The first step in dealing with dry eye is to reach a conclusive diagnosis. Since symptoms can overlap with other conditions such as digital eye strain, self-diagnosing can lead to incorrect treatment methods and possibly a prolonging of symptoms.
Modern diagnostic equipment is used to confirm your diagnosis and assess its severity. The Schirmer test evaluates the amount of tear production from your eyes by placing small strips of paper under your lower eyelids. Another technique involves using special eye drops to assess the surface of your eyeball, looking at how quickly tears evaporate and unusual patterns on the cornea.
We also employ an exceptional technology called InflammaDry which detects MMP-9, a crucial marker of dry eye disease. It is a quick, in-office test which is proven to simplify the diagnostic process with results generated in only 10 minutes.
Treatment for dry eye is all about re-hydrating the body and, specifically, lubricating the eye itself.
Cornea inflammation can trigger dry eye symptoms, and restasis is immuno-suppressant eye drop which calms the surface of your eye.
Scientifically known as hydroxypropyl cellulose, this is a soluble small tablet (about the size of a grain of rice) which is placed inside your lower eyelid. The insert will slowly dissolve, re-hydrating and lubricating your eye.
Available as eye drops or pills, these generate artificial tears – again, this should help lubricate the eye and alleviate symptoms.
By partially or fully closing the tear ducts, your eyes will harbour tears for a longer period of time, improving overall lubrication. A more permanent alternative would be thermal cautery, where your ducts are closed through local heating.
These are designed to trap moisture and protect your eye’s surface.
The TearLab Osmolarity System is intended to measure the osmolarity of human tears to aid in the diagnosis of dry eye.
This unblocks your meibomian (oil) glands and can help with tear production.
A more experimental option, light therapy involves a combination of intensely pulsating light and gentle massage of the eyelids. Studies suggest it has good success in reducing symptoms.
Another example is BlephEx, a unique treatment which removes minute debris and irritants from your eyeball and inner eyelids. Since this debris can lead to dry eye, we employ it as a preventative measure to help limit the disease itself, not simply managing symptoms.
These are just some of the ways we can attempt to treat dry eye symptoms. There are also environmental changes you can make at home, maintaining a fluid-rich diet and Dr. Armstrong’s custom-created dry eye therapy.
At Richard and Armstrong Optometry, we’ve been diagnosing and treating dry eye patients for nearly 40 years. In fact, we are now recognized specialists in the diseases, offering superior eye care that benefits from our experience.
If you think you might be suffering from dry eye, then just give us a call and we’ll book you in for an eye exam. We love meeting new patients and fellow members of the Greenwood community, so don’t struggle in silence!
We are located near the corner of W Smith Valley Rd and US 31, east of the Greenwood High School and post office.