Don’t Let Dry Eye Interfere with Your Life
Dry eye syndrome is an irritating condition which can leave your eyes feeling tired and uncomfortable, but it doesn’t have to take over your day and steal your concentration. In fact, many people who are affected by dry eye can struggle with productivity at work, or be hit with a constant sensation of fatigue, even straight after a full night’s sleep.
Use Your Exam to Eliminate Doubt
While dry eye can be profoundly irritating and distracting, many people will neglect their symptoms, assuming that things will clear up on their own. By having your eye health examined by the independent optometrist operating within Woodstock Vision Care – Dr. Kassam – you will only lose an hour of your day to find out exactly what is causing your discomfort.
It’s a very common condition that affects around 30% of Canadian adults. Accordingly, high quality and accessible treatments have been developed, depending on the severity of your symptoms.
Dry eye sufferers can experience anywhere from one or two to many of the following symptoms. If you notice any of them persisting, it’s worth getting a proper diagnosis.
- Burning sensation around the eye
- Itchy or red eyes
- Blurred vision
- Grittiness in the eye
- Struggling to keep your eyes open
- Watering eyes
Quite often it is caused by your environment: dry or recycled air can whip moisture from your eyes, and low-humidity environments can trigger the condition. Other possible causes include:
- Side effects from medication (such as birth control or antihistamines)
- Meibomian gland dysfunction
- Smoking, or poor diet
- Skin diseases which target the eye or eyelid
Your Exam is Quick, Non-Invasive and Useful
Your Exam is Quick, Non-Invasive and Useful
An independent optometrist at Woodstock Vision Care will carefully examine your eyes, paying careful attention to signs of dry eye. By using advanced imaging equipment, they can differentiate between dry eye and other similar conditions, as well as help pinpoint whatever has triggered the disease.
There are a variety of treatment options available, depending on the type and severity of your symptoms. In general, treatment will aim to lubricate your eye as this is the main cause of discomfort. Warm compresses and eye drops help reduce symptoms for the majority of people.
If your symptoms aren’t so easily managed, there are tear-inducing eye drops or even punctal plugs, which are small devices used to obstruct the drainage passage from your eye, thus maintaining lubrication.
In some cases, corticosteroid cream may be be applied to the eye, as well as advanced treatments like LipiFlow and IPL. The optometrist will discuss all of these options with you at length, as appropriate.
Since the air can play a large role in inducing dry eye, you can make simple lifestyle adjustments to help limit its impact. Try using a humidifier to keep the office air from drying out your eyes, or wearing sunglasses when out in the wind. If you can also drink lots of water and eat fluid-rich foods, your body’s overall hydration will help you out.
Treatments We Offer
Woodstock Vision Care offers a variety of treatments to give you the relief from dry eyes you’ve been looking for.
IPL (intense pulsated light) can be used to treat dry eyes caused by MGD (meibomian gland dysfunction). The procedure involves using a handheld device that emits light pulses to gently warm the meibum clogging the meibomian glands. Once the meibum has been sufficiently warmed, your optometrist will use a cotton-tipped applicator to apply gentle pressure to these glands, pushing the meibum blockages out. This application of gentle pressure is called meibomian gland expression.
Research has shown that IPL can be incredibly effective for reducing inflammation in patients with dry eyes caused by meibomian gland dysfunction, and has also found that pairing IPL with meibomian gland expression is highly effective for reducing both the number and severity of dry eye symptoms. This works by both relieving symptoms and improving gland function. A 3-year retrospective study also found that IPL is effective for both reducing symptoms and improving gland function.
iLux is a handheld device used to treat dry eyes caused by MGD (meibomian gland dysfunction). The device is outfitted with sterile, silicone tipped applicator, and is used to apply gentle heat and light pressure to the eyelids. This heat and pressure warms the meibum currently blocking the meibomian glands and expresses it, removing the blockage. A clinical study has found that both iLux and Lipiflow can significantly improve gland function and alleviate dry eye symptoms and produce comparable results.
Radio frequency thermistors can be used to effectively treat MGD (meibomian gland dysfunction) in some patients. This small, handheld device uses radio waves to target clogged meibomian glands. The radio waves generate heat where the skin and fat layer meet, liquifying thickened meibum (whose consistency is similar curdled milk or cream cheese, as opposed to the olive oil like consistency it should have). Warming and softening the meibum allows it to be gently removed.
Lipiflow is an in-office treatment that uses a small, handheld device to treat MGD (meibomian gland dysfunction). The device applies gentle heat and light pressure, warming the thickened meibum clogging the glands so that it can be removed. This improves gland function and can offer long-term relief for MGD, and has been found to be significantly more effective than other heat-based treatments. A clinical study has found that both Lipiflow and iLux can significantly improve gland function and alleviate dry eye symptoms and produce comparable results.
BlephEx is a small, handheld device that can be used to treat blepharitis, a common condition that causes the eyelids to become irritated and inflamed. Blepharitis occurs when the oil-producing glands in the eyelids become clogged, causing swelling and irritation. Though there is no cure for blepharitis, BlephEx can be used to manage the condition. Blephex gently exfoliates your lids, removing thickened oil and other debris from the eyelid margins.
To help you enjoy long-lasting relief, your optometrist may suggest you use one of the following maintenance products in addition to your regular in-office treatments.
Bruder masks use gentle, warming heat to provide relief from dry eyes caused by MGD (meibomian gland dysfunction) and blepharitis. The mask uses heat to melt thickened meibum, improving meibomian gland function and slowing the evaporation rate of your tears.
Omega 3 (PRN)
If you suffer from either chronic or occasional dry eyes, your optometrist may suggest you increase your intake of some nutrients and minerals, such as Omega 3. Omega 3 supplements from PRN (Physician Recommended Nutraceuticals) can be used to improve tear film quality to prevent tears from evaporating too quickly. Research has shown that consuming Omega 3 fatty acids can significantly improve the quality of tears produced.
Hylo gel lubricating eye drops can be used to help ensure the surface of your eyes remains hydrated and may be prescribed if your dry eyes are chronic or particularly severe. These eye drops can help you enjoy continued comfort between in-office treatments.
Hylo dual eye drops can help safeguard your eyes from excessive tear evaporation. As their name suggests, these eye drops are designed to both stabilize your tear film and provide long-lasting protection against dryness.
Calmo eye spray is designed to help stabilize the tear film’s lipid layer, which helps prevent excessive evaporation. Calmo eye spray is made with liposomes, which act like the eye’s natural lipids. The spray is applied to closed eyes, where it mixes with the eye’s natural lipids and prevents tears from running over the lid margin or evaporating too quickly.
Thealoz duo eye drops may be prescribed to patients with moderate to severe dry eye to be used in conjunction with regular in-office treatments. As its name suggests, these eye drops contain two significant ingredients – trehalose and sodium hyaluronate. Trehalose is used to protect the eye’s epithelial cells so they can become more resistant to the everyday stress of dry environments and tear film changes that can cause dry eye. Sodium hyaluronate is used to help your tears retain the water they need to hydrate and lubricate your eye’s surface.
Hyabak eye drops are made with sodium hyaluronate, which is used to lubricate and hydrate your eye’s surface by helping prevent excessive tear evaporation. These eye drops are suitable for almost all dry eye patients, including those with moderate to severe dry eyes. They are designed to reduce or even eliminate symptoms such as dryness or grittiness, providing long-lasting relief between appointments.
Ocunox eye ointment is designed for overnight corneal protection. The cornea is particularly sensitive to drying at night since our eyes don’t typically produce tears while we are sleeping. Ocunox is designed to protect the surface of the eye and improve your tear film, providing long-lasting dry eye relief during the day.
Blephadex produces a variety of at-home dry eye maintenance products, including cleansing eyelid wipes, warming eyelid wipes, and eyelid foam to help you get long-lasting relief from your dry eyes between in-office treatment sessions.
What Causes Dry Eye
Dry eyes are caused by two main factors: inadequate tear volume and poor tear quality. Our eyes depend on a healthy and balanced tear film to stay lubricated. When we aren’t able to produce enough tears or the tears we do produce are poor quality, our eyes become dry and irritated.
Inadequate Tear Volume
Our bodies produce tears using several different glands located in and around our eyelids. As we age, our eyes aren’t able to produce as many tears as they once did, which can cause dry eyes. Some medical conditions and medications can also impact tear production.
Environmental factors can also cause dry eyes. Even if we can produce enough tears, dry air or windy weather can cause our tears to evaporate too quickly.
Poor Tear Quality
Tears are made up of three main ingredients: meibum (a type of oil), water, and mucin. Meibum is the outer tear layer, forming a thin protective barrier and preventing our tears from evaporating too quickly. Mucin helps our tears spread evenly across the surface of our eyes, protecting our corneas. If our tears evaporate too quickly, or our tears are not uniformly distributed, it can result in dry eyes.
The following clinical studies were referenced on this page.
- A New System, the LipiFlow, for the Treatment of Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD)
- Effect of Oral Re-esterified Omega-3 Nutritional Supplementation on Dry Eyes
- Comparison of the iLUX and the LipiFlow for the Treatment of Meibomian Gland Dysfunction and Symptoms: A Randomized Clinical Trial
- Analysis of Cytokine Levels in Tears and Clinical Correlations After Intense Pulsed Light Treating Meibomian Gland Dysfunction
- Prospective evaluation of intense pulsed light and meibomian gland expression efficacy on relieving signs and symptoms of dry eye disease due to meibomian gland dysfunction
- Combination Therapy of Intense Pulsed Light Therapy and Meibomian Gland Expression (IPL/MGX) Can Improve Dry Eye Symptoms and Meibomian Gland Function in Patients With Refractory Dry Eye: A Retrospective Analysis
- Intense Pulsed Light Treatment for Dry Eye Disease Due to Meibomian Gland Dysfunction; A 3-Year Retrospective Study
Services We Offer
Regular eye exams are a vital part of ensuring your vision remains healthy and vibrant for years to come. Woodstock Vision Care is ready to evaluate your eye health and ensure your prescription is up to date.
We are conveniently located in downtown Woodstock on Dundas Street at the end of Perry Street. (nestled between Coffee Culture and Crabby Joes). Come pay us a visit!