DRY EYE SYNDROME
Tears are essential for healthy eyes and vision.
What is Dry Eye Syndrome?
Dry eye syndrome (DES) is caused by a lack of naturally produced tears. The eyes are lubricated by tears, therefore when the body is unable to generate enough tears, or when the tears evaporate too quickly, the eyes start to dry out.
At Wink Eyecare Boutique, we're committed to providing the most advanced treatments for dry eye syndrome. Our cutting-edge technologies are designed to address the underlying causes and provide long-term relief to patients in Potomac, Maryland, and surrounding areas.
If you or a loved one is struggling with dry eye symptoms, don't suffer in silence. Contact Dr. Rachel Cohn to schedule an appointment and find out how we can help.
Water, enzymes, proteins, metabolites, lipids, and mucins are all part of the chemical makeup of tears. They keep your eyes well-lubricated and protect them from foreign objects or dust particles, which can cause discomfort.
Enzymes are proteins that cause a chemical reaction in the body.
Proteins are amino acid-containing molecules that are located in the body's tissues.
Metabolites are small molecules related to metabolism.
Lipids are oil-containing molecules that also contain healthy fats.
Mucins are glycoproteins that help cells stick together.
These are some of the most common dry eye symptoms:
Ironically, watery eyes are also a dry eye symptom. The body produces excessive tears in an effort to self-soothe the dryness, a condition known as Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS). The tears may offer momentary relief, but due to the insufficient water content, they are unhealthy.
Who Can Get Dry Eye Syndrome?
Dry eye syndrome (DES) is a condition that can affect anyone, but certain factors can increase a person's susceptibility to developing it. These factors include age, gender, medical conditions, and environmental factors.
Medical conditions can have a significant impact on the development and severity of dry eye syndrome. Here are some medical conditions that can contribute to dry eyes:
Exposure to dry or windy conditions, air conditioning or heating, and smoke can all cause dry eyes. Additionally, prolonged use of digital devices such as computers and smartphones can also contribute.
Studies have shown that women are more likely to develop dry eyes than men, with hormonal changes during pregnancy and menopause being significant factors. Compared to men their age, women over 50 have a 50% higher chance of developing dry eye.
As we get older, our bodies produce fewer tears and the quality of our tears can decrease, making us more susceptible to dry eyes. Additionally, age-related conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, and hypertension can also increase the risk of dry eye syndrome.
Dry Eye Treatment in Potomac, Maryland
Dr. Rachel Cohn is an experienced optometrist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of dry eye syndrome. We offer a range of conventional and advanced treatment options to help alleviate symptoms and improve eye health.
The first thing we do is a comprehensive dry eye evaluation. Our dry eye workup takes about one hour to ensure a thorough assessment of the condition. We use the latest diagnostic tool for tear quality, the ScoutPro Osmolarity. It measures the osmolarity of the tears to assess the severity of dry eyes.
Meibography is done using the OCULUS Keratograph® 5M. This diagnostic tool visualizes the structure of the meibomian glands and evaluates their function. Meibography is a quick and painless test that can help diagnose and monitor dry eye syndrome.
Dry eye exams require regular follow-up visits to ensure we are monitoring and managing your dry eye syndrome effectively.
For mild cases of dry eye, Dr. Cohn may recommend the use of artificial tears or prescription eye drops to lubricate the eyes and reduce inflammation. Advanced treatment options for more severe cases of dry eye syndrome may be recommended. These include punctal plugs, scleral lenses, Intense Pulse Light Therapy (IPL), and Low Level Light Therapy (LLLT).
Punctal plugs are tiny devices that are inserted into the tear ducts to help alleviate symptoms of dry eye syndrome. They work by blocking the tear drainage channels in the eyes, preventing tears from draining away too quickly and helping to keep the eyes moist and comfortable.
Scleral lenses are specialized contact lenses. They are larger than traditional contact lenses and rest on the sclera, the white part of the eye, rather than the cornea. It creates a reservoir of fluid between the lens and the eye, which helps keep the eyes moist.
Both IPL and LLLT are non-invasive treatments for dry eye syndrome.
IPL uses high-intensity pulses of light to target inflammation and reduce the tiny, unhealthy blood vessels around the eyelids. The treatment is designed to help remove any accumulation of oil or other debris clogging the meibomian glands.
LLLT on the other hand, slowly warms up the eyelids with the help of specially designed LED lights. This enables the meibomian glands to unclog and release oils.
At Wink Eyecare Boutique, we use the Marco Equinox Low-Level Light Therapy (LLLT) device. It helps to increase the production of oil in the meibomian glands. By increasing the production of oil, the tear film becomes more stable and can better lubricate the eye, relieving dry eye symptoms.
Medications and Dry Eye Syndrome
Medication always comes with warnings of possible side effects that patients may experience. There are certain categories of medications that can contribute to the development of dry eye syndrome. These include:
Speak with Dr. Rachel Cohn about possible alternatives if you are using any of these medications and are experiencing dry eye symptoms.
Dry eye syndrome can cause short-term discomfort and irritation, like redness, stinging, burning, and itching of the eyes. These symptoms can disappear with treatment or in some cases, on their own. It is important to seek treatment for dry eye as soon as possible to prevent any long-term complications.
If left untreated, some dry eye symptoms can lead to long-term complications that can affect the health of your eyes and vision.
Corneal abrasions or ulcers: The constant dryness and irritation of the eyes can cause damage to the cornea, the clear outer layer of the eye. This can lead to corneal abrasions or ulcers, which can cause pain and sensitivity to light.
Long-term inflammation: Chronic inflammation caused by dry eye can damage the tear glands and cause scarring, leading to permanent changes in the eye's structure and function.
Vision impairment: Prolonged dryness and irritation of the eyes can affect the quality of your vision or lead to more severe eye diseases.
Contact Dr. Rachel Cohn and the team at Wink Eyecare Boutique to help find a solution for your dry eye symptoms.