The human eye needs a healthy tear layer to feel comfortable and see clear. The tear layer is made up of 3 layers, the mucin layer, the water layer, and the lipid layer. The mucin layer is secreted by goblet cells on the clear conjunctiva of the eye to allow tears to spread over the eye evenly. The water layer is secreted by the lacrimal gland resting under the eye lid. The oil layer is secreted by the meibomian glands located along the eyelid margins. Dry eye disease can develop when there is a deficiency in any of these layers of the tear film.
There are two major types of dry eye, evaporative dry eye or dry eye due to low tear volume. The most common type of dry eye is evaporative dry eye and is a result of deficiency in the oil layer of the tear film. The deficiency in the oil layer is caused by malfunction of the meibomian glands. Dry eye is a chronic and multifactorial disease and it may take weeks to begin to experience symptomatic relief from dry eye treatment. Dry eye requires long term care to manage the symptoms.
We utilize the latest in Dry Eye therapy to help patients control their dry eye symptoms. Treatment for dry eye includes:
- Artificial tears such as Optase Intense and Optase MGD. Artificial tears are lubricant eye drops which contains different compounds designed to help supplement your tear film deficiencies.
- Punctal Occlusion can be used to block the tears from draining back into your body, allowing your natural tears to stay on your eyes longer. This procedure works great for patients who don’t produce enough tears.
- Dry eye supplements, such as SBH Hydroeye, are designed to improve the oil secretions from your eyelids to help your tears last longer between eye blinks.
- Warm Compresses can be utilized to warm the meibomian glands (oil glands) on your eyelid. Warming the glands will help loosen up clogged glands and warm compresses can be done with a kit at home.
- Lid Hygiene will help remove debris, bacteria, and mites that may cause inflammation on the eyelids. Inflammation can lead to chronic dry eye symptoms.
- Low Light Level Therapy (LLLT) is the latest treatment in dry eye thearapy. The LLLT Light Modulation is a unique technology of photobiomodulation (PBM) used for many years in various fields of medicine (dermatology, dentistry, etc.). The emission of LED light at a particular wavelength triggers an endogenous heating of the eyelids. This treatment facilitates production and stimulation of the oil component released from Meibomian glands into the tear film, thus stabilizing the lipid layer of the tears, reducing signs and symptoms of dry eye. Your eye doctor will apply the low-level light therapy mask to your eyes for 15 minutes. These devices will deliver a specific wavelength of light to your eyelids for 15 minutes. Afterwards, your doctor will put numbing drops into your eyes to make your eyes more comfortable. Your doctor will then gently squeeze your eyelids to unblock the oil glands and to remove the buildup in your eyelids.