What is dry eye?
I get this question a lot. Dry eyes are not just a symptom, in fact, it is a medical condition. There was a great study involving 150 clinical and basic research experts from around the world, who used an evidence-based approach and a process of open communication, dialogue and transparency to achieve a global consensus concerning multiple aspects of dry eye disease. It is called the DEWS II report, which defines dry eye disease as a multifactorial disease of the ocular surface characterized by loss of homeostasis of the tear film, and accompanied by ocular symptoms, in which tear film instability and hyperosmolarity, ocular surface inflammation and damage, and neurosensory abnormalities play etiological roles.
That's a mouthful! But that is why treating dry eye is complicated and often necessitates a multifactorial approach.
What causes dry eye?
Prescribed or over-the-counter medicines (e.g., antihistamines, antidepressants, Accutane®, birth control, blood pressure medications, etc.)
Dry air, dry climate, or air conditioning
Chronic eyelid disease
Screen time, poor blinking
Some chronic health conditions (e.g., Thyroid dysfunction, Sjögren’s, Rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus, Crohns’…)
Is there a treatment?
There are many treatments available for different stages of dry eye. Your doctors at Eyes on Avenue follow the guidelines established DEWS II, many of which recommendations involve:
Education and lifestyle modification
Artificial tears (preserved or non-preserved)
Oral essential fatty acid supplementation
Tear conservation (punctalocclusion, moisture chamber goggles)
In-office heating and expression of meibomian glands (lipiflow)
Prescription topical and/or oral medications
Therapeutic contact lenses