Diagnosis and Treatment for Dry Eye
Do you find that your eyes are often red and irritated? Do you feel a stinging or burning sensation in your eyes? These are some of the symptoms of dry eye disease, a widespread condition which can cause discomfort or even severe distress, depending on the case. Identifying the root cause of your dry eye is crucial to getting the treatment you need to relieve discomfort. At Southern Eye Centers in Baton Rouge, LA and Plaquemine, LA our skilled eye doctors have the expertise and diagnostic technology to properly diagnose and treat dry eye.
What is dry eye?
Dry eye disease is a chronic and multifactorial condition that occurs when the eyes do not produce enough tears or when the quality of the tears is poor. Tears are essential for maintaining healthy eyes, providing moisture, nourishment, and protection against infection.
What causes dry eye?
The most common reason people develop dry eye is meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). MGD is an inflammatory disorder of the meibomian glands in your eyelids, which produce lipids that coat your tears to prevent them from evaporating too quickly. When these glands become blocked or clogged with oil, it causes dry eye disease.
Other causes of dry eye include:
- Hormonal changes caused by pregnancy, use of oral contraceptives, and menopause
- Certain medications such as antihistamines and decongestants
- Certain diseases and conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome, arthritis, diabetes, or thyroid problems
- Exposure to cold, smoke, and dry climates
- Activities like driving, reading, computer use, or watching TV cause you to blink less often, and blinking less can also cause dry eye.
What are the symptoms of dry eye?
The most obvious symptom of dry eye syndrome is a burning sensation in the eyes. Other symptoms include:
- Stinging or itching eyes
- A scratchy or sandy feeling in your eyes
- Increased sensitivity to light
- Eye pain or redness
- Stringy mucus or discharge from your eyes
- Fluctuating vision
- Although it may seem counterintuitive, watery eyes can be a sign of dry eye disease. When the eyes are dry, they may stimulate an excess production of tears as a protective mechanism, causing watery eyes. This paradoxical response is called reflex tearing and can lead to a cycle of dryness and watering. Additionally, when the eyes are dry, the tear film that covers the eye may be unstable, causing the tears to evaporate too quickly, leading to a sensation of dryness and discomfort. In response, the eyes may produce more tears to try to compensate, resulting in watery eyes.
How is dry eye diagnosed?
During a comprehensive eye exam at Southern Eye Centers, your eye doctor will perform a series of tests to diagnose dry eye disease. Tests may include evaluating your tear quality, volume, evaporation rate, and chemical composition. After the exam, your doctor will develop a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs with the goal of minimizing discomfort and dryness.
Treatment for dry eye disease
Treatment for dry eye depends on the severity of the condition and the underlying cause(s). Dry eye can be temporary or chronic. If your dry eye is chronic, our optometrist can recommend treatments to help you maintain optimal eye health, reduce dryness, and discomfort, and prevent vision impairment.
Common treatments for dry eye include:
- Prescription eye drops to reduce inflammation
- Treating oil glands
- Blinking exercises or proper eyelid hygiene
If an infection is causing your dry eye symptoms, your eye doctor may also prescribe low-dose antibiotics. In more serious cases where other treatments are ineffective, surgery or therapy may be recommended.
At Southern Eye Centers, one of the ways we treat dry eye disease due to meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) is the MiBo Thermoflow treatment.
- The MiBo Thermoflo is a therapeutic medical device providing a safe and effective alternative therapy for dry eyes. It uses a proprietary thermoelectric heat pump to help maximize liquefaction of meibum, thus improving preservation and function of the evaporative component of the tear film.
- The MiBo Thermoflo supplies continuous controlled heat that is applied to the outer skin of the eye lids along with ultrasound gel for a gentle massage. The heat is absorbed deep into the tissue and breaks down the hardened lipids in the meibomian glands.
- With a specific prescribed therapy regimen, the ducts of the meibomian glands will secrete thinner and clearer lipids which will allow for a healthier tear film.
- For best results it’s recommended doing 3 treatments 2 weeks apart. Evaluating the patients after the cycle of treatments they might require a 4th treatment. Most patients have been going 12 months before requiring additional treatments but some request frequent treatments for comfort due to daily eyestrain.
If symptoms of dry eye disease are due to anterior blepharitis, LidPro is the perfect tool and treatment to alleviate symptoms and treat the root cause of the dry eye.
What is blepharitis?
Blepharitis is a common and often chronic condition that causes inflammation of the eyelids. It can affect people of all ages and may result from various factors such as bacterial infections, allergies, or skin conditions. Blepharitis symptoms can include redness, itching, burning, or stinging of the eyes, as well as crusting, scaling, or flaking of the eyelids. It can also cause the eyelashes to become greasy, sticky, or misaligned.
How does LidPro treat blepharitis?
LidPro is a safe and precise in-office procedure that uses a medical-grade silicone disposable textured cleaning disc to exfoliate and remove scruff (infected debris) from the edges of your eyelashes and eyelids. By effectively removing the biofilm along the eyelid margin, LidPro helps address blepharitis (lid inflammation) and dry eye symptoms.
How often should LidPro be performed?
To prevent the recurrence of blepharitis and dry eye disease, it is essential to maintain regular eyelid hygiene. It is recommended that LidPro treatments be administered every 4-6 months to minimize bacterial growth and prevent the buildup of biofilm. If left untreated, the biofilm can quickly develop again, leading to inflammation and damage to the tear glands. Therefore, stopping treatments can result in a return of symptoms, making it crucial to maintain a regular schedule for LidPro treatments.
MiBo Heating Pads
We sell MiBo heating pads at Southern Eye Centers to provide patients with a convenient way to obtain temporary relief from the symptoms of dry eye disease. MiBo heating pads are USB powered infrared heating pads that allow deep heating and improved circulation. They are a perfect at home therapy for temporary relief of dry eyes.
Schedule an appointment at Southern Eye Centers
With proper care from an experienced professional, dry eye disease can be managed effectively so that you can enjoy comfortable vision. If you suffer from dry eye, our experts are here to help you determine the underlying cause and find lasting relief. Schedule an appointment for a comprehensive eye exam at our office today.