Dry Eye Disease
As part of your eye exam, we screen for signs and symptoms of dry eye disease. Dry eye disease is often used to describe multiple different conditions that can contribute to eye discomfort—these include poor function of the lubricating oil glands (called meibomian glands), decreased tear production, ocular inflammation, crusty eye lashes (called blepharatis), allergic dry eye, and even poor blinking. At Professional Eyecare we have the tools and technology for in depth dry eye analysis that can offer relief, healing, and preventative treatments to our patients.
Dry Eye Disease is a progressive condition that can result in eye discomfort, dryness, changing vision through the day, and blurred vision.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Dry Eye Disease?
Dryness, grittiness, sandiness
Burning or stinging
Light sensitivity and glare
Decreased wear time in contact lenses or inability to wear contacts
Dry eye disease can also be present with NO symptoms!
What Causes Dry Eye?
Dry eye disease is often the result of many factors that can lead to unstable tear film. Various parts of the eye contribute to the tear film: oil glands form the top most layer of the tears, the tear gland produces the watery layer of the tears, and cells on the surface of the eye produce a sticky mucin layer of the tears. If any of these factors are not functioning well, the tears no longer can protect the front of the eye—this often leads to symptoms of discomfort or fluctuating vision. Additionally, activities such as reading or computer use, allergies, and wind can add to unstable tears and make symptoms worse.
Dry Eye Treatment Options
Drs. Springston, Troutman, and Fischer use the latest diagnostic equipment and tools to quickly and accurately identify causes that are contributing to the type of dry eye you may be experiencing. We provide custom treatment plans designed to maximize the relief of your dry eye symptoms, and treat the underlying cause, abd prevent further progression of the disease. Below are a few of the many specialized dry eye treatments we offer at Professional Eyecare:
LipiFlow is the gold standard for treating meibomian gland dysfunction, the leading cause of dry eye. The LipiFlow works by applying to the inner eyelids and gentle pulsating pressure to massage out the blockages. This process stimulates the glands to produce healthier, thinner oils to coat and protect the front of the eye. This procedure helps maximize meibomian gland function and to keep the glands health.
Prokera is a cryopreserved amniotic membrane formed into a ring that is placed on the eye like a contact lens. It can be used for many different conditions including corneal abrasions, herpectic ulcers, recurrent corneal erosions, keratitis, chronic dry eyes and more. For this discussion we will stick with dry eyes and how the Prokera can help treat it.
The Prokera is placed in one eye at a time by your eye doctor and it can remain in your eye for one to two weeks. The length of time depends upon the severity of the dry eye. It helps your eyes through the amniotic membranes healing properties. The amniotic membrane has anti-inflammatory properties along with regenerative properties to grow new healthy cells. This will increase the eye’s ability to heal faster and also reduce pain. Basically the corneal cells that have been affected by chronic dry eye can heal and regenerate to better, healthier cells. You can still use eye drops while the Prokera is in your eye. In some cases the eye doctor will put tape on the upper lid to prevent the Prokera from coming out. Your eye doctor will have you back to remove the Prokera once the amniotic cells have a chance to contour to your eye and typically all that will remain is the ring. The amniotic cells are different from stem cells as amniotic cells are taken after pregnancy naturally and there is no harm done to anyone to get these cells.
AB Max Procedure
The AB Max is an in-office procedure that allows your eye doctor to treat blepharitis and exfoliate the eyelids to remove a buildup of excess skin and tear debris called biofilm. With AB Max, your doctor will thoroughly eliminate debris that has built up along the eyelid margin, which contribute to lid disease like blepharitis. Treatments are typically repeated at regular intervals depending on the severity of your disease.
Sometimes it is necessary to close the ducts that drain the tears in order to treat symptoms of dry eye. These tiny plugs can be inserted to keep the tears on the eye longer.
Temporary plugs can be inserted into the tear drain of the lower eyelid to determine if this helps provide adequate tears. These plugs can be removable or dissolvable within a few days to a few months.
If the temporary plugs work well, our doctors may suggest permanent (yet removable) plugs.
In most cases, tear duct plugs do not treat the cause of dry eye disease, but they can help improve vision and comfort. Other treatments are often needed simultaneously when using punctal plugs.