Dry Eye Treatment
Dry eye is a multifactorial disease impacting the tears of your eyes. Although commonly called dry eye, the more appropriate term is ocular surface disease. OSD contributing factors include an unstable tear film, medications, hormones, decrease meibum production from blocked glands, insufficient aqueous production, bacteria build up on the eyelid, and inflammation in the eye. The symptoms of dry eye—including dryness, scratchiness and burning—can usually be successfully managed.
Dry Eye Diagnosis
There are 3 main tests we can conduct to determine the status and severity of your OSD. The first is an affordable method known as hyperosmolarity testing. One of the first signs of tear film dysfunction is an increase of the molecules-to-liquid ratio in your tears, this is known as hyperosmolarity. We measure this ratio and use it to track how your dry eye treatment is working over time. It is a quick and painless procedure that analyzes a small portion of the tear film.
The second option is Inflammadry, which is a small device that detects markers in the tear film. These markers are commonly seen in inflammatory cases of dry eye. It is a short 10-minute lab test that will guide your customized treatment plan.
Lastly our optometrists can perform a tear evaluation. This is an advanced analysis of the tears using biomicroscopy. The optometrist will diagnose the cause of your dry eye using the above tests and their tear evaluation. Once the appropriate diagnosis is made, an individual dry eye treatment plan will be created.
Doctors sometimes recommend special nutritional supplements containing certain essential fatty acids to decrease dry eye symptoms. Drinking more water may also relieve symptoms. If medications are the cause of dry eyes, discontinuing the drug generally resolves the problem. But in this case, the benefits of the drug must be weighed against the side effect of dry eyes. Sometimes switching to a different type of medication alleviates the dry eye symptoms while keeping the needed treatment. In any case, never switch or discontinue your medications without consulting with your doctor first. Treating any underlying eyelid disease, such as blepharitis, helps as well. This may call for antibiotic or steroid drops, plus frequent eyelid scrubs with an antibacterial shampoo.