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What is dry eye?
In a healthy eye, tears are responsible for the perfectly smooth ocular surface which allows clear vision. Tears also lubricate the eye. Every time we blink, a fresh layer of tears, called the tear film, spreads over the eye. The film is important for keeping the eye moist and comfortable. Sometimes the eye may stop producing enough tears or tears evaporate too quickly. This common and often chronic condition is referred to as Dry Eye Syndrome.
It Affects Your Quality of Life
People with dry eye syndrome may experience irritated, gritty, scratchy or burning eyes, excess watering, and blurred vision. The level of discomfort is increased if you wear contact lenses or live in a dry climate. If left untreated it may become so severe that it interferers with work and normal life activities.
Life Style - Staring at computer screens, televisions, or electronic readers for long periods of times, exposure to air conditioning, wind, smoke and dry climates.
Age - dry eye syndrome gets worse as we age
Gender - Women are more likely to develop dry eyes
Other Factors – long term use of contact lenses, refractive eye surgery, some medical conditions, such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Diabetes, Thyroid problems and inflation of the eye lids.
The Tear Film
The tear film is structured with 3 components that work together: a complex mucus component, a watery portion (Aqueous) and a complex oil outer layer (Lipid).
The oil component (Lipid) is important for reducing evaporation of tears and also provides structure to the tear film. Lipid is produced by the Meibomian Gland and is injected unto the tears with each blink. Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) can create a deficiency in the Lipid component of the tears, which leads to the evaporative dry eye.
The Water component produced by the Lacrimal glands (Aqueous) is also important. A lack of aqueous production can result in another type of dry eye called aqueous deficient dry eye. Aqueous Deficient dry eye can be associated with disorders such as Rheumatoid and Lupus.
The Dry Eye Examination
We are using advanced technology to examine your eyes. The use of a high resolution color camera equipped with intelligent software will be used to analyze the collected data and document the findings. It can also compare the results and show the success of the dry eye treatment.
Quality of the tear Film
To measure the quality and stability of the tear film, we measure the tear film break up time non-invasively. This test takes less than 30 seconds and does not require touching the eye.
To evaluate the quantity of the tear film, we take a picture of the lower eye lid to measure the tear meniscus height.
We can document a movie of the oily layer of the tear film. A healthy and thick lipid layer is colorful and protects the tears from fast evaporations. If there is not enough lipid, the tear film becomes unstable, and the moisture dissipates and both vision and comfort can be compromised.
Located in both upper and lower lids, the meibomian glands produce complex oils that stabilize the tear film and prevent tear evaporation. If the meibomian glands do not function properly dry eye usually occurs. We can utilize the advanced features of the camera to directly assess the health of you meibomian glands.
Dry Eye Treatments
There has been a veritable explosion in understanding the causes of dry eye. A variety of options are now available to help people who suffer from dry eyes. Current approaches include advanced artificial tear eye drop formulations, prescription eye drops that include advanced artificial tear drop formulations, prescription eye drops that increase tear production and reduce inflammation, and new approaches to effectively treat meibomian gland dysfunction, which is now understood to play a primary role in most dry eye cases.
Dry eye treatment can now be targeted to address the underlying cause of the problem. Some patients suffer from lack of tear production, others from excessive evaporation of tears. Most suffer from a combination of both problems. After a comprehensive examination using the advanced diagnostic tools we can more accurately assess the precise and severity of your dry eye. Using this detailed information; we can then recommend the best course of treatment to address your specific problem.