Dry eye is an ocular surface dysfunction that affects millions of people in the United States and is a condition where the eye lacks sufficient lubrication. This could be due to a low quantity of tear production or a breakdown in the quality of the tear itself. As we age (typically around the age of 50), the risk of developing dry eye increases. Research shows that women have a higher chance of experiencing dry eye compared with men especially if they experience hormonal changes due to pregnancy, using birth control pills or reaching menopause. If left untreated, dry eye can affect vision and often leads to discomfort due to itchy, scratchy, burning, and sore eyes. Dry eyes also affect diagnostic equipment needed for the planning of cataract surgery or laser vision correction.
The tear film has three distinct layers: the lipid (oil) layer, the aqueous (water) layer and the mucous layer. Each layer serves an important function in maintaining the quality of the tear and lubricating the eye.
Your body produces three types of tears:
The good news is that ocular surface dysfunctions like dry eye is treatable. Price Vision Group offers a variety of dry eye treatments to give the best possible outcome for our patients. Treatments include artificial tears to help increase eye lubrication, prescription eye drops, eye lid cleansers, and advanced treatment options such as Intense Pulsed Light therapy and TrueTear®.
A common treatment for moderate dry eye, artificial tears are eye drops that help provide additional lubrication to the surface of the eye and are typically used on an “as-needed” basis. Artificial tears do not require a prescription and are available in two main categories: preserved and preservative-free.
Prescription eyedrops can be used as a more effective dry eye treatment option or in addition to the use of artificial tears. The eye drops contain ingredients that not only aim to reduce inflammation associated with signs and symptoms of dry eye but also help your body produce more natural tears. Unlike artificial tears, prescription eye drops are to be used on a treatment schedule so the full benefits will not be experienced until after several months of regular use.
There are approximately 45-70 meibomian glands on your upper and lower eyelids that secrete oils to coat the surface of your eye. Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) is the leading cause of dry eye syndrome and is a condition where a blockage occurs in these glands and in turn causes a lower quality tear film that evaporates quickly. This blockage can also lead to inflammation on the eyelids known as blepharitis. Specially designed eyelid cleansers help unclog the glands and reduce the inflammation on the eyelids.
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) therapy is another treatment option for MGD. Using specific wavelengths of light directed on the eyelid region, IPL therapy helps close abnormal blood vessels and dilate the meibomian glands.
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