Dry eye is a complex and chronic disease caused by many factors. There are two major contributions to symptoms of eye discomfort. On one hand, we have structural changes occurring to the glands that are responsible for creating the tear film that coats your eye. These changes can be to the water/Lacrimal gland or, more commonly, to the oil/Meibomian glands. On the other hand, we have inflammation, which can come from a myriad of sources. Inflammation can occur due to underlying autoimmune disease such as rosacea, eczema, rheumatoid arthritis or thyroid disorder. Other inflammatory factors include environmental allergies, cosmetics/skin care products and dry/de-humidified environments.
Under management of structural changes (clogging of the oil glands) is the most common reason Dr. Gilles sees dry eye symptoms worsening in her patients. However, every patient is unique and depending on your factors of inflammation, you may have other aspects of your dry eye undermanaged as well. To fully understand why your symptoms of dry eye are worsening, book an appointment for a full dry eye evaluation.
If you are experiencing fluctuating vision, dryness, burning, watering, or discharge, please schedule an appointment with your optometrist.
There are various factors that cause dry eye. The best way to know how to treat your symptoms would be to ask your optometrist or have an evaluation done by a dry eye specialist. Treatments are generally focused at reducing inflammation and stabilizing the protective tear film coating.
Dry eye is a chronic, complex and multi-factorial disease. There is no single cure for dry eye. However, every person has unique factors that contribute to their symptoms of eye discomfort. A full dry eye specialty evaluation with Dr. Gilles can help identify under-managed areas in your current treatment routine. Dr. Gilles takes pride in providing her patients with individualized in-office and at-home treatments to reduce the severity and frequency of symptoms with the overall goal of preventing worsening of your dry eye disease.
The best way to care for your eyes is by taking preventive measures, like you do for your teeth with brushing and flossing. Many people may benefit from using preventive treatments such as warm compresses, eyelash scrubs, blinking exercises and eyelid massages. Some individuals have dry eye factors that do not respond to these classic treatments. The best way to know how to prevent dry eye symptoms would be to ask your optometrist or have an evaluation done by a dry eye specialist.
During long, staring activities such as phone or computer use, driving, watching TV, etc, we do not blink enough. Blinking causes release of the oil layer of the protective tear film coating. The oil layer prevents evaporation of the water portion of the tear film. It is important to take blink breaks during these activities to prevent evaporation. For near activities, it is good to incorporate the 20/20/20 rule: every 20 minutes, take 20 seconds to look 20 feet away and blink your eyes a couple times.
There are multiple reasons that the eyes may water. However, in cases of slowly worsening, intermittent watering, it is most commonly due to a poorly functioning tear film. The tear film is a protective coating that covers the front of the eye and allows for normal functioning and comfortable vision.
The tear film can be broken down into two major functioning components. The Lacrimal/water gland is responsible for creating the inner water layer of the tear film. This layer keeps the surface of the eye hydrated and healthy. In contrast, there are Meibomian/oil glands in the eyelids that create an outer oil layer that mimics the consistency of olive oil. This layer is responsible for holding the tear on the eye.
Due to many factors, the oil glands close over time and quit properly producing the oil layer of the tear film. Because of this, the tear film is mostly water and prone to evaporating. Upon evaporation, a sensation of burning, grittiness, or dryness may be experienced. Alternatively, the eye may have reactive water tearing by the Lacrimal gland to make up for the evaporating tears. This can result in slowly worsening the watering of the eye. To better understand why your eyes are watering, book an appointment for a full dry eye evaluation.
For the answer to this questions and other questions regarding fish oil, visit our Common Fish Oil Questions page.
Visine is a vasoconstrictor medication that makes your blood vessels smaller. In fact, when used in excess, Visine Red Eye drops can result in increased redness. A better artificial tear option would be lubricating eye drops. If you use a bottle form containing preservatives, please use it no more than 4 times a day. If you use preservative-free lubricating drops, you may use it as many times throughout the day as you want. Ask your optometrist which artificial tear they would suggest for you.
Humid climates are best for people who suffer from dryness. Individuals who live in a dry climate can greatly improve their eye comfort with a personalized dry eye therapy plan.
The impact of allergy medicine on dry eye greatly depends on your unique dry eye factors. If you believe your allergies and/or allergy medication is impacting the comfort of your eyes, you would benefit from a detailed dry eye specialty exam.
Often times, eye surgeries can exacerbate the signs and symptoms of "dry eye," or rather "tear film instability." A personalized dry eye treatment plan can greatly improve the comfort of your eyes and stability of your vision.