Dry Eye Syndrome and Blepharitis
Dry Eye syndrome
Dry eye can range from mild and annoying, to severe and vision threatening. It is not only uncomfortable, it can cause permanent damage to the eye. Even when not severe, dry eye can have a significant impact on quality of life. We believe it is a condition that is often not given enough attention.
We treat dry eye in an individual and tailored approach, depending upon patient symptoms and wishes. Treatment may be conservative and stepwise, or in severe cases, a much more aggressive approach is used. In more severe cases, a medical workup coordinated with the patient’s primary care doctor may be indicated to look for associated or underlying systemic conditions. Regardless of the cause of the dry eye, we can almost always find a regimen that will greatly improve symptoms and dryness of the eye.
Dry eye is a treatable problem, and regardless of the cause, we can almost always find a way to significantly improve the symptoms of our patients.
Who is at risk for Dry Eye?
- women more than men
- older people
- those with rheumatologic or autoimmune disease (Rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome, thyroid disease, etc.)
- those who take certain medications (some blood pressure, anti-depressant, decongestant, anti-anxiety, Parkinson’s medications, and many others)
- contact lens wearers and former contact lens wearers
- those who live in dry environments
What are the symptoms of Dry Eye?
- fluctuating vision, especially with activities that require some concentration (reading, computer use, driving, watching TV, near hobbies like sewing, etc.)
- irritation of the eyes, feeling that something is in the eye, “gravel-like” sensation in the eye
- redness of the eyes
How is Dry Eye treated?
- artificial tears are the first-line of treatment, sometimes we recommend a specific type or preservative-free tears depending upon patient needs
- oral omega-3-fatty acid supplements which have been proven to be of benefit
- treatment of eyelid rim oil gland inflammation (blepharitis), that is commonly seen with dry eye
- in office procedure known as Lipiflow®
- lifestyle modification (humidifiers, positioning of vents/fans/computer screens, etc.)
- consultation with primary care doctor if modification of other medications is possible
- lubricating gel or ointment
- topical medication: Restasis® and Xiidra
- topical steroid drops
- punctal plugs
- moisturizing capsules: Lacriserts®
- Albumin drops prepared by compounding pharmacy
- autologous serum tears: artificial tears specially formulated by a laboratory from the patient’s own serum (for more severe dry eye)
- Prokera – a biologic bandage contact lens made of cryopreserved amniotic tissue to reduce inflammation and promote healing of the surface of the eye
- oral medications
- consultation with primary care doctor for evaluation and treatment of other systemic conditions that may be underlying dry eye
- moisture goggles for overnight wear
This list is not exhaustive. We can always try another approach or combination.
Please call our office at (847) 497-2020 for more information of if you would like to schedule an appointment.
For more information, visit the following websites:
Blepharitis is a chronic, inflammatory disease of the eyelids caused by an overgrowth of normal bacteria living along the lid and the base of the eyelashes. Anyone can get blepharitis at any age, but the prevalence increases with age, since as we get older, we make fewer natural antibodies in our tears.
This overgrowth of bacteria produces a biofilm that traps scurf and debris along the eyelashes and harbors bacterial exotoxins along the lid margin. These exotoxins penetrate the eyelid tissue causing low-grade inflammation which adversely affects the tear glands, turning down tear production. Fewer tears containing fewer antibodies allow even more bacteria accumulate and a vicious cycle is established, leading to chronic irritation and dry eye.
Since the eyelids are difficult to clean, this overgrowth of bacteria, biofilm, scurf and debris can accumulate over many years, and the exotoxin-induced inflammation can cause significant damage to the eyelid and tear glands.
What are the symptoms of blepharitis?
Common symptoms include:
- Itching or scratchy eyes
- Foreign body sensation
- Redness/Inflammation of eyes and eyelids
- Dry eye
- Flaking of the lid rims
- Styes or chalazia (red bumps on the lid rim)
In more serious cases of blepharitis, however, permanent scarring of the lid rims and cornea can occur, which can lead to vision loss.
How is blepharitis treated?
- Warm compresses (such as a hot towel or our Dry Eye Relief Mask)
- Tea Tree Eyelid Cleanser
- Hypochlorus Acid Spray
- An in office procedure called BlephEx™
- Lid scrubs (a specific lid cleansing method to remove irritating oils from the lid rims)
- Topical medications
- Nutritional supplements
- Oral antibiotics
As with our approach to dry eye patients, we believe in a treatment plan tailored to the needs and wishes of the patient, often involving a combination of therapies for the best result. Please call our office at (847) 497-2020 if you would like to schedule an appointment.
For more information, visit the following websites:
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