DRY EYE SYNDROME
Tears are essential for healthy and eyes and vision.
What is Dry Eye Syndrome?
Dry Eye Syndrome, or DES, is a condition caused by a lack of naturally producing tears. Tears are an essential aspect of eye health because they lubricate the surface of the eyes, keeping them moist and comfortable. When the body is unable to produce an adequate amount of tears, the eyes can begin to dry out, leading to itchy, red, and painful eyes.
Who Is at Risk for Developing Dry Eye Syndrome?
Like other diseases and eye conditions, there are some people who are more susceptible to developing DES. Age, gender, medical conditions, even the environment can contribute to sensitivity to dry eyes.
Treatment for Dry Eye Syndrome
Dr. Heather Miller treats patients from all over Pennsylvania who have Dry Eye. Our staff has the experience and knowledge needed to help give you relief from DES symptoms and improve your quality of life.
Depending on your specific case, we may recommend artificial tears or lubricant eye drops to produce tears to moisten and make your eyes feel more comfortable. Prescription drops can help stimulate tear production and, in some cases, steroids can provide significant short-term relief.
For patients with more severe DES, the doctor may suggest the use of punctal plugs. These tiny devices are placed inside the tear duct to block tears from draining. As the natural moisture is prevented from leaking out, it remains in the eye and coats it properly, keeping it lubricated and comfortable.
Scleral lenses can provide effective relief, as well. These are custom-designed rigid contact lenses with a large diameter that cover the entire sclera (the white part of the eye) without touching the cornea. Scleral lenses contain a tiny pool of water, providing constant moisture to dry eyes.
IPL is a treatment involving a high-energy wavelength of light targeted to melt and release built up oils blocked by abnormal blood vessels causing inflammation of the meibomian glands. It is also effective in decreasing Demodex mites which stimulates infections and leads to inflammation.
IPL, a commonly used dermatology treatment used to address sun spots, acne scars and rosacea, is now available to address chronic dry eye disease and meibomian gland disease. Each treatment takes about 20 minutes to perform and while patients often notice substantial improvements of their dry eye symptoms after 1 or 2 initial treatments, we recommend a series of 4 treatments, spaced 2-4 weeks apart.
Medications and Dry Eye
All medications include warnings of possible side effects which some patients may experience. There are certain categories of medications that are known to decrease natural tear production, such as:
- Anxiety medications
- Birth control pills
- Blood pressure medication
If you are taking any of these medications and feeling any signs of Dry Eye, speak with Dr. Heather Miller about some alternative medications or treatments to alleviate your symptoms