What is Dry Eye Disease?
Dry eye disease describes when your tears aren’t hydrating your eyes. In some cases, you don’t produce enough tears, while in other cases, your tears evaporate too quickly to do their job, leaving you with eyes that are excessively watery but not actually hydrated.
As a result of this condition, your eyes can feel dry, gritty, red, and painful, and require attention from a dry eye specialist for effective healing and relief. When left untreated, dry eye can affect vision and even cause surface-level eye injuries — the tear film, after all, helps protect the eye from irritants.
The Types of Dry Eye
Dry eye disease generally occurs when the tears are missing one of their key components: water, oil, or mucus. For example, evaporative dry eye describes when tears evaporate too quickly because they lack sufficient oil, and aqueous dry eye refers to when the eye doesn’t have enough water to produce tears.
But dry eye can also occur because of a lack of mucus in the tears, insufficient vitamins and nutrients, or any combination of these issues. Our dry eye specialists use their state-of-the-art equipment and expertise to determine which type(s) you may be dealing with, and how to approach your treatment.
What Causes Dry Eye Disease?
The most common cause of dry eye is Meibomian Gland Disease (MGD) or a similar issue with the eyelid’s meibomian glands, which produce oil for tears. However, there are many potential causes: if any of the primary components of tears are lacking, or even certain nutrients, dry eye can occur.
Some risk factors are out of your control, such as being over 50, being pregnant or menopausal, or having recently had eye surgery. Risk factors that you can control include changing your contact lens wear, reducing screen time, avoiding contaminated air, and addressing other eye conditions.
Dry Eye Disease Diagnosis & Treatment at Elite Vision Care
At Elite Vision Care, we start with a complete evaluation of your eyes to diagnose the root cause(s) of your particular dry eye. Our top-of-the-line equipment helps us catch all potential underlying causes by examining your cornea, tear ducts, eyelids, and oil glands. We also have a TearLab on site to test tear osmolarity, one of the most trusted assessments of dry eye disease available today.
We use everything we learn about your eyes, and lifestyle, to put together a personalized dry eye management plan for you. These plans often use a combination of the following treatments:
- Eye Drops &
- Vitamins &
- Lid Scrubs & Eyelid
- Meibomian Gland
Eye Drops & Artificial Tears
Some of our go-to solutions for dry eye disease are eye drops and artificial tears that can supplement your natural tears for immediate but temporary relief. Most treatment plans involve at least one of our frequently-recommended drops in combination with other solutions.
Vitamins & Nutraceuticals
There are often vitamins, minerals, or other nutrients missing from your diet that are exacerbating your dry eye. For example, Vitamin A and Vitamin D deficiencies have been repeatedly linked to dry eye. We frequently recommend a supplement to make sure your tears get the nutrients they need.
Lid Scrubs & Eyelid Dandruff Cleaning
Gentle foams and dandruff cleaners designed to keep your eyelids clear are commonly used to treat MGD and blepharitis, meaning they can also help treat dry eye by removing irritants and getting the oil glands in your eyelids to begin flowing again. We can clean these areas in our office and show you how to maintain their hygiene at home.
Meibomian Gland Expression
Commonly performed in-office with your dry eye specialist, expressing oil out of your eyelids is a simple yet highly-effective solution for evaporative dry eye. By unclogging the meibomian glands, we can get oil flowing to your tears again for effective treatment of the underlying problem. It doesn’t hurt that many of our patients find this treatment very relaxing, like a spa day for your eyelids!
Dry eye disease can require specific treatments and upkeep to keep the irritation at bay, so if you suspect that you’re in need of dry eye treatment, don’t wait. Schedule an appointment online so that the dry eye specialists at Elite Vision Care can get started helping you today!