Dry eye syndrome (DES) is a chronic condition that develops when your eyes do not produce and maintain enough tears to keep the eye’s surface lubricated resulting in multiple symptoms that range from person to person. This can be due to a reduction in tear production or increased tear evaporation from a lack of lipid in the tears that stem from oil glands in the eyelids. The effects can range from minor dryness and discomfort to pain, blurred vision and frequent infections.
What causes dry eye?
- Aqueous tear-deficient dry eye
A disorder in which the lacrimal glands fail to produce enough of the watery component of tears to maintain a healthy eye surface.
- Evaporative dry eye
This may result from inflammation of the meibomian glands, also located in the eyelids. These glands make the lipid or oily part of tears that slows evaporation and keeps the tears stable.
Dry eyes can occur naturally as a result of aging or hormonal changes, typically in women who are pregnant, taking oral contraceptives or going through menopause. In fact, women over 50 have a 50% greater risk of dry eye disease than men do of the same age. It can also result from taking certain medications that reduce tear production such as antihistamines, blood pressure medications and antidepressants. Environmental factors can also play a role in drying out the eyes and DED is common in areas where the climate is dry, dusty and windy. Home air conditioners or heating systems and excessive time spent staring at a computer or television screen can also dry out eyes and exacerbate symptoms due to the lack of blinking while staring at our screens.
Individuals that suffer from certain medical conditions such as diabetes, blepharitis, lupus, arthritis and thyroid problems are more vulnerable to developing DED. Other causes can be due to eye surgery including LASIK, certain conditions in which the eyelids don’t close properly or extended contact lens use.
What does dry eye feel like?
Everyone experiences different symptoms of dry eye, but the most typical complaints include:
- Burning or stinging
- Sensation of sand stuck in the eye
- Blurred vision
If you have any of the above symptoms, we invite you to visit our dry eye doctor at Gaddie Eye Center, in LaGrange, Oxmoor, Springhurst, and Carrollton. Our optometrist will perform a thorough exam to diagnose dry eye and recommend the most appropriate and helpful treatment.
How does an eye disease doctor test for dry eye?
Our dry eye doctor will evaluate your symptoms with a comprehensive eye exam. We will assess the health of Meibomian glands, tear osmolarity (salt concentration), tear film quality, and general corneal health. To serve you better, our clinic for dry eye in Kentucky is equipped with advanced testing methods, such as InflammDry® testing and TearLab™ testing with tear samples. We are also proud to be one of only two optometry practices in Kentucky to offer Sjö™, a specialized assessment for detecting Sjögren’s syndrome.
What is dry eye treatment?
We offer a range of treatments for dry eye that will improve your vision and your quality of life. Possible therapies include supplements, lid scrubs, lubricating eye drops and ointments, treatment masks, punctal plugs, scleral or mini-scleral contact lenses, omega-3 supplements, and Restastis®.
LipiFlow Dry Eye Care
Gaddie Eye Centers is the first and exclusive provider in the Louisville area of LipiFlow, the revolutionary treatment for dry eye disease caused by Meibomian Gland Dysfunction. With thermal pulsation, LipiFlow gets to the root of your dry eye problem by unblocking oil glands and treating MGD eye disease. This FDA-approved procedure is quick and painless, and it can dramatically improve quality of life for patients who suffer from dry eye.