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Dry Eye Disease

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What is Dry Eye Disease?

Dry Eye Disease is complex and researchers are only scratching the surface. The root of Dry Eye Disease is a viscous cycle of inflammation due to a poor tear film. The tear film is either poor quality (not made of the right components) or poor quantity (not enough of it). The poor tear film causes damage to the ocular surface. 


If left untreated it will progressively worsen to caused consistent blurred vision and chronic eye pain and irritation.  

Approximately 30 million people in the US have Dry Eye Disease. This is believed to be grossly underestimated since many people self treat or they have not had a dedicated dry eye exam. 

Dry Eye Disease is most common in 50 years and older; however, we are seeing a sharp increase in younger populations due to excessive device and computer use. 

Symptoms of Dry Eye Disease:

 Consistent blurred vision, objects are never quite clear or distinct anymore

 Feeling of grit or sand in eyes

 Burning, stinging, irritation

 Spontaneous watering of eyes

 Tired or fatigued eyes

 Mucus/crusting upon waking

 Fluctuating vision

 Multiple pairs of glasses made which do not quite work correctly

 Loss of ocular sensation (Neurotrophic Keratitis)

Often people believe they have allergies or sinus issues affecting their eyes, when reality it is Dry Eye Disease. 

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What Happens If It Isn't Treated?

Dry Eye Disease will progress over time and worsen. It will never cause blindness, but it can lead to a significant decrease in quality in life. 

Multiple studies show Dry Eye Disease significantly impacts daily life and reduces work productivity. Dry Eye Disease is noted to be more impairing than migraine, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and many others.

Dry Eye Disease starts very mild at first, bothering the person infrequently. If not treated it becomes more frequent, to weekly, to daily. 

It is much easier to treat Dry Eye Disease in the earlier stages. Treating Dry Eye Disease in later stages can be successful, but will require months of therapy to control the inflammation.

What is a Dry Eye Disease Exam?

A Dry Eye Disease exam is dedicated to finding the cause of your dry eye. Did you know there are 9 different types of Dry Eye Disease! Nine! In order to effectively treat, we conduct an exam dedicated to find the cause. 

The exam will include: imaging your tear glands, quality and quantity of tear glands, eyelid structure and function, ocular surface damage and deformity, eyelash microbial and mite growth. 

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How To Treat? 

After a dedicated Dry Eye Exam is completed, your doctor will know which therapy is most effective at treating your type(s) of dry eye.

Prokera and Dehydrated Membranes

These are therapeutic devices made from amniotic membrane which has natural anti-inflammatory and anti-scarring properties. Prokera is FDA cleared device used by eye care practitioners to provide quick symptom relief and reduce inflammation associated with dry eye and neurotrophic keratitis. It helps restore your cornea and return your eye to a normal, healthy state. Relief can be felt in less than 5 days for each eye. 

Omega-3 Supplements

Majority of the oils found in out Meibomian glands are Omega-3; however, Americans severely lack in fish intake. Supplementation is recommended to maintain our Meibomian gland health. Not all fish oils are made alike. In fact, a vast majority of fish oils bought off the shelves are not absorbed into our gut properly and therefore do not provide any therapeutic benefit.  It takes 3 months of daily Omega-3 supplementation to feel relief. 

Light Therapy: LLLT and IPL

The goal of dry eye treatment is to crush the inflammation. Numerous studies have shown light therapy to be an effective and safe way to treat dry eye symptoms, keep Meibomian glands healthy and prevent the glands from further reducing. Relief is noted within 2-3 treatments.

Prescription Eye Drops


Some are more effective than others. Some are not accepted by insurance until after you show your insurance company you have tried their recommended treatment. Prescription eye drops can be effective, but require to you put in an eye drop twice a day, every day for the rest of your life. Also, prescription eye drops do not improve Meibomian glands. Relief can be as short as 8 weeks or as long as 6 months to begin working. 

Lid Hygiene

A daily cleaning system to reduce the bacterial load and mite load on your eyelids and eyelashes. There are many over the counter; however, there are only a few that are regarded to work effectively and safely.    

Other Therapies

There are many other therapies which your doctor can use. The above are some of the most common therapies. Your doctor at Life Vision Eyecare will discuss the best treatment for you.

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Nine Types of Dry Eye Disease

Aqueous Deficient Dry Eye

A reduction in the biochemical water layer of the tear film produced by the lacrimal gland. 

Evaporative Dry Eye

A reduction in the oil layer of the tear film usually due from loss of Meibomian glands. 

Mixed Dry Eye

A combination of Aqueous and Evaporative Dry Eye

Autoimmune Dry Eye

Originates from chronic inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren's Syndrome, Lupus, thyroid, and many others. 

Contact Lens-Induced Dry Eye

Contact lenses may disrupt the tear film, cause Meibomian gland loss or cause mechanical irritation to the ocular surface.

Environmental Dry Eye

Caused by ow humidity, wind, smoke, air pollution and prolonged exposure blowing air.

Neuropathic Dry Eye

This type of dry eye is often triggered by nerve traumas, becoming persistent over time. This condition often presents a formidable challenge to conventional dry eye syndrome treatments, with many patients experiencing limited relief.

Neurotrophic Dry Eye

Is a reduced or absent corneal sensitivity due to damage or dysfunction of the trigeminal nerve caused by prolonged and untreated Dry Eye Disease. The trigeminal nerve plays a crucial role in maintaining the health and integrity of the cornea by regulating the production of tears, blinking, and other protective mechanisms

Iatrogenic Dry Eye

Caused by medications and medical treatments, such as antihistamines, decongestants, chemotherapy, and laser eye surgery (e.g., LASIK)

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