Dry eye syndrome is a very common visual condition that occurs when the eyes are no longer able to produce adequate lubrication to cover them. This can happen for a variety of reasons. It could be that the glands that produce tear film become blocked, or that there is an imbalance in the oils, water, and proteins that make up tear film. Alternatively, the fluid could be draining too quickly. People who suffer from dry eyes can find that they experience some unpleasant symptoms that can impact on their day to day activities. Fortunately, there are treatments available. Here’s what you need to know about the diagnosis and treatment of dry eyes.
There is a range of different symptoms that could indicate that you are suffering from dry eye. These include the following:
Dry, scratchy eyes
Stringy mucus in and around the eyes
Redness of the eyes
Sensitivity to light
Difficulty wearing contact lenses
Difficulty driving at night
Inflammation has been shown to be a contributing factor in the development of the dry eye. Fortunately, experts have developed a test that makes it possible for eye doctors to identify if the patient is suffering from inflammation which could be present before the clinical signs of the dry eye become apparent. This is known as an inflammatory marker testing.
Inflammatory marker testing is an innovative, new method of evaluating whether a patient has the early stages of dry eye. We use InflammaDry which detects the presence of MMP-9, a cytokine produced by the epithelial cells which cover the cornea if they are affected by inflammation. The presence of MMP-9 is considered a reliable marker for the presence of dry eye.
Other benefits of InflammaDry include:
a painless, simple, in-office process that can be performed in a matter of minutes
the ability to detect dry eye in patients for whom other testing methods may not be effective
results of the test can be read in just 10 minutes
highly accurate results
Once your eyes have been tested, our team can then make a recommendation for treatment that will alleviate your dry eyes, potentially before you have ever experienced any symptoms of the condition.
There are various different treatments available that can alleviate the symptoms associated with dry eyes, or in the case that your dry eye has been identified early using InflammaDry, prevent them from occurring. Which will be best for you will vary based on how you respond to each treatment. Some patients find that they need to try several different types before they find one that is effective. Some of the options that you may be recommended to try could include:
Artificial tears, which can be applied multiple times each day to keep the eyes lubricated.
Prescription eye drops that contain ingredients that can help resolve the underlying cause of your dry eyes, for example, anti-inflammatory eye drops.
Eye inserts that work just like artificial tears.
Punctual plugs, which are placed into the drainage channels in the corners of each eye to prevent the fluid from draining too quickly.
Meibomian gland expression, which unblocks clogged glands.
Lipiflow, a thermal pulsation treatment that heats and massages the glands responsible for tear film production.
If you would like more information about dry eyes and dry eye treatment, or if you’d like to schedule an appointment for InflammaDry testing, please contact our offices in New Smyrna Beach, FL, and Edgewater, FL.