At Whitby Vision Care, we are committed to helping you find relief from your dry eye symptoms.
Naturally, your eyes produce tears to keep your eyes lubricated. Dry Eye Syndrome (DES) occurs when your eyes don’t produce enough good quality tears to keep your eyes hydrated and moist. Side effects range from minor irritation to the inability to tolerate contact lenses and an increased risk of corneal inflammation, eye infections and other vision problems.
WHAT ARE TEARS MADE OF?
Your natural tears have a similar composition and structure to saliva. They are made up of water, fatty oils, salt and many different proteins. There are three distinct layers to the natural tear film. They are:
- Mucous Layer – this layer keeps the tears on the eye
- Aqueous Layer – this layer flushes away bacteria and protects the cornea
- Lipid (oily) Layer – this layer prevents the tears from evaporating too quickly
If your tears don’t have the right combination of these layers, it can result in dry eye symptoms.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF DRY EYE
Dry eye normally affects both eyes. If you are experiencing these symptoms, you may have dry eye. Call our doctors to help manage and treat your dry eye disease.
- stinging, burning sensation in the eyes
- gritty or sandy feeling (foreign body sensation)
- increased sensitivity to light
- eye redness
- discomfort or intolerance to contact lenses
- excessive tearing
- blurred or fluctuation vision with blinks
WHAT CAUSES DRY EYES?
In DES, the tear glands that moisturize the eyes don’t produce enough tears, or the tears have an altered chemical composition that causes them to evaporate too quickly on the eye. There are several causes that lead to dry eye:
- as part of the natural aging process
- side effect of many medications (antihistamines, antidepressants, blood pressure medications, birth control pills, Parkinson’s’ medications.
- dry, dusty, windy environment or a low humidity in air.
- in office/home air conditioning or dry heating system.
- insufficient blinking/incomplete blinks
- excessive staring at a computer screen (we often forget to blink because are working so hard!)
- certain systemic diseases (lupus, rheumatoid, rosacea, Sjogren’s syndrome.
- incomplete lid closure
- poor nutrition/diet
DRY EYE THERAPY
Dry eye is an inflammatory condition. Dry eye syndrome is a chronic condition that some treatments may be unable to cure. Often the goal of treatment is to manage the symptoms itself. There are various dry eye services, therapies and products we can use to help find you relief. Whitby Vision Care is committed to helping you find relief from dry eye symtpoms.
Artificial tears are lubricating drops that can alleviate the scratchy foreign body feeling throughout the day. Certain medical-grade (prescribed) drops can also help increase your own natural tear production.
Various vitamins and minerals can help promote tear production and reduce your dry eye feeling. Adding certain things into your diet such as foods rich in vitamin A, D, and omega 3 fatty acids can help reduce symptoms.
If your dry eye disease is caused by meibomian gland dysfunction, your doctor may recommend warm compresses, such as the Bruder mask, or an in office procedure to clear the blocked glands and restore normal function.
This is an in-office treatment that is performed by our optometrist and certified staff. The meibomian gland blockages and eyelid inflammation associated with a condition called blepharitis often comes from a bacteria and crust developing at the base of the lashes along your lids. Blepharitis and dry eye are closely associated, and so BlephEX is often used as a treatment for dry eye, as well as blepharitis. This treatment will help remove blockages from the meibomian glands, which alter the tear quality and result in dry eye symptoms.
DON’T IGNORE YOUR SYMPTOMS
Whether its chronic back pain or itchy and irritated eyes, you should never just dismiss any reoccurring symptom as a part of your reality. Be sure to bring up what your experiencing with one of our doctors. There are many treatment options that are available to alleviate your symptoms.