Diagnosis and Treatment for Dry Eye
Dr. James Barton at Ensight Eyecare has the expertise and advanced technology to diagnose and treat dry eye disease and helps people who are suffering from the symptoms caused by dry eye disease find relief.
What is Dry Eye?
Dry eye disease is a condition in which there aren’t enough quality tears being produced to lubricate and nourish the eyes. Over 100 million people worldwide suffer from dry eye, and women are affected by dry eye 50% more than men.
Tears help maintain eye health and keep vision clear. Tears provide lubrication, reduce the risk of eye infection, wash away foreign matter in the eye and keep the surface of the eyes smooth and clear. When tear production and drainage is out of balance, dry eyes can occur.
The tears are made of three components:
- lipid (oil layer to prevent the tears from evaporating),
- aqueous (water and nutrients),
- and mucin (to spread the tear film evenly and stabilize tears).
Any decrease in the quality or the quantity of any of the three components will lead to dry eyes. In the past, it was thought that dry eye was primarily due to a lack of watery tears produced by the lacrimal gland above the eye. In the last few years, the complexity of the tear film and ocular surface has become increasingly apparent.
Dry eye is categorized into two distinct groups:
- Aqueous deficiency dry eye (keratoconjunctivitis sicca)
- Evaporative dry eye (Meibomian gland dysfunction)
Over 85% of dry eye is thought to be mainly evaporative in nature due to a condition called meibomian gland dysfunction where the tear glands in the upper and the lower lids are blocked and do not produce a healthy oil layer causing the tears to evaporate quickly. Meibomian gland dysfunction also occurs in conjunction with many cases of aqueous deficiency dry eye. Any imbalance can lead to dysfunction of the tear film.
What are the Symptoms of Dry Eye?
Signs and symptoms of dry eye, which usually affect both eyes, may include:
- A stinging, burning or scratchy sensation in your eyes.
- Stringy mucus in or around your eyes.
- Sensitivity to light.
- Eye redness.
- A sensation of having something in your eyes.
- Difficulty wearing contact lenses.
- Difficulty with nighttime driving and participating in outdoor activities.
- Watery eyes, which is the body’s response to the irritation of dry eyes.
- Blurred vision or eye fatigue.
- Contact lens intolerance.
- Reduced reading or near working time.
- Tired or fatigued eyes.
- Blurred vision.
As dry eye worsens, inflammation becomes a greater part of the disease profile. While many cases of dry eye are relatively mild, some may progress to cause severe damage to the ocular surface and loss of vision.
How is Dry Eye Diagnosed?
If you are suffering from symptoms of dry eye disease, the first step is to schedule a comprehensive eye exam. If dry eye disease is suspected, Dr. James Barton may use a variety of diagnostic tools during an exam.
The doctor will examine the surface of your eyes utilizing a biomicroscope, also known as a slit lamp. The slit lamp has a bright light and allows the doctor to examine the different structures in the front of the eye and inside the eye. The slit lamp is a key tool to determine the overall health of the eyes and detect eye disease.
The TearScience® LipiScan® Dynamic Meibomian Imager may be used to determine if the meibomian glands are blocked, thereby causing the uncomfortable symptoms of dry eye disease. The procedure to capture the scan of the meibomian glands is quick and completely painless and enables your doctor to accurately assess the health of your meibomian glands.
Schirmer’s Test, also known as the dry eye test, may be performed during the exam. During the test, numbing drops are applied to both eyes, and then a small strip of nontoxic filter paper is gently placed inside the lower eyelids. You will then be asked to close your eyes for about five minutes, during which time your eyes will produce tears which will be soaked up by the filter paper.
The filter paper will then be removed from your eyes, and the amount of moisture on the paper will be measured in millimeters. If the measurement is lower than five millimeters, then this indicates a tear production deficiency. If the measurement is over fifteen millimeters, this indicates an overproduction of tears.
Oculus Keratograph 5M
We utilize advanced technology called the OCULUS Keratograph 5M to examine your eyes. The Keratograph 5M has a high-resolution color camera and is equipped with intelligent software to analyze the collected data and document the findings. It can also compare the results and show the success of the dry eye treatment.
Treatment for Dry Eye at Ensight Eyecare
If you have been diagnosed with dry eye, Dr. James Barton will create a custom treatment plan for you. We offer different treatment options for patients suffering from dry eye, including heat eye pads and Oasis drops, wipes, and sprays not available over the counter.
We also provide treatments in our office for people suffering from dry eye due to meibomian gland dysfunction. Learn more about LipiFlow and TempSure Envi treatment for dry eye.
Schedule a Comprehensive Eye Exam at Ensight Eyecare
If you have been suffering from the symptoms of dry eye disease, book an appointment at Ensight Eyecare today. We can help you find relief!