An introduction to dry eye disease
- Dry eye disease is a chronic condition caused by a lack of sufficient lubrication of the eye
- When left untreated it can result in ongoing eye irritation, inflammation and even scarring
- Dry eye disease symptoms include redness, itchiness, irritation, eye fatigue, blurred vision, light sensitivity, tearing and more
- Causes of dry eye disease include computer use, contact lens wear, aging, menopause, environment, smoking, health conditions, medications and eyelid problems
- Treatment for dry eyes can consist of the use of artificial tears, prescription eye medications and in-office procedures using Lipiflow
How dry eye symptoms can impact your life
Living with dry eye disease can have a negative impact on your life, affecting your vision as well as causing many uncomfortable symptoms, including:
- A constant burning sensation
- Endless itchiness
- A heavy, tired feeling of the eyes
- Discomfort when blinking
- Unattractive redness
- Sensitivity to light
- Blurred, distorted vision
- Foreign body sensation
- Excessive tearing
- Inflammation on the eye surface
These symptoms can affect your day to day living, making it difficult to see when sudden blurriness occurs. The ongoing discomfort and self-consciousness often caused by constant red eye can also add stress to your life.
What causes dry eye disease?
Dry eye disease occurs when your eyes do not produce sufficient lubrication. The eyes require a consistent layer of tears on the surface to keep your eyes comfortable and to maintain clear vision and health. Your tears bathe the surface of the eyes with moisture to help wash away debris as well as microorganisms that can be damaging to the cornea or lead to infection.
If your tears do not have the following components, it can lead to dry eye disease:
- Oily (lipid) substance produced by meibomian glands in the eyelids.
- Watery (aqueous) fluid produced by lacrimal glands located behind the outer aspect of the upper eyelids.
- A mucous-like (mucin) texture produced by goblet cells in the conjunctiva that covers the white of the eye (sclera).
When any of these sources are not functioning properly, it can cause tear instability and dry eyes. The cause of dry eye disease is based on the component affected. The dry eye categories include:
- Evaporative dry eye disease: This is caused when the meibomian glands don’t produce or secrete enough oil (meibum) which results in the tear film evaporating quickly. The underlying condition is meibomian gland dysfunction (MGB).
- Aqueous deficiency dry eye disease: This is caused when there is not enough watery fluid produced by the lacrimal glands, which means the eyes are not kept moist enough.
There are many contributing factors associated with dry eye disease, including:
- Computer use and handheld devices decrease blinking which allows tears to evaporate more quickly
- Contact lenses can contribute to dry eye problems
- Those over the age of 50 are more likely to have dry eye disease, especially in post-menopausal women
- Your environment can contribute to dry eye whether it is the indoor environment from things such as air conditioning, heating and fans, or outdoors due to wind, and allergens
- Smoking is linked to dry eye disease as well as macular degeneration, cataracts and uveitis
- Some health conditions cause dry eye disease including diabetes, thyroid-associated diseases, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and Sjogren’s syndrome
- Some medications can cause dry eye disease, including antihistamines, antidepressants, certain blood pressure medications and birth control pills
- Issues with blinking or closing your eyelids can cause severe dry eye
- Some surgical procedures cause dry eye during recovery
Dry eye disease can be relieved or reduced by avoiding some of these contributing factors. However, in the case of things such as age, medications and health conditions this is not possible.
You can have a dry eye examination in Toronto
An ophthalmologist (eye surgeon) or optometrist (eye doctor) can diagnose dry eye by conducting a comprehensive eye exam that includes the diagnosis of meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). Technology allows for a non-invasive quick way to examine eyes for MGD using LipiScan. This tool allows doctors to easily view the health of your meibomian glands in high definition and make a rapid diagnosis of dry eye caused by MGD.
The tool uses dynamic surface illumination and adaptive transillumination technologies, providing your doctor with a multidimensional image of your glands ideal for analysis. This allows your doctor to identify the cause of dry eye quickly, painlessly and accurately.
Dry eye disease treatment details
For mild cases of dry eye disease, you can use over the counter artificial tears. Prescriptions are also available; however, the ongoing use of artificial tears does not treat dry eye disease. Instead, drops and medications simply provide relief from the symptoms of dry eye disease.
Lipiflow can be used to treat dry eye caused by meibomian gland dysfunction. It treats the meibomian glands safely and gently using massage and heat to stimulate and improve meibomian gland secretions.
Patients love this “dropless” treatment as it helps avoid the ongoing use of daily eye drops that do not always provide enough relief from the many symptoms of dry eye disease. LipiFlow is a painless, and easy treatment can be repeated should symptoms return.
You will be given numbing eye drops to keep you comfortable during the treatment. The contoured eyepiece is placed over your cornea, and during the process, the ocular structure is completely safe and protected. LipiFlow applies therapeutic regulated heat and peristaltic energy pressure to enhance the quality of meibomian gland secretions. You will not require medications, and it is safely performed without discomfort.
If you are suffering from dry eye disease and considering LASIK vision surgery, we recommend a dry eye evaluation. Dry eye disease can interfere with the success of your LASIK surgery; therefore, we often perform Lipiflow treatments prior to vision correction procedures.
Schedule an exam
Dry eye disease can only be diagnosed by a doctor. If you are suffering from symptoms of a dry eye take the first step towards great natural vision. Call us on 416-445-8439 or click to book an appointment:
Dear Dr. Kranemann, Many thanks in the nice, smooth and trouble free cataract surgery you carried out on both my eyes at Clearview Institute. I would like also to extend my thanks to all the staff of clearview. They are efficient, kind hearted and very helpful.
Dr. Kranemann is exceptionally intelligent and experienced. He is passionate about achieving perfect results for his patients, and proved it by correcting my father’s vision perfectly. We are very happy and grateful and highly recommend Dr. Kranemann.
Had the new vision correction procedure SMILE. WOW is all I can say. Life without glasses is amazing. Great surgeon and medical staff. Will refer his expertise on to family and friends.