At Gagliardi Optometric Clinic, we understand how dry eye can greatly impact daily activities and decrease a person’s quality of life. Patients suffering from dry eye may be unable to wear contact lenses and constantly use eye drops throughout the day to manage their irritation. Regular tasks, such as reading, watching television, and driving, may become more difficult. We understand the condition and offer the best care to all our patients.
Symptoms of Dry Eye include:
- Fluctuating vision
- Burning and irritation
- Blurred vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Sandy/gritty feeling
- Foreign body sensation
Do these symptoms sound familiar? Schedule your appointment for a comprehensive assessment today. Relief solutions are available!
What is Dry Eye?
Dry eye is a chronic condition where there are not enough tears to sufficiently lubricate and nourish the eye because the glands involved in tear production either fail to produce enough tears or produce tears of poor quality.
The Importance of Tears
Tears play an important role in maintaining the health of the front ocular surface. Tears lubricate and moisten the cornea, and provide an interface for oxygen exchange. They remove and flush away bacteria and allergens, preventing the eye from infection. Tears are also necessary for clear vision, by creating an even and smooth optical surface.
The tear film is composed of 3 layers:
1. Outer lipid layer: reduces surface evaporation of tears and acts as a smooth lubricating layer
2. Aqueous layer: nourishes and protects the cornea
3. Inner mucin layer: helps the tears adhere to the eye
Causes of Dry Eye:
Blepharitis is a condition in which the eyelids are persistently swollen and irritated due to bacteria on the eyelids and eyelashes. This condition can cause permanent damage to the meibomian glands and lead to their dysfunction, and consequently dry eye.
Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD): The meibomian glands are responsible for producing the outer oily layer of the tears. 65% of those who have dry eye symptoms suffer from meibomian gland dysfunction, in which the meibomian glands become obstructed and can no longer adequately produce the oily layer of the tear film. Without a proper oily layer, the tears evaporate too quickly, resulting in dry eye symptoms.
Hormonal changes: Women are more likely than men to suffer from dry eyes due to hormonal changes associated with pregnancy, the use of oral contraceptives or menopause.
Medications: Blood pressure medications, antidepressants, decongestants and antihistamines can all interfere with normal tear production in the eyes.
Environment: Tear evaporation is accelerated with environmental stresses, such as wind, smoke and dry climates.
Incomplete Eye Closure: Failure to blink regularly or incomplete eyelid closure are common factors in the development of dry eye.
Diet: A diet deficient in vitamin A can result in a decrease in mucus production needed to adhere the tears to the eye.
Refractive Eye Surgery: LASIK and other refractive eye surgeries can decrease tear production and lead to dry eye, due to mechanical trauma to the surface of the eye.
Systemic Diseases: Medical conditions that are commonly associated with dry eye are diabetes, thyroid conditions, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Dry Eye Treatment Options
The treatment for dry eye depends on the severity of the condition and requires a thorough assessment to diagnose the root cause. Our Optometrists specialize in the treatment of chronic dry eye and we will customize a treatment that is specific to your needs.