Dry Eye Syndrome
What is Dry Eye Syndrome?
Dry eye is a multi-factorial disease of the tears and ocular surface that results in symptoms of discomfort, visual disturbance, and tear film instability with potential damage to the ocular surface. It is accompanied by increased osmolarity (concentration of salts) of the tear film and inflammation of the ocular surface.
Dry Eye Syndrome (DES) occurs when the tear glands do not produce the right quantity or quality of tears. This results in a tear film that does not provide enough protection to the surface of the eyes, leading to damage of the ocular surface. DES is extremely prevalent and affects thousands of Houston residents every year.
What Causes Dry Eye Syndrome?
Chronic irritation to the ocular surface:
- Eyelid disease, such as blepharitis
- Computer/digital device use
- Air conditioning/heating systems, ceiling fans
- Cigarette smoke
- Dry/low humidity environments, including airline travel
- Improper contact lens use, fit, and contact lens solutions
Other causative factors:
- Advancing age
- Hormonal changes, including menopause
- Eye surgeries, including LASIK
- Poor water intake/diet
- Chemotherapy/Radiation treatment
- Systemic disease: lupus, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disease, Sjögren’s Syndrome, etc
- Medications (prescription and OTC): acne treatments, antihistamines/decongestants, antidepressants, oral contraceptives, eye drops (glaucoma, red-eye reducers, etc), diuretics, blood pressure medications, etc
How is Dry Eye Syndrome Diagnosed?
A comprehensive exam at our office can reveal the presence and severity of dry eye syndrome and help your optometrist determine the best type of dry eye treatment for you.
We now know that 86% of dry eye cases result from chronic Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) – structural damage or blockage of glands that produce oils to protect our tear layer. LipiScan, our latest technology, allows us to identify gland damage with optimum accuracy.
How is Dry Eye Syndrome Treated?
While there is no cure for dry eye syndrome, many treatment options are available. Dry eye disease can be caused by a number factors; consequently, a variety of treatment approaches are used (and often, more than one treatment is administered at a time). Dr. Aamena Kazmi, our dry eye specialist, will design a treatment plan unique to you, which can include: lubricating drops, gels, or ointments; daily eyelid hygiene; blink exercises; changes in environment; LipiFlow Thermal Pulsation; BlephEx; oral and topical prescription medications; omega-3 essential fatty acids, and modifications to your contact lens wear/prescription for scleral lenses.
When Should I Start Treatment?
It is important to schedule an appointment with our doctors for an evaluation. Dry eye syndrome is a chronic and typically progressive condition, which often occurs without symptoms during early stages. Schedule a comprehensive eye exam or dry eye consultation today!