Dry Eye Treatment in Monterey
Eye MD Monterey is a premier vision correction and eye care practice offering a range of highly effective treatments, including dry eye therapy. It’s normal for eyes to feel a bit dry from time to time, but chronic dry eyes require treatment from a vision specialist. This page explains dry eye syndrome in further detail, along with various treatment options.
What Is Dry Eye Syndrome?
Dry eye syndrome (keratitis sicca) is a common medical condition that affects more than 12 million Americans. Dry eye is associated with a chronic lack of lubrication in the eye due to decreased quality or quantity of tears.
In order to understand dry eye syndrome, it is important to understand the anatomy of tears.
Tears are comprised of three essential layers:
- The lipid layer (the outer, oily fluid)
- The lacrimal layer (the middle, watery fluid)
- The mucous, or mucin, layer (the inner layer that coats the cornea)
Each layer plays an important role in providing the eye with sufficient lubrication. A problem with any of the three layers may lead to dry eye syndrome. In addition, each layer is produced in different glands within the eye, so a problem with any of the glands may result in dry eye syndrome.
What Causes Dry Eye Syndrome?
Dry eye syndrome can be caused by many factors, including certain diseases and medical conditions, medications, activities such as computer work, vitamin A deficiency, dry climate and contact lenses. Dry eye syndrome may also develop as part of the aging process.
Dry Eye Symptoms
Dry eye symptoms may range from mild, occasional irritation to inflammation of the anterior tissue of the eye. The most common symptoms associated with dry eye syndrome include:
- Sandy or gritty irritation
- Temporarily blurred vision
- Excessive tearing
- Foreign body sensation
In addition, individuals who suffer from dry eye syndrome may experience increased discomfort during or after certain activities, such as watching TV, reading or working on a computer.
Dry Eye Syndrome Diagnosis
The first step in diagnosing dry eye syndrome is to measure the amount of tears in the eyes. This is accomplished through a test called the Schirmer test, which involves a thin strip of paper placed under the lower eyelid and over the conjunctival sac for up to five minutes. Less than the normal amount of wetting on the paper indicates decreased tear production.
Other diagnostic tests for dry eye may include the use of a special dye (rose bengal stain) that forms a specific pattern on the surface of the eye, indicating tear deficiency.
Dry Eye Treatment in Monterey
Currently, no cure exists for dry eye syndrome. Instead, treatment focuses on relieving uncomfortable dry eye symptoms and preventing other complications, such as infections. When caused by certain activities, climate, vitamin deficiency or medications, a change in lifestyle can significantly improve irritation caused by dry eye.
The most common treatment for dry eye syndrome is the use of artificial tears, which are available over the counter and by prescription. Artificial tears lubricate the eyes, thereby reducing symptoms associated with this condition. They are usually applied several times throughout the day.
For severe cases of dry eye syndrome, punctual plugs may be inserted into the tear ducts to block drainage, thereby keeping the surface of the eyes lubricated. Punctual plugs are inserted into the eye at the doctor’s office. Determining the correct size and design of punctual plugs is essential in successfully alleviating symptoms associated with dry eye.
When Should You Be Screened for Dry Eye Syndrome?
If you are experiencing consistent eye irritation, burning, itching and the sensation of a foreign object in your eyes, you should be screened for dry eye syndrome. At Eye MD Monterey, our doctors provide the most advanced and effective treatments to alleviate discomfort associated with dry eye syndrome.