What is Dry Eye Disease?
Dry Eye Disease or Meibomian Gland Dysfunction is much more commonly seen than in previous decades. Those that have it know its symptoms well: dryness, watery eyes, itchiness, stinging, burning, grittiness, redness, blurry vision and a foreign body sensation in the eye. The symptoms just don’t seem to go away and are very annoying. More than annoying, dry eyes can also produce chronic eye inflammation, corneal abrasions and corneal ulcers. Patients sometimes come in complaining that they have blurry vision and think they need new glasses when in fact, they have Dry Eye Disease that is disrupting their vision.
Is it a simple problem to fix?
Yes and No. Firstly, it requires an eye doctor to take a careful history, medical review of existing diseases and an eye examination. Correct Diagnosis of the cause is very important as it will dictate what treatments will work and what will not. If a patient has contact lenses that are not fit well, it may be a simple fix to change the contact lens prescription.
How is Dry Eye Disease treated?
Early treatment is the key to preventing irreversible damage to the glands of the eyes. The doctors of Morris Eye Group have a three- prong treatment plan with the goal to not just treat the symptoms but to treat the underlying cause. This necessitates a proper diagnosis of the underlying problem.
Our doctors analyze the patient’s tear film quantity and quality. Are the eye glands producing proper lubrication to the eye or is the lubrication lacking enough essential oils to do the job? If the dry eye is a side-effect of a prescribed medication our doctors work with a patient’s primary care doctor or specialist to find an alternate medication to those that produce dry eyes. If a patient’s Meibomian glands are blocked the doctors prescribe a treatment to unblock them. There is also a home regimen to keep the glands open and a new Omega7 nutritional supplement that promotes the production of the oils that bathe the eye. We always recommend adding UV protection in prescribed eye wear.
What causes Dry Eye Disease?
The causes of Dry Eye Disease are varied and many. Here are the main causes:
Aging, contact lens wear, autoimmune diseases such as Lupus, Sjorgen Syndrome and Thyroid Disease. Many prescribed drugs produce dry eye side-effects. We also know that computer, tablet and smart phone use have added to eye strain from their screen- emitted blue light.
It is more common in females and in those that participate in outdoor sports such as golf, surfing and tennis. Dry Eye may also be due to an occupational exposure to known eye irritants. In some instances, over -the -counter eye drops to clear up red eyes actually make Dry Eye Disease worse.