About Dry Eye Syndrome
Dry eye syndrome (DES) is one of the most common eye problems in the United States, and unfortunately, it generally gets worse with age. The glands within the eyes that secrete tears gradually deteriorate over time. Our eyes depend on a constant supply of lubrication to maintain the health of the cells on their surface. A good tear film promotes clear vision, and with the lack of proper tears on the surface of the eyes, cells become damaged. This process often then leads to symptoms, such as a gritty sensation or feeling like something is in the eye, itchiness, redness, and blurred vision. The cause of this condition may also be due to an underlying illness, certain medications, or environmental factors. Once the underlying cause of dry eye syndrome is identified, it's symptoms can be managed and even reduced. Board-certified ophthalmologist Dr. James Croley specializes in treating dry eyes and offers several solutions for patients in the Southwest Florida area who are experiencing dry eye syndrome. He will conduct an in-depth eye exam to accurately identify your dry eye and establish whether you have an underlying illness. To hear more about treatment options for dry eye syndrome, get in touch with Cataract & Refractive Institute of Florida in Cape Coral, Lehigh Acres, or Bonita Springs, FL.
Symptoms of dES
Patients who suffer from dry eye syndrome commonly deal with blurry vision and red, itchy, burning eyes. A lot of patients feel like they have dust or dirt in their eyes or experience pain when wearing contacts. Numerous people who have dry eyes also notice that their eyes feel swollen and achy. Occasionally, they become sensitive to light and have trouble with night vision. Quite opposite of what the name implies, dry eye syndrome can, for some patients, lead to even more tears to compensate for the dryness. Dry eye syndrome is the chronic experience of several or all of these issues and often leads to problems in day-to-day duties and activities.
Causes of DES
The basic causes of dry eye syndrome are a lack of tears or oils within the tears. The creation process of tears has three main components, and there are particular types of dry eye syndrome, depending on which component is malfunctioning. The lacrimal glands produce the liquid tears, the meibomian glands secrete the oils within the tears, and the goblet cells combine the two together. Dry eye syndrome might appear whenever any of these three components of tear generation is abnormal. Many different factors can influence each of these components, such as hormonal changes, eye strain, medical conditions, like rheumatoid arthritis, and specific prescription medications.
Dry Eye Syndrome Diagnosis
During an eye exam, Dr. Croley examines the surface of the eye and the quality of the tear film using a slit lamp microscope. A dye that stains the cell walls of damaged cells on the surface of the eye may be used to determine the extent of dry damage to the eye. Additionally, there are several tests that may be utilized to properly diagnose dry eye syndrome, including:
Our bodies contain a normal amount of salt, including the tear film and the surface of the eye. The is now a test that can measure the salt level in tears. An increase in the salinity of the tear film indicated the presence of dry eyes. Tear osmolarity can also be used to follow or monitor the success of the treatment.
LipiView is a machine that can image the tear film and evaluate the quality of the lipid level on the surface of the eye which can indicate meibomian gland dysfunction. People with poor lipid levels on the surface of their tear film suffer from dry eyes.
Meibomian Gland 3D Imaging
Meibomian gland imaging allows us view and image the glands to determine the health of the Meibomian Glands
Tear Break-Up Time
The length of time that the tear film stays normal without blinking is a test to determine the severity of the dry eyes.
Tear Meniscus Height
The height of the layer of tears that rests on the lid adjacent to the eye is measured. This is another measurement for the amount of tears present in the eye.
The color and structure of the lipid layer are measured to determine the status of the outer lipid layer of the tear film.
Tear Film Dynamics
The tear film practice flow characteristics and tear film viscosity are measured to evaluate the quality of the tear film.
Dry Eye Syndrome Treatment Options
Your specific treatment will be determined by the underlying problem behind your dry eyes. Following a detailed exam and medical history review, Dr. Croley can assess which treatment best suits your specific issues. Most people with mild cases of the condition can be treated with prescription or over-the-counter eye drops. These solutions can help fortify your natural tears. If your dry eye syndrome is more severe, special plugs can be put in your tear ducts (called punctal occlusion) to block them and keep the real tears in the eye.
Relieve Your Dry Eye Today
Dealing with dry eye syndrome is more than just irritating and can result in reduced vision if not treated properly. If you are dealing with dry eye symptoms and trying to get relief from nonprescription solutions, make an appointment for a dry eye exam at any of our Florida locations in Cape Coral, Lehigh Acres, or Bonita Springs. Dr. Croley and our entire team at the Cataract & Refractive Institute of Florida is committed to providing the treatment you need to attain optimal relief.