Dry eye disease is a multi-factorial disease that affects an estimated 25 million people in the United States alone. In fact, dry eye disease is one of the most common reasons that people visit their eye care professional.
The increasing prevalence of dry eye disease is precisely why Virginia Eye Consultants became certified by TearLab as an Accredited Dry Eye Center. As an Accredited Dry Eye Center, the staff at Virginia Eye Consultants is dedicated to providing the highest quality of dry eye care by using advanced ophthalmic diagnostic techniques and treatments.
Although a common occurrence, it is important to treat Dry Eye Syndrome as soon as possible and with regular doctor visits to ensure complications or damage to the eye or vision do not occur.
If you believe you have Dry Eye Syndrome, please schedule an appointment with the dry eye doctors at Virginia Eye Consultants in Hampton Roads. Treatment options vary depending on symptoms and severity, so schedule an appointment today for an eye exam and assessment of your options.
What is the Treatment for Dry Eye?
Virginia Eye Consultants is happy to offer the LipiFlow® Thermal Pulsation System, which reduces the need for artificial tears and other prescription dry eye treatments by attending to the cause of evaporative dry eye symptoms, the meibomian glands themselves. Click here to learn more about LipiFlow.
Alternatively, artificial tears are used as eye drops to lubricate the eyes and replace the missing moisture. They may be used as often as necessary, only once or twice a day, or as often as several times per hour. Solid inserts that gradually release lubricants during the day are also beneficial to some patients.
Another approach to keeping the eye moist is conserving your naturally produced tears. Tears leave the eye through tear ducts in both eyelids and go down into the nose. Your dry eye doctor at Virginia Eye Consultants may recommend closing these channels to create a blockage which will keep the eyes moist for longer periods of time.
What is Dry Eye?
Some people do not produce enough tears to keep the eye wet and comfortable. Stinging, burning, scratchiness, stringy mucus, and excess irritation from smoke are usual symptoms. Problems with contact lenses can be caused by dry eyes and make it impossible to wear contact lenses at all.
Surprisingly, increased tearing may be a symptom of dry eyes. If the basic tear secretion is below normal, excess tears are produced by the lacrimal gland in response to irritation. Even though the eye is basically dry, overflow tearing can occur, masking the dryness, which caused them in the first place.
What Causes Dry Eye?
Normally, tear production decreases with age. Dry eyes are more common in women, especially after the age of menopause, but can occur at any age in both men and women. Dry eye can also be associated with arthritis or Sjogren’s syndrome.
The most common cause of dry eye disease is meibomian gland dysfunction. The meibomian glands produce the lipid layer of the tear film, which prevents the premature evaporation of tears. Meibomian gland dysfunction leads to inflammation and bacterial infiltration of the gland, causing blurred vision, eye pain, redness, and swollen eyelids.
Drugs and medication may cause dry eyes by reducing tear secretion. Since these medications are often necessary, the dry eye condition may have to be tolerated or treated with “artificial tears.”
How is Dry Eye Diagnosed?
Often, our doctors are able to diagnose dry eyes by simply examining the eyes. Sometimes tests to measure tear production are necessary
One of the latest devices in dry eye technology is the TearLab Osmolarity System. By using the TearLab, the dry eye doctors at Virginia Eye Consultants can quickly and painlessly measure a small sample of your tears to determine how dry they truly are.
Using just a nanoliter of tear fluid, the osmolarity data that the TearLab gathers allows patients to understand their “level” of disease. Your unique tear number will also allow your doctor to decipher the best means of treatment for you.
Learn More Today
We invite you to call and learn more about dry eye treatments and procedures. Click here or Call 1 (800) 321-EYES (3937) now to schedule your consultation with one of our surgeons and learn about your options to treat dry eye.