Dry Eye Disease
Dry eye can be influenced by a number of factors related to environment and health that determine tear quality. Tears have 3 layers:
- a mucus layer,
- an aqueous (watery) layer, and
- a lipid (oily) layer.
If there’s an imbalance in these layers, your vision and the comfort of your eyes may be affected. For example, if not enough lipid layer is being produced, tears may evaporate too quickly. If the lacrimal glands do not produce enough aqueous component, or not enough mucin layer is available to stabilize the tears onto the ocular surface, patients can become symptomatic. Dry eye symptoms can include:
- Dry, gritty, or itchy sensation
- Light sensitivity
- Visual fluctuation
- Watery eyes
Poor tear quality can be caused by dysfunction in any of the tear film layers. Often, patients with lid inflammation or blepharitis experience Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD), a condition that impacts the production of oils in your tears. The most common form of MGD is obstruction of the oil producing glands in the eyelids. At ECI, we will test your tear quality to determine the causes contributing to or causing your dry eye.
Treatment of Dry Eye
Each case of dry eye disease is unique and we consider the factors causing your symptoms as well as your tear quality to develop a custom treatment plan. Initial management options include artificial tears/lubricant drops, lid cleansing regimen, and nutritional supplements. Additional options include prescription anti-inflammatory drops and ointments, oral medications, and minimally invasive office procedures.
At ECI, we provide the most advanced treatments to address your dry eyes. One of the latest offerings is the TearCare® System, a medical device that provides in-office meibomian gland obstruction removal. Click on this link for more information.