WHAT IS DRY EYE DISEASE?
Updated: Jan 8, 2021
Dry eye disease is a condition that is quickly becoming an epidemic. With smart phones and computer usage, dry eye is expected to increase from affecting 26 million Americans to 55 million within 10 years. Dry eye has been shown to affect twice as many women as men. Some of the symptoms associated with this disease include burning, itchy, fatigue, blurred vision, light sensitivity, redness, and a sandy/gritty sensation of the eyes. Another common symptom can be watery eyes. As odd as this may seem, the dryness in the eye will over-stimulate production of tears.
Causes of Dry Eye Disease
A normal tear film consists of three layers--an oily (lipid) component, a watery (aqueous) component, and a mucous-like (mucin) component. A problem with any of these sources of tear film components can result in tear instability and dry eyes. There are different categories of dry eyes, depending on which component is affected. For example, if the Meibomian glands don’t produce or secrete enough oil (meibum), the tear film may evaporate too quickly — a condition called “evaporative dry eye.” The underlying condition — called Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) is the most common form of dry eye syndrome. These particular glands are located in the upper and lower eyelid and supply oil to the surface of the eye. When clogged, this can lead to dry eye symptoms.
There are many treatments for Meibomian gland dysfunction. One is to take a daily dose of a good fish oil. The better fish oils are the ones that go through an extra purification process that results in the form “triglyceride.” Read your labels, and make sure that it’s a triglyceride form.
Another treatment offered may be LipiFlow. LipiFlow is the only FDA-approved device that combines heat with physical massage to liquefy and express the Meibomian gland contents, to help restore the lipid layer of the ocular surface. In a clinical study, 79% of patients reported improved overall dry eye symptoms within four weeks of a single LipiFlow treatment. LipiFlow Thermal Pulsation technology applies heat to the inner eyelids and gentle pressure, releasing lipids from the Meibomian glands. The procedure is fast, virtually painless, and takes place right in a doctor’s office. The process opens clogged oil glands that may be robbing your eye of vital lipids that aid in dry eye.