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Archive for the ‘Dry Eye’ Category

Dry Eye Syndrome

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

The health of your eyes can greatly affect your overall quality of life. Discomfort, irritation, and watery eyes can make it difficult to work or enjoy everyday activities. If your eyes are constantly stinging or tearing, you may be suffering from dry eye syndrome. At Beach Eye Medical Group in Huntington Beach, California we specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of range of eye and vision disorders, including dry eye syndrome.

What is Dry Eye Syndrome?
Dry Eye Syndrome is a condition that occurs when our eyes fail to keep themselves adequately lubricated, whether due to an inability to produce enough tears or when those tears evaporate too quickly. It’s estimated that millions of Americans are affected by this condition. In most cases, symptoms are acute and relatively mild – typically soreness, redness, and irritation. However, in more serious cases, dry eyes can be chronic and result in severe pain and/or vision loss.

Symptoms
Common symptoms associated with dry eye include:

  • blurred vision, sensitivity to light, and full vision loss in extreme cases
  • irritation (scratchiness or the feeling of something in the eye) and redness
  • pain and/or burning
  • alternations between dryness and watery eyes (as your system tries to flush out perceived irritants)

Causes
There can be many causes of dry eye. Environmental factors such as wind, dust, sand, smoke, and other pollutants in the air can contribute to eye irritation, but an underlying medical condition may also be a factor. Dry eye syndrome can arise due to:

  • prolonged time focusing (ie. books and computer screens)
  • allergies
  • rosacea
  • autoimmune disorders
  • hormonal changes during pregnancy, menstruation, and menopause
  • laser-eye surgery and overuse of contact lens
  • side effects from medication
  • genetic predispositions

Diagnosis and Treatment
First and foremost, a proper diagnosis of your eye problem is essential. During your appointment at Beach Eye Medical Group, one of our doctors will perform a comprehensive eye exam and review your symptoms. Next, tests can be performed to measure your tear production, as well as the quality of your tears.

Due to different potential underlying causes, treatments can vary. To help alleviate symptoms, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes–such as less screen time, healthier living, or air filters/humidifiers–or prescribe therapeutic remedies, such as artificial tears or prescription eye drops (eg. cyclosporine). In some cases, punctal plugs, or tear duct plugs, may be inserted. A punctal plug is a small silicone device that can be placed in the tear duct to help conserve lubrication.

Why Choose Beach Eye?
If you experience dry eye symptoms, and they continue to persist, it’s important that you speak to an ophthalmologist or optometrist as soon as possible.

At the Beach Eye Medical Group in Huntington Beach, our priority is to provide our patients with the best care available for eye disorders. Having served the residents of Southern California for over 35 years, along with decades of combined experience, our medical team is committed to bringing the forefront of modern medical technology to our practice.

Who is likely to develop Dry Eye?

Monday, March 21st, 2016

Who is likely to develop Dry Eye?

Elderly people frequently experience dryness of the eyes, but Dry Eye can occur at any age. Nearly five million Americans 50 years of age and older are estimated to have Dry Eye. Of these, more than three million are women and more than one and a half million are men. Tens of millions more have less severe symptoms. Dry Eye is more common after menopause. Women who experience menopause prematurely are more likely to have eye surface damage from Dry Eye.

 

Treatment

How is Dry Eye treated?

Depending on the causes of Dry Eye, your doctor may use various approaches to relieve the symptoms.
Dry Eye can be managed as an ongoing condition. The first priority is to determine if a disease is the underlying cause of the Dry Eye (such as Sjögren’s syndrome or lacrimal and meibomian gland dysfunction). If it is, then the underlying disease needs to be treated.
Cyclosporine, an anti-inflammatory medication, is the only prescription drug available to treat Dry Eye. It decreases corneal damage, increases basic tear production, and reduces symptoms of Dry Eye. It may take three to six months of twice-a-day dosages for the medication to work. In some cases of severe Dry Eye, short term use of corticosteroid eye drops that decrease inflammation is required.
If Dry Eye results from taking a medication, your doctor may recommend switching to a medication that does not cause the Dry Eye side effect.
If contact lens wear is the problem, your eye care practitioner may recommend another type of lens or reducing the number of hours you wear your lenses. In the case of severe Dry Eye, your eye care professional may advise you not to wear contact lenses at all.
Another option is to plug the drainage holes, small circular openings at the inner corners of the eyelids where tears drain from the eye into the nose. Lacrimal plugs, also called punctal plugs, can be inserted painlessly by an eye care professional. The patient usually does not feel them. These plugs are made of silicone or collagen, are reversible, and are a temporary measure. In severe cases, permanent plugs may be considered.
In some cases, a simple surgery, called punctal cautery, is recommended to permanently close the drainage holes. The procedure helps keep the limited volume of tears on the eye for a longer period of time.
In some patients with Dry Eye, supplements or dietary sources (such as tuna fish) of omega-3 fatty acids (especially DHA and EPA) may decrease symptoms of irritation. The use and dosage of nutritional supplements and vitamins should be discussed with your primary medical doctor.

 

What can I do to help myself?

  • Use artificial tears, gels, gel inserts, and ointments – available over the counter – as the first line of therapy. They offer temporary relief and provide an important replacement of naturally produced tears in patients with aqueous tear deficiency. Avoid artificial tears with preservatives if you need to apply them more than four times a day or preparations with chemicals that cause blood vessels to constrict.
  • Wearing glasses or sunglasses that fit close to the face (wrap around shades) or that have side shields can help slow tear evaporation from the eye surfaces. Indoors, an air cleaner to filter dust and other particles helps prevent Dry Eyes. A humidifier also may help by adding moisture to the air.
  • Avoid dry conditions and allow your eyes to rest when performing activities that require you to use your eyes for long periods of time. Instill lubricating eye drops while performing these tasks.