Approximately 12 million Americans suffer from a disease called dry eye syndrome. Dry eye syndrome is a chronic lack of sufficient lubrication and moisture in the eye. Its consequences range from vision fluctuation, subtle but consistent irritation to ocular inflammation of the anterior tissues of the eye. The condition is one of the most common disorders among people over 40. In fact, 20% of all adults have some degree of dry eye syndrome and women past menopause are especially susceptible.
For some people, the stinging, burning and redness may seem like little more than a nuisance. But, if left untreated, dry eye syndrome can lead to serious eye problems, including blindness. Dry eyes are inflamed eyes. Inflammation of the front surface of the eye increases the risk of infection and can also lead to scarring. Once scarring occurs, permanent loss of sight can occur.
What is Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD)?
Your Meibomian glands are located in your eyelids, where they secrete an oily fluid that enhances your tear film and slows the evaporation of your tears. This allows the tears to keep your cornea well lubricated for smooth and clear vision.
When the Meibomian glands are either blocked or don’t function optimally, the lipid (fatty) layer of your tear film isn’t rich enough to maintain lasting moisture on your eyes. In addition to the rapid evaporation of tears, there is also greater friction between the cornea and eyelids. This is what causes dry eye symptoms.
Eye care professionals estimate that approximately 86% of patients diagnosed with dry eye symptoms have a poor quality tear film due to Meibomian Gland Dysfunction. Unfortunately, MGD is chronic and progressive; when left untreated, the symptoms generally worsen.
Who is at Risk?
- Older people and women
- Those with autoimmune diseases (Sjogrens syndrome)
- Those taking medications including diuretics, beta-blockers, antihistamines, and antidepressants.
- Patients with thyroid disease and diabetes
- Prolonged screen time
- Contact lens wear or eye surgery (LASIK)
Dry Eye Treatment Options
Treatment options range from prescription eye drops to lifestyle changes, and all have the goal of increasing the visual ability of the eye while promoting eye comfort.
The optometrists and ophthalmologists at Center for Sight in Naples, FL, are able to detect dry eye during your exam and develop personalized treatment plans based on your symptoms.
Center For Sight offers a variety of products for the treatment of Dry Eye Diseases:
- Artificial tears: Retaine MGD, TheraTears Dry Eye Therapy
- Warm compress Mask: Bruder Moist Heat Eye Compress & D.E.R.M.® For Mild Dry Eye Relief
- Lidscrubs and foam cleaners from Blephadex and TheraTears
- Retaine PM nighttime ointment
- Punctal plugs done in the office by doctor or technician
- TheraTears Eye Nutrition Omega-3 oral supplement