Dry eye is describing the symptoms (burning, redness, sandy gritty feeling, and contact lens intolerance) of tear film instability. Essentially, this means your eyes are not necessarily “dry”. They have a tear film that evaporates quickly or does not functionally protect and lubricate your eye. This is primarily due to meibomian gland dysfunction, or more simply put, your eyelids are not functioning properly and secreting the portion of the tear film that stops evaporation. This calls for specialized dry eye treatment to bring relief.
Inflammation and Obstruction
The root cause of the eyelids not working properly is inflammation of the eyelids and subsequent obstruction of the glands. Inflammation is often from an abundance of bacteria on the lids and lashes. The obstruction is from the swelling of eyelids which closes the gland openings. When the glands are “closed” the fluid inside will go from an oil consistency to a thicker “toothpaste” consistency.
Specialized Treatments Exist
Now that you know the cause, it does not take an optometrist to tell you dry eye treatment requires reducing inflammation and obstruction. However, how you do this is where your eye doctors expertise, advanced technology, and treatments will make them an invaluable resource. Your eye doctor should do more than say: wash your lids, do warm compresses, or just use artificial tears. This is beyond basic and represents older ways of treating this problem.
Advanced Therapies: ZEST Treatment
The first advanced therapy is called a ZEST treatment to the lids and lashes. This is a deep cleaning of your eyelid margins that not only kills the bacteria that is causing the inflammation. It also removes the biofilm layer that sits on your eyelid margin and obstructs the glands. This is a key step in my treatment protocol because at home cleaning methods pale in comparison to this deep targeted cleaning technique. This makes your at home regimes more effective and the procedure only lasts about 5 minutes. It is quick, effective, and very well tolerated.
For dry eye treatment, I always pair the ZEST treatment with a targeted heat therapy of the eyelids. One of my favorite methods of targeted heat therapy is TearCare. It lasts about 15 minutes, allows normal eye function, and has a spa like feel to the treatment. The purpose of this device is to turn the contents of the eyelid glands back into the liquid oil consistency that is easily secreted and restores tear film stability. In addition, it removes any built up inflammatory material the bacteria on the lids were releasing, which will restore normal eyelid function.
Long Lasting Effects
As you can see this two step treatment will address the obstruction and inflammation components that have been causing your symptoms. I always customize therapies to an individual’s needs. However, in most cases these treatments will have long lasting effects relieving your symptoms and reduce the amount of at home maintenance you have to do. Click here to schedule your dry eye evaluation today and get lasting relief!