Dry Eye is a very common condition that can affect everyone at some point during his or her life. Mild cases can be managed with natural tears while more severe cases may require additional treatment. Dry Eye is a reduction in the ability of your eyes’ natural ability to produce sufficient natural tears. Tears serve to lubricate the eye and are produced around the clock. When insufficient moisture is produced, stinging, burning, scratchiness and other symptoms are experienced and may be referred to as Dry Eye.
Many people will experience Dry Eye at some point in their lives. When we blink, tears form a film that spreads over the eye, making the surface smooth, optically clear and enabling good vision. There are three layers in the thin film of tears: an oily layer, a watery layer and a layer of mucus, each with specific function.
Small glands at the edge of the eyelid called meibomian glands produce the outermost oily layer. Its main purpose is to smooth the tear surface and reduce evaporation.
The middle watery layer is produced by small glands scattered through the conjunctiva, the delicate membrane lining the inside of the eyelid, and by the large lacrimal or tear glands. This layer cleanses the eye and washes away foreign particles or irritants.
The innermost layer consists of mucus that allows the watery layer to spread evenly over the surface of the eye. Without mucus, tears would not adhere to the eye.
Causes of Dry Eye
Dry Eye is often caused by environmental factors such as indoor heating or air conditioning, it can be caused by occupational factors such as prolonged computer use. Dry Eye is caused when the tear gland produces insufficient tears. This can happen as part of the normal aging process but may not always be noticed because the effect of Dry Eye tends to balance another age-related change; poor tear drainage. Dry Eye is also more common among women.
The following are some precautions you can take to prevent or minimize Dry Eye:
- Avoid drafts from heating or air conditioning vents, especially in cars or airplanes.
- Take frequent breaks to relieve eye strain during periods of prolonged computer use.
- Remove your contact lenses and keep them especially clean when your eyes are feeling dry.
- After LASIK surgery, use artificial tears to soothe and comfort your eyes during recovery.
- Be aware that certain over the counter medications and prescription drugs can contribute to Dry Eye.
- Know that natural changes in tear production and composition often occur due to age or disease.
Treatments for Dry Eyes
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Treatment for Dry Eyes
VisionPoint Eye Center is pleased to offer a new treatment for patients suffering from chronic dry eye disease and facial Rosacea. Based on your eye health history, Intense Pulsed Light treatment (IPL) may be an option to relieve your symptoms.
IPL treatment for dry eye utilizes gentle pulses of light to liquefy and release hardened oils that have clogged meibomian glands in the eyelids. IPL also treats vascularization and inflammation of the eyelids, reducing eyelid redness and stimulating healthy gland function.
In addition to effectively treating the underlying causes of chronic dry eye, there are also many cosmetic benefits for the facial skin. IPL Photofacial treatments consistently and predictably improve the texture, tone and color of the skin with little to no down time. IPL also stimulates the growth of collagen, decreases pore size and gives skin a youthful appearance. IPL is the use of intense pulses of non-coherent light distributed over a range of wavelengths; from 500 nm to 1200nm. If you are interested in learning more about this treatment contact us or call 309.662.7700.
VisionPoint Eye Center Doctors recommend a three-part treatment to improve eye health in patients with dry eye and other ocular surface disease.
- Use Bruder mask twice a day. Simply warm mask in the microwave for 20 seconds testing temperature before applying to eyes. Do not apply too tightly. Apply for 8-10 minutes over closed eyes. The Buder mask is recommended over masks with silica gel beads, gel or grains. The silver infused beads, used in the Bruder masks, absorb moisture in the center of the bead resulting in even, extended moist heat. Clean, moist heat helps to soften the oil produced in eyelid glands that can sometimes overproduce or get clogged.
- Use OCuSOFT Lid Scrub twice a day following Bruder mask application. Pump a small amount of cleanser onto a pad and gently rub lid back and forth. Do not touch the eye directly. Rinse thoroughly and repeat for the other lid. These scrubs clean all excess oil, debris and other contaminants associated with eyelid irritations.
- Use Refresh Plus by putting one drop in each eye four times a day or more depending on symptoms and according to your doctor’s instructions. These drops instantly moisturize to provide immediate relief for dry irritated eyes.
For convenience, VisionPoint offers a Treatment Kit that includes a Bruder mask, OCuSOFT Lid Scrub (50ml and 100 pads), Refresh Plus (30 single use containers) for a courtesy price of $40.