Dry eye syndrome (DES or keratoconjunctivitis) affects over 350 million people. This is a disappointing statistic from the WHO, and it only applies to those who consult an ophthalmologist.
Natural tear secretion is extremely important to the human eye. It moistens the cornea and creates a unique protective film. It flushes foreign microparticles out of the eye and naturally moisturizes the visual organs.
Tears are secreted by the meibomian glands, which are located near the eye. When the glands are disturbed, tear secretion is restricted and the eye dries out.
In addition to meibomian gland dysfunction, DES can also be caused by other reasons:
- Rare blinking. This happens if a person stares at a monitor for a long time.
- Regular use of contact lenses, especially wearing them continuously. In such a case, the cornea hardly gets any moisture, so it is vital to take them off at night.
- Vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Taking vitamin A and fatty acids is important for the visual organs.
- Taking medications such as hormones, hypotensives, antibiotics, and others.
- Unacceptable environmental conditions for the eye involve smoke, wind, dry air.
- DES may develop temporarily after eye surgery.
Keratoconjunctivitis causes unpleasant symptoms in the eyes:
- Dryness and itching;
- Redness and irritation;
- Shadows in front of the eyes;
- Feeling of a foreign body in the eye.
If these symptoms are frequent, you should see an ophthalmologist and undergo treatment.
Treatment methods for dry eye syndrome
Traditionally, 4 methods have been used to treat DES:
- Regulating the external environment, if possible. For example, avoid excessive indoor dryness, stay inside when it’s windy, and try to avoid places exposed to smoke.
- Eye exercises. This may also include massage. Ask your ophthalmologist for a memo about eye exercises, and don’t neglect them during breaks when working at the computer.
- Taking vitamins and minerals developed to nourish your eyes. Ask your ophthalmologist which remedies are right for you.
- Using “artificial tears.” These are drops to provide extra hydration, but sometimes they should not be used.
To choose the best treatment option, you should have a complete eye exam.
DES Treatment at Eximer Ophthalmology Clinic
Eximer Ophthalmology Clinic offers a unique solution for patients with dry eye syndrome. This is the OptiClear laser treatment using revolutionary technology.
It is a device from the Alma Lasers of Israel, the world’s leading manufacturer of equipment with IPL technology. OptiClear is based on intense pulsed light therapy (IPL). This means that IPL Xenon technology restores the function of the meibomian glands by eliminating the cause of the disease.
OptiClear working principle
Intense pulses of xenon light act on chromophores, which are substances that absorb radiation of different wavelengths such as melanin, hemoglobin, and oxyhemoglobin. Thus:
- Stagnation in the gland stops;
- Tears are secreted and normally circulated;
- Inflammation decreases;
- Blood circulation in the eye area is improved.
How many sessions do I need?
The usual course consists of 4 sessions once a month. The effect lasts about 12 months.
This technology has several major advantages over traditional treatment methods:
- Promptness. One procedure lasts up to 30 minutes.
- Convenience. Manipulations do not require additional preparation, so you can undergo the procedure without taking your mind off your work.
- It affects the very cause of DES, so the noticeable effect is retained for a long time.
- Cosmetic and health-improving effect. This is an additional effect of the device. Inflammation of the eyelids disappears, vascular networks are reduced, and the skin maintains its tone.
The procedure itself is performed on the meibomian gland area, on the lower eyelid.
The procedure is as follows:
- Cleansing the skin.
- Protecting the eyes with special glasses.
- Applying cooling gel to the bridge of the nose and eyelids.
- Exposure to 15-20 pulses from one earlobe to the other. During the treatment, the patient may feel a slight tingling sensation.
- Eyelid examination and expression (extrusion) of meibomian gland secretion.
Medical consultation about eye care after the procedure, discussion of possible side effects. They are extremely rare and resolve on their own.
Eye care after DES treatment
|Product||Use per day||Duration of use|
|Tobradex drops||1 drop 4 times a day||for 4-5 days|
|Blefaklin wipes for wiping the eyelids||2 times a day||for 10 days|
|Moisturizing with Thealoz Duo||drops 1 drop 3 times a day||between treatments|
|Moisturizing cream with SPF 30-50 protective factors under the eyes and on the bridge of the nose||Before going outdoors||for 7 days|
The regimen can be adjusted by the doctor and may depend on the individual characteristics of the patient. Avoid self-medication!
Dry eye syndrome is a common and often chronic problem. Earlier, such discomfort was mostly experienced by the elderly, but in the current environment, this disease no longer makes any allowance for age. Today, every third patient sees an ophthalmologist complaining of dry and red eyes.
What are the symptoms of dry eye syndrome?
People with a problem like dry eye syndrome can experience dry and irritated eyes, foreign body sensations, and blurred vision.
There may be such symptoms:
- Red eyes.
- Burning sensation.
- Light sensitivity.
- Blurred vision.
- Foreign body sensations.
- Problems with driving at night.
- Lacrimation as the body’s response to dry eye irritation.
Dry eye syndrome in one eye is a rarer occurrence, most often both eyes are affected.
Causes of dry eye syndrome
In most cases, dry eye syndrome is caused by meibomian (sebaceous) glands dysfunction. Why does this happen? The glands fail to secrete enough lubricant, which in turn leads to a disorder in the lipid layer of the tear film. This disorder causes the tear to evaporate quickly from the cornea surface and the eye feels dry.
What other possible causes of this condition?
- Hormonal changes,
- Autoimmune diseases,
- Eyelid inflammation,
- Allergic eye disease.
Sometimes, dry eyes are caused by decreased tear secretion or increased tear evaporation.
Dry eye syndrome diagnosis
Each patient should undergo a complete initial diagnosis by an ophthalmologist before treatment.
Additional tests are also performed:
— Tear production test (Schirmer test);
— Tear film rupture time determination (Norn test).
Based on these indicators, the doctor determines the severity of dry eye syndrome and prescribes treatment.
If you have been experiencing the signs and symptoms of dry eyes for a long time, you should visit an ophthalmologist. Dry eye diagnosis will reveal whether there are more serious conditions hiding behind these signs.
Dry eye syndrome in women
Dry eye syndrome is a condition that many women are familiar with. The main reason is related to hormonal changes that occur in women throughout their lives.
Causes of dry eye syndrome in women:
- Fluctuations in estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone levels affect tear quality and secretion. In particular, high estrogen and low testosterone levels contribute to the development of dry eye syndrome (DES).
- Women taking oral contraceptives can also experience this disease. A decrease in sex hormones is the cause, which affects the number of tears and the quality of the tear film.
- Hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause dry eye syndrome in women as well, forcing expectant mothers to forgo eye makeup or contact lenses due to increased sensitivity.
- Eye makeup such as mascara and eyeliner may pose an increased risk of developing dry eyes because of the irritating ingredients found in these products. Makeup removers often contain oil and harsh chemicals that affect the quality of the tear film, causing premature tear evaporation.
Dry eye syndrome treatment in children
This condition is rare in children, but it causes just as much pain in them as it does in adults.
Dry eye syndrome can make it difficult for children to do well in school, and constant blinking can impede concentration in class. To help alleviate this condition, there are several steps you can take.
Dry eye syndrome treatment for children at home:
- Ask your child about wearing sunglasses to protect against wind, dust, and the scorching sun.
- Use a humidifier in the child’s room.
- Avoid placing a fan near your child’s bed.
- If your child wears contact lenses, let him/her use moisturizing drops.
- Use artificial tears (without preservatives) regularly.
- Avoid smoking in front of children.
In addition to these tips, be sure to have your child seen by an ophthalmologist to determine the cause of the condition and prescribe treatment.
Dry eye syndrome consequences
People affected by dry eyes experience constant discomfort and distress in their daily activities, but the condition can bring even more serious complications.
Dry eye syndrome consequences:
- Eye infections. Tears protect the eye surface from infection. Lacking enough tears, a person’s natural protective barrier decreases, and the risk of eye infections increases.
- Eye surface damage. If left untreated, severe dry eyes can lead to inflammation, drying of the cornea, ulcers, and even vision loss.
- Reduced quality of life. Dry eyes can make it difficult to perform everyday activities, such as reading.
Laser treatment of dry eye syndrome
Clogging of the meibomian glands is the most common cause of the condition. Scientists have come up with a revolutionary solution to restore their function: the IPL machine, which treats the glands with high-intensity pulsed light. Sometimes patients are misled, saying it’s a laser treatment for dry eye syndrome. But in fact, the therapeutic effect derives from exposing the glands to high-intensity pulsed light. The source of this light is a xenon lamp.
Dry eye syndrome after laser vision correction
Initially, dry and red eyes may be observed after the laser vision correction. Such discomfort is usually observed until the cornea heals completely.
Therefore, during the first months after the laser correction, an artificial tear is prescribed to keep the eye surface moist. As the cornea recovers, the drops are no longer necessary and the person can enjoy his/her usual life.
Dry eye syndrome prevention
If you are constantly experiencing dry eyes, pay attention to the situations likely to cause these symptoms and try to avoid them.
Dry eye syndrome prevention
- Avoid hot air in your eyes. Do not point hair dryers, car heaters, air conditioners, or fans at your eyes.
- Use indoor humidifiers, especially during the winter heating season.
- Take breaks when reading or performing another task requiring visual concentration.
- Avoid smoky rooms; the smoke can exacerbate dry eye symptoms.
- Use artificial tear drops on long flights or trips.
- Wear quality sunglasses with 100% UV protection.