Dry eye syndrome is one of the most common ailments in the world. Dry eye usually involves inadequate tear production and or inflammation on the surface of the eye or eyelids. Patients with dry eye may have the following symptoms: fluctuating/decreased vision, irritation, redness, eye pain and tearing. Risk factors for dry eye include hormonal factors, contact lens usage, certain medical conditions, prior eye surgeries and environmental factors.
Our ophthalmologists at Physicians Eye Care Center are very experienced in diagnosing and treating dry eye syndrome. At our accredited dry eye center of excellence we use advanced diagnostics made available by the new TearLab Osmolarity system. This technology assists us in quantitatively measuring the extent of ocular dryness as well as it helps in monitoring treatment response.
The mainstay of traditional dry eye treatment was artificial tear supplementation. At Physicians Eye Care we are utilizing a whole host of modern treatment modalities to help tailor dry eye treatment to each individual patient. Below are some of the advanced treatments commonly used at our dry eye center:
Topical steroids, Restasis and Xiidra are all medications that are used to control inflammation on the surface of the eye and improve tear film.
Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown in numerous recent studies to improve tear film quality and provide symptomatic relief to dry eye sufferers.
Eyelid heat is helpful in the treatment of blepharitis which is a significant cause of ocular dryness. Eyelid heat is best applied using a heat mask that is able to stay warm for at least several minutes at a time. The EyeEco Dry Eye Relief Mask (DERM) is available for purchase at Physicians Eye Care Center.
Punctal plugs are microscopic inserts placed in the tear drainage duct that allow more tear coverage on the surface of the eye. Punctal plug placement is performed in the office and takes only a few minutes.
Meibomian Gland Expression
Blepharitis is a condition involving clogged meibomian glands (which are essentially oil glands) along the eyelid margin. When these glands get clogged, there is inflammation on the surface of the eye resulting in dry eye syndrome. When eyelid heat at home is not enough to unclog your oil glands, we can perform a brief in-office procedure called meibomian gland expression. The procedure consists of heating the eyelids for about 10 minutes. This is followed by your physician using a small handheld device to gently unclog and rejuvenate your oil glands. This procedure has improved quality of life for many of our dry eye sufferers.
Amniotic Membrane Placement
An amniotic membrane is a biologic treatment that has potent regenerative powers. Physicians Eye Care has several different types of amniotic membranes and we utilize these to reduce inflammation and promote a healthy ocular surface.
Autologous Serum Tears
In certain situations your ophthalmologist at Physicians Eye Care Center may prescribe autologous serum tears. Because these tears are derived from your own blood they contain restorative growth factors that are not available in other eye drops that allow your ocular surface to function in a physiologic manner. Our dry eye center partners with the Hunt Valley Compounding Pharmacy to deliver our patients this innovative therapy.