Dry Eye Center
Dry? Watery? Itchy? Sandy? Red? Crusty and Swollen? These are all ways that patients have described their eyes when they have either Dry Eye Syndrome or other serious eyelid or eyelash conditions. Many of these conditions develop from bacterial infections on the lid margin or problems with the eyelid’s Meibomian glands.
Diagnosis and Treatment for Dry Eye Disease
Conditions like dry eye syndrome can lead to frequent discomfort and pain but there are solutions. At The Eye Center, we can not only diagnose dry eye but also provide dry eye care in Pembroke Pines so you no longer have to live with discomfort.
Dry Eye Explained
Dry eye is just what it sounds like. It is a condition where the eyes do not have enough lubrication and consequently may feel scratchy or grainy. Dry eye syndrome is typically a result of low tear production or poor tear quality and can lead to more serious problems like damage to the eye surface or eye infections. While a common condition, some people do not realize that what they are struggling with is dry eye or that there are solutions available, and they do not need to feel this way.
What Causes Dry Eye Disease?
There are many different reasons people can develop dry eye disease, and it’s important to understand the underlying causes for your dry eye so that you can get the treatment you need.
Meibomian gland dysfunction
Meibomian gland dysfunction is one of the top reasons people develop dry eye disease. It is a condition in which the meibomian glands, located in the eyelids, become clogged or blocked. These glands produce an oily substance that helps to lubricate the eye and prevent tear evaporation. When these glands become blocked, the production of this oily substance is reduced or stopped, leading to an imbalance in the tear film and dry eye symptoms.
Symptoms of MGD can include eye discomfort, redness, a feeling of grittiness, and a sensation of burning or stinging. In severe cases, MGD can also lead to thickened, irregular eyelid margins and meibomian cyst (chalazion) formation.
Blepharitis is a condition in which the eyelids become inflamed. It can cause a variety of symptoms including redness, itching, burning, and a feeling of grittiness in the eyes. It can also cause the eyelashes to become matted or to turn inward, which can lead to irritation and even infection.
Other Underlying Causes for Dry Eye Disease
- Certain medical conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and Sjogren’s syndrome, can lead to dry eye disease.
- Certain medications, such as antihistamines and antidepressants, can also cause dry eyes as a side effect.
- Environmental factors, such as wind, sun, and air conditioning can also contribute to dry eyes.
- People who spend long hours in front of a computer screen or other digital devices may experience dry eye symptoms as the blink rate decreases.
- Some ingredients in cosmetics can be irritating to the eyes, leading to dryness, redness, and itching. These ingredients include preservatives, fragrances, and certain types of dyes. For example, eye makeup, such as mascara and eyeliner, can contain ingredients that can cause irritation and dryness, especially if the makeup is worn for long periods of time.
- One of the possible causes of blepharitis and dry eye disease is an infestation of tiny mites called Demodex. These mites are normally found on human skin, but when they occur in large numbers on the eyelashes, they can cause inflammation of the eyelids, leading to symptoms such as redness, itching, and a feeling of grittiness in the eyes. This inflammation can also cause damage to the oil glands in the eyelids, which can lead to dry eye disease.
Signs You Need Dry Eye Treatment
Ranging from mild to chronic, millions of people suffer from dry eye, but many may not realize it.
You may need dry eye treatment if you suffer from:
- Teary eyes and constant irritation
- Red or bloodshot eyes
- Burning or stinging sensation of your eyes
- Blurry vision
- Irritation while wearing contacts
- A scratchy or grainy feeling on your eye
- Feeling that something is stuck in the eye
- Stringy mucus around the eyeball
While these symptoms may alert you to a problem, the best way to diagnose dry eye is to get a comprehensive eye exam.
Diagnosing Dry Eye Syndrome
A thorough exam with one of our eye doctors will allow us to understand the full scope of your eye health and start creating the best treatment for dry eyes for your unique needs.
During this exam, you will complete a variety of tests so that our doctors can determine both your basic vision and eye health needs. If we suspect you may benefit from dry eye syndrome treatment, we may conduct more specified tests to examine the severity of the condition. These tests typically involve a closer look at your tears as well as assessing any damage already done to your eye surface. Once these tests are complete and your doctor has diagnosed you with dry eye, they will start formulating recommendations for your dry eye treatment plan.
Help for Dry Eye in Pembroke Pines
Everyone is unique so your treatment for dry eye should match your specific needs. Our doctors will work with you to find a dry eye solution that is best for you. Also, because your condition can change over time, we will monitor your case and update your dry eye treatment as needed.
Some potential dry eye treatments we may recommend include:
- Eye drops
- Prescription medications
- Tear duct plugs
- Plastic surgery
- Lifestyle changes
We also now provide specialized treatment for dry eye disease in our office.
OptiLight by Lumenis
OptiLight is a light-based treatment that uses precise, intense broad-spectrum light to address signs of dry eye disease due to meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD).
MGD is the most common cause of dry eye disease, accounting for about 86% of cases. The treatment addresses inflammation, which is one of the key underlying factors in MGD. OptiLight was specifically developed to reach the delicate contours of the treated area safely, effectively, and gently using the OPT™ technology. It is intended for use in patients who are at least 22 years old, together with other available treatments, such as Meibomian gland expression, artificial tear lubricants, and warm compresses.
Lumenis’ patented technology OPT™ (Optimal Pulse Technology) transforms the use of light and allows targeted, uniform, precise, and controlled treatment. Specifically designed for the delicate area below the eye, OPT™ safely and effectively breaks the vicious cycle of inflammation associated with dry eye.
Treatment protocol typically consists of 4 sessions, at 2 to 4 weeks apart:
- During treatment, your practitioner will cover your eyes with shields and apply a thin layer of coupling gel on the treatment area.
- During treatment, light is applied on the skin below the eyes, most patients report minimal discomfort.
- OptiLight is followed by meibomian gland expression.
- Each session takes only 10-15 minutes. There is no downtime, you can resume your daily activities immediately.
If you are experiencing eye discomfort, do not wait any longer to get help or get a diagnosis. Our dry eye treatment in Pembroke Pines can help you move past this discomfort and manage your dry eye.