You don’t have to live with dry eye just because you live in a dry climate.
Are you a candidate for our dry eye clinic? Here in New Mexico, we all might feel like we suffer from dry eye at times. True dry eye can happen in any climate but is prevalent in New Mexico because of the dry air. If you feel like you don’t have enough tears, it could be dry eye.
You need tears for more than crying. They help keep the surface of your eyes healthy and help you see clearly. Dry eye, or ocular surface disease, is an eye condition where there are not enough tears produced to lubricate the eye effectively. It’s common and can be present at any age and it can be a chronic problem, especially in older adults.
What Causes Dry Eye?
There are glands in and around your eyelids, the lacrimal glands, that produce tears. When these glands aren’t producing a normal amount of tears or when the tear composition is out of balance, it can lead to symptoms of dry eye. Things that can affect tear production include:
- Medical conditions including diabetes, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and thyroid disorders
- The side effect of certain medications such as antihistamines, hormone replacement therapy, decongestants, antidepressants, blood pressure medication, birth control, and medication for Parkinson’s disease
- Environmental conditions like dry climates, smoke, and wind
- Tear gland damage
- Eyelid problems
- Lack of production of any of the three elements of tears – oil, water, and mucus
What Are Dry Eye Symptoms?
When these symptoms are persistent, it becomes a concern that ocular surface disease could be present. Symptoms include:
- Scratching or burning
- Excessive tearing
- Blurred vision
- Eye fatigue
- Sensitivity to light
- Feeling that you have something in your eye
- Feeling gritty or sandy
- Difficulty with contacts or nighttime driving
The Dry Eye Clinic at Eyes of NM
At Eyes of NM, we take dry eye seriously. We’ve created a clinic and treatment program specifically designed to address this condition. The primary concerns with dry eye are the complications that go along with it. It can lead to eye infections when you don’t have enough tears to protect the surface of your eyes, damage to the surface of your eyes due to inflammation and abrasion from lack of lubricating tears, and decreased quality of life from the discomfort that comes from consistently dry eyes.
Here’s what we do to help:
We perform a series of tests to determine if you have ocular surface disease. The work-up includes:
- Scanning the Meibomian glands on the top and bottom eyelids using the Oculus Keratograph 5 to check for structural and functional changes
- Evaluating the tear film to determine when it breaks up and how long it takes
- Testing with Inflammadry to check for corneal inflammation
- Using special dyes and a slit lamp to evaluate the front of the eye. Special filters will highlight abnormalities on the surface that can indicate dry eye
- Evaluating your blinking which is essential to proper eye lubrication
There are different ways to treat dry eye depending on the underlying cause.
- LipiFlow – we use this device to treat MGD, or Meibomian Gland Dysfunction, a disorder that is responsible for over 86% of all dry eye cases. The LipiFlow uses vectored thermal pulsation to warm and massage the inside of the lids where there is thickening and debris from the meibomian glands. This helps with debriding and clearing of the blocked glands.
- MiBoFlo – this device melts the meibum oil that is build up in the glands preventing proper flow. The heat therapy works as follow-up therapy to the LipiFlow to ensure the glands stay open once expression and clearing is complete
Some cases of ocular surface disease respond to medication. Medication can include anti-inflammatory drops that can reduce dry eye symptoms, steroid medications, oral supplements, and topical treatments.
Do you think you might have dry eye? You don’t have to live with the discomfort and vision issues that go with it. Our experienced doctors specialize in the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of ocular surface disease so we can create a treatment plan that is specific to your needs. Give us a call today to set up an appointment for your evaluation.