Dry / Gritty Eyes
Sore, burning, gritty or even watery eyes are symptoms of ocular surface disease, also referred to as dry eye disease.
Dry eyes are a pain!
What causes dry eyes?
Eyes get dry if they are not sufficiently lubricated. There are three main factors that play a role in keeping the eyes moist:
1. Tear production
Watery part of the tear film is produced by the lacrimal gland. Insufficient production of tears from the lacrimal gland can be due to age or particular medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or certain medications.
2. Quick tear evaporation
The tear film that covers the surface of the eye is very thin. To prevent it from evaporating between blinks, a thin oily layer covers the surface of the tear film. This oil is produced by the oily glands around the eye. Most of the oil comes from Meibomian glands which are arranged vertically within the eyelid and open just behind the eyelashes. In many people, these glands are not functioning well and there is insufficient oil to prevent tear evaporation.
3. The eyelids
The eyelids spread the tear film across the surface of the eye with each blink. If the eyelids are not closing properly or if the blink is too infrequent or inadequate, the tear film will not be adequately distributed across the surface of the eye.
What is the treatment for dry eye?
Treatment will depend on the underlying cause and severity of symptoms.
For mild symptoms, over-the-counter lubricating drops and gels can be used as directed.
For more severe symptoms, oral medication and prescription eye drops are required. Some patients benefit from occlusion of the tear drainage pathway with a punctual plug.
The function of the Meiboimian glands can be improved with specific types of antibiotics and use of hot compresses and massage.
Blephasteam is one of the most effective and safe in-office treatments that improve the function of Meibomian glands. It is also a quick and convenient treatment for busy people who struggle to do regular hot compresses and lid message at home.
IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) is the latest in technological advances in dry eye treatment.
IPL technology uses intense light of a particular wavelength that targets the abnormal capillary blood vessels that are implicated in the inflammatory response around the Meibomian glands. The heat generated by the light treats these blood vessels, heats the glands from within the eyelid and possibly stimulates the autonomic nerve endings that regulate the rate of production of the oils. IPL may be particularly beneficial for patients with Rosacea.