Did you know that upwards of 30 million Americans suffer from dry eye, a chronic condition that occurs when people can no longer produce enough quality tears to lubricate the entire eye surface? That’s a lot of people living with scratchy, irritated eyes.
In fact, Google trends for the topic “dry eye syndrome” have doubled between December 2010 and July 2020!
Why such a dramatic increase?
People are more “plugged in” than ever before. Experts agree that doing near work on smartphones, computers and other devices—things like emailing, texting, viewing, working or playing video games—can be blamed for much of the increase in dry eye symptoms. And with an increased reliance on electronic screens for both work and education, the condition is expected to continue to rise.
Understanding Dry Eye Syndrome
Many people don’t realize they even have dry eye, so they don’t seek treatment. They assume the irritation is normal and unavoidable, treating it with over-the-counter drops or not at all. Beyond the obvious symptoms of dry, burning and irritated eyes, other dry eye symptoms can include soreness, sensitivity to light, and, oddly enough, excessive tearing or watery eyes.
When we see patients with any of these complaints, the first thing we assess is whether it is occasional or chronic. Occasional dry eye is actually pretty common. It’s not typically a major concern and can usually be relieved with home remedies like warm compresses, drinking more water, blinking more often and using the 20/20 rule for screen time (close your eyes every 20 minutes for 20 seconds).
In some cases, over-the-counter drops can help. But a word of caution; using them too often can irritate your eyes, and drops that are made for the sole purpose of removing redness can, over time, irritate your eyes even more. Also, be sure to choose a preservative-free drop, because some of the preservation elements can make the dryness worse over time.
But what if your dry eye is something more?
Meibomian Gland Dysfunction
Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) is a root cause of chronic dry eye. Meibomian (“my-BOH-mee-an”) refers to a type of gland found in the eyelids. There are about 25 to 40 meibomian glands in the upper eyelid and 20 to 30 in the lower eyelid. They secrete oils onto the surface of the eye to help keep tears from evaporating too quickly.
MGD is basically a blockage or another abnormality of the meibomian glands so they don’t secrete enough oil into the tears. As a result, tears evaporate too quickly. MGD is a leading cause of dry eye syndrome.
Collins Vision’s Dry Eye Specialty Clinic Offers Relief for Dry Eye Symptoms
If your dry eye symptoms are more significant or chronic than what is described above, we can help. Through a series of thorough diagnostic tests to evaluate your unique ocular surface condition, our Dry Eye Specialty Clinic will get to the root cause of your dry eye problems. At Collins Vision, we’ve helped countless patients identify the underlying cause of their dry eye symptoms, developing customized treatment plans for relief.
We offer a variety of choices for treating dry eye and can talk to you in detail about which treatment option is best for your unique ocular condition. The severity and the root cause of your dry eye will determine which treatment is the best choice for you. Some choices include:
BlephEx® – For the treatment of Demodex Blepharitis, a widespread condition that occurs when microscopic mites live along the lash line and in hair follicles. During treatment, each eyelash margin is scrubbed with diluted tea tree oil until the affected areas are thoroughly cleansed. A home regimen will be prescribed following the procedure to prevent a recurrence. In most cases, symptoms are improved right away.
Expression of Meibomian Glands – These glands can become obstructed, causing the oil layer to become thin; hello, dry eyes! In-office expression of the meibomian glands works to re-establish healthy gland function.
Treatment for Ocular Allergies – If you have ocular allergies, you’re at an increased risk for dry eye. The opposite is also true: dry eye can aggravate allergic signs and symptoms. By taking a simple allergy test, we will know immediately if ocular allergies are to blame for your symptoms and will be able to create a customized, effective treatment plan to end your suffering.
Ready to say goodbye to dry eye? We can help. See the Difference and schedule your dry eye consultation at Collins Vision today.
Dr. Nicole E. Alessi has collaborated with leading dry eye specialists around the country to develop the Collins Vision Dry Eye Specialty Clinic. Her interest in this area began during her residency training, where a strong emphasis was placed on chronic dry eye. She is dedicated to offering the most up-to-date, comprehensive care for patients with dry eye, blepharitis, and various ocular surface disorders. During your first appointment, you will personally meet with Dr. Alessi for your evaluation and a customized treatment plan.