Are your eyes perpetually red, dry or irritated? You could be one of the millions of Americans affected by dry eye disease. In honor of Dry Eye Awareness Month, which takes place during July, TRES VISION Group answers the most common patient questions about dry eye disease here.
Why does dry eye disease occur?
Dry eye disease occurs when the eyes either do not produce enough tears, or they produce the wrong type of tears. Tears are imperative to eye health, as they help provide a smooth surface for light to pass through, protect the eyes from potentially harmful debris and facilitate easy eyelid movement.
What would affect the eyes’ ability to produce adequate tears?
Many factors can interfere with normal tear production, including the following:
- The natural aging process
- Hormonal fluctuations
- The use of certain medications (e.g., cold medicines, anti-depressants)
- Certain medical conditions (e.g., rheumatoid arthritis, lupus)
- Arid climates
- Windy conditions or high altitudes
- Spending a lot of time on computers
What causes the eyes to produce the wrong type of tears?
Sometimes the eyes produce enough tears, but the tears do not “stick” to the ocular surface long enough to provide the necessary moisture. This is known as evaporative dry eye. These cases happen if the meibomian glands — the glands responsible for producing the oily layer of the tear film — become partially or completely blocked with hardened oil deposits.
What are the warning signs of dry eye?
As the name of the condition suggests, one of the primary warning signs of dry eye is persistent dryness. Other symptoms include redness, irritation, burning and itching. The eyes may feel constantly sore or fatigued. The sensation that something is stuck in the eyes can also indicate dry eyes.
Paradoxically, watery eyes can signal dry eyes. This happens when the eyes overcompensate for the lack of moisture by producing an overabundance of tears.
Who is at an increased risk of getting dry eye?
Dry eye is more common in adults over the age of 50. Women are more likely than men to develop dry eyes, especially those who are pregnant, going through menopause or taking oral contraceptives.
What treatments are available for dry eye disease?
TRES VISION Group offers fast and lasting relief from evaporative dry eye with the LipiFlow Thermal Pulsation System. The 12-minute LipiFlow treatment delivers a combination of gentle heat and pressure to the blocked meibomian glands, restoring a normal flow of oil to the tear film so tears stick to the ocular surface longer. Our LipiFlow patients can enjoy freedom from dry eye symptoms for up to two years.
To learn more about LipiFlow treatment for dry eyes, please contact TRES VISION Group and request a consultation today.