Do you have Dry Eyes?
Chronic dry eye is one of the most common complaints we see, accounting for nearly 20% of all office visits. Until recently, there was little we could do for these patients other than offer passive therapies: artificial tears to temporarily relieve symptoms and tips to modify exacerbating lifestyle and environmental factors.
All this has changed over the last decade as we've learned more about the complex pathophysiology of chronic dry eye, especially its inflammatory component. This in turn has led to the development of therapeutic approaches that target the underlying disease state to restore ocular health. The impact of dry eye on patients' quality of life can be significant. The condition increases the risk of problems during vision-related activities, including reading, computer use and night driving. Studies confirm that many patients alter their daily routine to manage their symptoms.
Frequently reported symptoms that should lead you to suspect dry eye include dryness, discomfort and irritation, itching, sensitivity to light and grittiness. This is especially true in the presence of other symptoms like pain or foreign body sensation; ocular fatigue; tearing or mucus discharge; transient blurring, which may last as long as one to two hours (or perhaps just minutes or seconds until the next blink); symptoms that worsen late in the day; and contact lens intolerance.
Before we can take advantage of these new treatments, however, we must undertake the rather challenging task of diagnosing this condition. Dry eyes and allergies affecting the eyes have similar symptoms, and can occur concurrently. We schedule a dry eye/allergy workup, consisting of a simple battery of tests to help determine the severity of the problem and a treatment plan to give patients relief from these conditions. This visit is covered under your major medical insurance plan, as these are medical conditions.
If you think you might have dry eyes, click on the link below to print a checklist to bring with you to your visit.
A dry eye may be caused by an inflammatory condition. If we find this, we have found that a medication drop called Restasis can be effective.
If a patient simply does not have enough tear volume to keep his eyes moist and comfortable, a method of treatment called Punctal Occlusion can be very effective in treating the condition. This is a non-surgical and painless procedure to keep more tears on the eye. Patients have been amazed at how easy and effectively this works.