditions. Fortunately, there are several treatment options available to help manage Lacrimal Dysfunction and Aqueous Deficient Dry Eye.
What is a Dry Eye Evaluation?
A Dry Eye Evaluation is a consultation appointment where several measurements and scans are performed in order to help Dr. Sayer determine the type and severity of your dry eye disease. The results of these measurements will guide Dr. Sayer’s treatment recommendations for you. The following is a list of some of the measurements that may be performed:
- Tear Production
- Tear Volume
- Tear Break Up Time (TBUT)
- Tear Osmolarity
As lockdowns ease and routines resume, it is more important than ever to be mindful of the steps that can be taken to safeguard one’s homes and loved ones from infection.
The use of lubricant eye drops is the most common dry eye treatment recommended by eye care providers today. Lubricant eye drops are available in many different formulations and many brand names. These lubricant drops provide temporary relief from dry eye symptoms; however, do not treat the underlying cause of dry eye disease.
Eyelid Hygiene (Lid Wipe) & Eyelid Compress (Heat Mask)
Eyelid hygiene is an important part of maintaining healthy eyelids and tear function. The use of an eyelid wipe helps to remove bacterial biofilm (analogous to dental plaque) which often builds up along the eyelid margin and within the eyelashes.
A heat mask or warm compress applied to the eyelids can help improve Meibomian gland oil secretion & flow by “melting” thickened oils and minimizing gland blockages. This treatment can help improve dry eye symptoms in cases of Meibomian gland dysfunction and Evaporative Dry Eye with a short term effect. Consistent daily warm compress treatments are needed.
Prescription Anti-Inflammatory Medications
There are several prescription medications available to help treat inflammation associated with dry eye disease. These medications include topical steroids, cyclosporine (Restasis), and lifitegrast (Xiidra) eye drops.
Nutritional Supplements (Omega 3/6)
Omega-3 (EPA/DHA) and certain Omega-6 (GLA) supplements can help to improve Meibomian gland oil secretions, reduce eye inflammation, and help promote healthy tear function.
for High-Risk Individuals
Extra precautions must be taken to protect frontline healthcare workers and those with existing medical conditions or lower immunity, as they are at higher risk of infection and complications than others.