Evaluation and Treatment for Dry Eye Disease
Dry eye disease is a common condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Dry eye disease, also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca, is a condition in which the eyes do not produce enough tears, or the tears produced are of poor quality, leading to dryness, itching, and discomfort. This can cause damage to the surface of the eye and can lead to vision problems if left untreated.
Your tears are a complex mixture of water, oils, and mucus that are produced by the lacrimal gland, located above the outer corner of the eye. They are essential for maintaining the health of the surface of the eye, and they help to protect the eye from infection and injury.
Tears are made up of three layers:
- The outermost layer is the lipid (oil) layer, produced by the meibomian glands. This layer helps to prevent evaporation of the tears and keeps the surface of the eye smooth.
- The middle layer is the aqueous (water) layer, and contains water, electrolytes, and various proteins, such as lysozyme, which have an antimicrobial effect.
- The innermost layer is the mucus layer. This layer helps to spread the tears evenly over the surface of the eye, and it helps to anchor the tear film to the surface of the eye.
When the eye is closed, the tears flow over the surface of the eye, spreading the tear film over the entire cornea and conjunctiva, and then drain away into the lacrimal duct. When the eye is open, the tear film is continually replenished, and the blinking of the eyelids helps to spread the tears over the surface of the eye.
What causes dry eye disease?
Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) is a common cause of dry eye disease. The meibomian glands are in the eyelids and are responsible for producing the oily layer of the tear film, which helps to prevent evaporation of the tears. When these glands become blocked or malfunction, they can no longer produce the necessary oily layer, causing the tears to evaporate too quickly.
Other common causes of dry eye include environmental factors such as prolonged screen time, exposure to wind or dry air, and certain medications, such as antihistamines, antidepressants, and certain blood pressure medications. Age is also a risk factor for dry eye as the ability to produce tears decreases with age.
What are the symptoms of dry eye disease?
Symptoms of dry eye disease can vary from person to person, but common symptoms include:
- A feeling of dryness, itching, or burning in the eyes
- Soreness or pain in the eyes
- Redness of the eyes
- Blurred vision
- Sensitivity to light
- A stringy or sticky discharge from the eyes
- The feeling of something in the eye (foreign body sensation)
- Eyelid inflammation, or swollen eyes
- Increased tear production (watery eyes)
- Difficulty wearing contact lenses
- Heavy eyelids
- Difficulty reading or prolonged computer use
Evaluation for dry eye disease
If you are experiencing symptoms of dry eye disease, it is important to be fully evaluated by an eye doctor who can diagnose dry eye disease and determine the underlying cause for it. The eye doctors at Lighthouse Vision in Milford, CT, have the diagnostic technology and expertise necessary to diagnose and treat dry eye disease, leading to good outcomes for patients.
Treatment for dry eye disease
At Lighthouse Vision, we offer OptiLight by Lumenis, a targeted treatment for dry eye disease due to meibomian gland dysfunction in our office.
Optilight by Lumenis
OptiLight uses precise, intense broad-spectrum light to address signs of dry eye disease due to meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD).
MGD is the most common cause of dry eye disease, accounting for about 86% of cases. The treatment addresses inflammation, which is one of the key underlying factors in MGD. OptiLight was specifically developed to reach the delicate contours of the treated area safely, effectively, and gently using the OPT™ technology. It is intended for use in patients who are at least 22 years old, together with other available treatments, such as meibomian gland expression, artificial tear lubricants, and warm compresses.
Lumenis’ patented technology OPT™ (Optimal Pulse Technology) transforms the use of light and allows targeted, uniform, precise, and controlled treatment. Specifically designed for the delicate area below the eye, OPT™ safely and effectively breaks the vicious cycle of inflammation associated with dry eye.
Treatment protocol typically consists of 4 sessions, at 2 to 4 weeks apart:
- During treatment, your practitioner will cover your eyes with shields and apply a thin layer of coupling gel on the treatment area.
- During treatment, light is applied on the skin below the eyes, most patients report minimal discomfort.
- OptiLight is followed by meibomian gland expression.
- Each session takes only 10-15 minutes. There is no downtime, you can resume your daily activities immediately.
Schedule an evaluation for dry eye at Lighthouse Vision
If you have been feeling the painful, irritating symptoms of dry eye disease, book an appointment for an evaluation for dry eye at Lighthouse Vision in Milford, CT. You don’t need to live with these symptoms! We will fully evaluate your eye health and create a customized treatment plan for your dry eye.