Dry Eye Treatment
Dry eye is a common condition that millions of Americans experience at some point during their lives. Poor tear film layer resulting in dry eye leads to irritation and can even damage the eyes if left untreated. Fortunately, there are several ways to treat dry eye syndrome at EyeSight Hawaii in Honolulu and Maui, HI.
What is Dry Eye?
Dry eye disease occurs when there is not enough moisture present on the surface of the eyes. This is due to insufficient tear production or rapid tear evaporation (evaporative dry eye). Your eyes need sufficient moisture to keep them comfortable and functional.
Your body produces the water component of tears to cover the surface of the eyes and an oil layer to prevent evaporation. Tears perform many essential functions, including keeping the surface of the eyes moist and washing away impurities. When you have dry eye syndrome, these functions may be compromised, leading to a range of issues.
Tears consist of two main components: oil and water. Sometimes, there is a problem with one or more of your tear components, and this can result in dry eye. Almost 90% of the time there is a lack of oil produced by the 50-60 tiny Meibomian Glands along the eyelid margin. This oil acts to keep the tears from evaporating, which can happen in 3-5 seconds. If untreated, these glands can close permanently causing long term dry eyes.
Symptoms of Dry Eye
Many people get dry eye when they are exposed to wind, cold air, dry air, or smoke. This happens often on airplanes, in air-conditioned rooms, and outdoors while engaging in activities like running, cycling, and sailing.
Dry eye can also occur when you have been staring at a computer screen or TV for too long. This may be because you blink less when you are focusing.
There are a number of conditions and situations that might make you more susceptible to dry eye. These include:
- Aging (50+)
- Wearing contact lenses
- Vitamin A deficiency
- Autoimmune conditions like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis
- Certain medications including antihistamines, birth control, and hormone replacement therapies
- Women who are pregnant or going through menopause
- Clogged meibomian glands (located on the edge of the eyelids)
Do I Need a Doctor Consultation for Dry Eye?
When it comes to your eyes, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Dry eye is a condition that can become chronic and progressive. If not treated quickly, dry eye may cause damage to your corneas (the outer layer of your eyes). If you suspect you have dry eye, you should make an appointment to see an eye doctor as soon as possible.
Diagnosing Dry Eye
A typical consultation for dry eye starts with an optometrist or ophthalmologist asking you a series of questions about your symptoms and environment prior to the symptoms developing. Then they will do an eye exam where they check your eyelids and the surface of your eyes. The eye specialist may do a dilated eye exam where they put drops in your eyes and check for any issues.
Benefits of a Dry Eye Consultation
A doctor can determine whether you have dry eye or a different issue and suggest a range of treatments to alleviate the symptoms and stop your dry eye from getting worse. This can help prevent infections and damage to your corneas. It can also improve your quality of life by making it easier to perform day-to-day tasks like reading, driving, and working at your computer.
How is Dry Eye Treated?
Treatments for dry eye will vary depending on how severe your case is. Some doctors may suggest over-the-counter eye drops that lubricate the eyes or give you a prescription for medications that will help combat inflammation and encourage the body to produce more natural tears. But some of the most important therapies involve treatment of the eyelids and Meibomian Glands including:
- Lipiflow treatment
- Dry Eye Products (vitamins, eye compresses, lid hygiene solutions and sprays, and more)
Dry Eye Recovery
The amount of time it will take you to recover from dry eye depends on a number of factors. The more severe your case, the longer it may take to recover. Many patients have had long term blocked oil glands which will take weeks and often months
A humidifier can add moisture to the air and prevent your eyes from drying out. In addition, you can speed up your recovery by wearing glasses instead of contact lenses and taking frequent breaks when you’re on your computer for long stretches of time.
What Patients Say
Frequently Asked Questions
Symptoms of dry eye include dry, red, itchy, or burning eyes and sometimes blurred vision. However, these can also be symptoms of other conditions. The best thing to do if you think you have dry eye is to book an appointment with an eye specialist.
Dry eye treatments can alleviate the symptoms of dry eye and prevent it from getting worse or turning into a chronic condition. However, because the problem is often caused by outside factors, there is always a chance that you could experience dry eye at some later point in the future.
The cost of dry eye treatment varies depending on the severity of your case and what medications or products are needed to clear up your symptoms. An eye specialist can advise you on treatment options and pricing.
There are a number of things you can do to lessen your chances of getting dry eye. Most importantly is cleaning and massaging the eyelid margins to prevent blockage of Meibomian Glands. Other things include using a humidifier, taking breaks from long periods of reading or working on the computer, using glasses instead of contacts, and avoiding activities where air may blow directly in your eyes.
About EyeSight Hawaii
EyeSight Hawaii is the leading specialist in dry eye, cataracts, LASIK surgery, and cornea surgery in Hawaii. Founded by chief surgeon John D. Olkowski, M.D, EyeSight Hawaii has been serving patients for over 20 years, offering the latest technology and most advanced procedures. If you’re seeking dry eye treatment in Hawaii, you can read more and schedule an appointment here.
Contact Us Today
Are you suffering from dry eye or other vision-related problems? EyeSight Hawaii is Hawaii’s Dry Eye Center of Excellence. Contact our offices in Honolulu or Kahului to find out more about dry eye. Our experienced team of specialists can provide treatments for dry eye and advise you on the best practices to keep your eyes healthy, improve your vision, and enhance your overall quality of life.