Many people, whether they are aware of it or not, suffer from dry eyes. Dry eye syndrome (DES) is one of the most common yet most under diagnosed conditions affecting the health of the eye. We are learning now that the complex nature of dry eye can begin as young as 10 or 11 years old and continues throughout a patient’s life.
Dry eye syndrome causes more than just discomfort; it can result in permanent damage to the cornea, vision loss, and other problems. It can also be a symptom of an underlying medical condition. For these reasons and more, we at Center For Sight, take dry eye very seriously and you should too.
Types of Dry Eye Syndrome
Tears are comprised of 3 layers: lipid (oil), water and mucus. The composition of these components is what helps to protect and nourish the surface of our eyes. The lipid or oil layer prevents the evaporation of the water layer. The mucus layer helps spread the tears evenly over the eye surface. When these layers are not functioning properly, the tears can either evaporate too rapidly or they do not reach the entire eye surface, which will then case the symptoms of dry eyes.
There are two predominant forms of dry eye, aqueous and evaporative.
Aqueous Dry Eye
Aqueous dry eye is characterized by tear deficiency. It occurs when the lacrimal, or water producing glands don’t produce enough of the watery component of tears. Patients with aqueous dry eye are normally good candidates for Restasis®.
Evaporative Dry Eye
Evaporative dry eye affects 85% of dry eye patients. It is caused by Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), which creates a deficiency in the oil layer of the tear film. These glands make the lipid or oily part of tears that slows evaporation and keeps the tears stable. This can be the beginning of other dry eye disease problems including damage to the cornea and sight-related issues.
-23 million suffers live in the U.S.
-$3.8 billion is spent annually on treatment
-Dry eye affects 30% of individuals over 50
-Dry eye increases with the use of computers and mobile devices
-Excessive tearing or discharge
-Sensitivity to light
-Gritty feeling or foreign body sensation
-Burning, stinging or itching
-Intermittent vision disturbance
Diagnosing Dry Eye Syndrome
Dry eye symptoms can be very subtle, patients often go under diagnosed or under treated. At Center For Sight, we utilize a multi-faceted approach to diagnosing dry eye syndrome. We combine patient self-assessment, physician administered testing and state-of-the art diagnostic technology to determine the cause, severity and best treatment protocol for each patients dry eye condition. Your diagnostic process may include:
- SPEED™ Dry Eye Questionnaire
- Osmolarity Testing (Tear Lab)
- Lipid Layer Testing (Lipid View)
- Blinking Pattern Evaluations (LipiView)
- In-Office testing for Sjogren’s syndrome, if indicated
- InflammaDry® Testing
If you’re suffering from the symptoms of dry eye syndrome, there are treatment options available. A painless, in-office procedure called LipiFlow is available at Center For Sight for the treatment of dry eye syndrome. Contact Center For Sight at one of our locations in Watertown, Lowville, Gouverneur, and Ogdensburg to schedule an exam and learn more about your treatment options.