The scratchiness, the irritation, and that burning sensation—“dry eye” is enough to make you cry!
Tears keep the eye moist, wash out dust and debris, and are essential to good eye health. Without this lubrication, the eyes become irritated and feel dry and scratchy.
If dryness is making your eyes uncomfortably irritated or painful, you are not alone. Whether it is causing minor discomfort, occasional pain, or frequent, debilitating pain, dry eye is one of the most common reasons people visit an eye doctor.
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Dry Eye: Overview
What is Dry Eye?
Dry eye, a chronic condition that tends to become worse over time and causes blurred and fluctuating vision.
For some, this is simply due to insufficient tears. Air temperature, humidity, alcohol consumption, smoking, and other types of air pollution can all cause dryness. The aging process, chronic health conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes, and some medications can also interfere with the production of tears. Antihistamines (such as Benadryl), anti-depressants, and some blood pressure medications can contribute to dry eye problems.
For others (and more commonly), dry eye is more complicated than a simple shortage of tears. A tear drop is more complicated than it looks. To be effective, a tear must contain the correct balance of water, mucous, and an oily component called lipid. The tears of people who have the “evaporative” form of dry eye lack the necessary lipid component because the meibomian glands are blocked. This is called meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD).
These glands, located on the inner surface of the eyelids, produce the lipid that lubricates the eye and prevents tears from evaporating too quickly. More than 85% of people diagnosed with dry eye have the evaporative form.
How is Dry Eye and MGD Diagnosed and Treated?
LipiView is a simple test designed to evaluate both the structure of your meibomian glands and the health of your tear film’s lipid layer. If the results of this or another test called a meibomian gland evaluation (MGE) show that you may benefit from a quick in-office procedure called LipiFlow, your dry eye expert may recommend LipiFlow to restore the normal, hydrating flow of oil from the glands to the surface of the eye.
If MGD is not the source of a patient’s condition, Fischer Laser Eye Center may perform one or a combination of other diagnostic tests to identify the dry eye patient’s underlying issue, before they select an appropriate treatment from their wide range of options.
By identifying the root cause of a patient’s dry eye, whether it’s the more common MGD or some other ocular issue, our dry eye experts able to create personalized treatment plans designed around the needs of each individual patient, as well as eliminate the burden of future dry eye symptoms.