Eyecare and Eye Tests
How Much is an Eye Test?
Contact Lens Exam
Glaucoma and Visual Fields Testing
Macular Degeneration Screening
Children's Eye Tests
Dry Eye Services
The front of our eyes is coated with a special moisture layer called the tear film. This layer serves a role in carrying nutrients to the front part of our eyes, maintaining a smooth surface for the eye to see through, and as a barrier to infection as this layer is replenished and replaced each time we blink.
Occasionally if the tear film does not work well, this can result in a condition called dry eyes. Dry eyes can come about if there is not enough moisture in the tear film, or if the moisture in the tear film evaporates too quickly. This results in an overall instability of the tear film and a flow on effect on our vision and the health of our eyes.
Having dry eyes can be described as having a gritty sensation in the eyes, similar to the feeling of having sand stuck in the eyes. As the tear film is not stable in dry eyes, occasionally the moisture is not held properly and can tend to run down like tears when we cry. If severe enough, our vision can also be affected with fluctuating blurriness as the tear film cannot maintain a smooth surface for us to see through.
The symptoms of dry eye syndrome include:
Dry eyes can also create a greater risk for eye infections and inflammation due to the loss of a working tear film in immune system of our eye. We blink at a rate of about three to five seconds normally, and that is how often we replace our tear film to wash away any debris or bugs that may have entered our eye from the air. If the tear film does not work properly, we may not be protecting our eyes from these bugs and risk infection or inflammation. Also, if there is not enough moisture in the tear film, it can cause damage to the cells of the cornea, the front surface of the eye. Cellular damage on the cornea is similar to a cut on our skin; just like a wound where if a germ was to enter it may cause infection and/or inflammation.
There are many things that may affect dry eyes, but mostly dry eyes are affected a lot from the environment we're in. Air conditioning or windy conditions cause a fluctuation in the humidity in the air, and that can affect the regulation of the moisture in the tear film. Sometimes a change in the season can bring on a bout of dry eye. Computer or tablet use can also worsen dry eyes as we tend to blink at a less frequent rate when we're on these devices. Women also are more likely to be susceptible to dry eyes due to hormone make up.
Unfortunately at this point,there is no known cure for dry eyes. However there are many ways we can use to control its symptoms, manage the condition and to improve quality of life. These methods include but are not limited to using lubricating eye drops, using medicated eye drops, and/or steam goggle treatment.
The tear film in the eyes is very unique and has a very special composition. Every layer in it has to be correct for the eyes to be working perfectly and not cause dry eye symptoms. The bottom most layer is composed of mucin, a sticky layer that anchors the rest of the tear film to the eye. The next layer is the watery aqueous layer which provides much needed moisture but is also rich in the nutrients that the eye needs. The top most layer is the oily lipid layer that holds everything down to keep it from evaporating. The oil in the lipid layer is made by your eyes' meibomian glands, small microscopic glands at the base of your eyelashes. In people who have dry eyes, it is common for people to have a deficiency in the watery layer of their eyes, or chronic blockage of their meibomian glands and hence a deficiency in their lipid layer, or sometimes both problems simultaneously. Every layer in the tear film has to be in appropriate quantities to work in perfect harmony so that there are no dry eye symptoms.
Depending on the severity and type of dry eyes you have, theeyecarecompany optometrist may prescribe eye drops to help relieve the symptoms of dry eyes. These eye drops may also be medicated to assist in controlling the tear film stability. Always follow the instructions given by your eyecarecompany optometrist for the dosage for the eye drops to ensure optimal effectiveness in its use.
You may also be prescribed steam goggle treatment by theeyecarecompany optometrists. This involves directly rehydrating eyes that have a deficiency in the watery component of their tear film. Gentle heat is also applied at correct temperature, then a gentle massage after Steam goggle treatment has been proven to give long-lasting relief from certain forms of dry eye even after its first treatment application. This procedure is non-surgical and non invasive.
There can sometimes be many and multiple causes for dry eye. Occasionally, dry eye syndrome also has an autoimmune or inflammatory cause that needs medical attention. If this occurs, your optometrist at theeyecarecompany will work together with your general practitioner and refer you to the appropriate specialists to attain the best management plan for your condition(s). This will be determined when you come in for an eye exam and dry eye assessment with us.
Getting assessed for dry eyes is simple and easy. You can either visit one of our practices or call us to make an appointment, or even make an appointment online now.