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The Dry Eye Center

Dry, scratchy, irritated eyes are among the most common complaints encountered by eye doctors. These symptoms, better known as “dry eye syndrome,” can be a constant source of discomfort and can greatly impact your quality of life.

Once very limited, diagnostic technology for dry eye has progressed significantly in recent years bringing with it a wave of revolutionary new treatment options. Instead of simply aiming to mask the symptoms, The Dry Eye Center is one of the only area centers to specialize in identifying the unique source of your condition and creating a customized treatment plan based on YOUR specific needs.

What is dry eye?

Dry eye is actually a single component of a lesser known, broader condition called ocular surface disease, or OSD. While OSD can have a wide variety of causes, dry eye in particular is a chronic disease that generally occurs when the eye does not produce tears properly or when the tears are not of the correct consistency and evaporate too quickly.

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What are common dry symptoms?

  • Excess tearing
  • Burning
  • Itching
  • Redness
  • Irritation
  • Pain
  • Sensation of something being in the eye
  • Fluctuation in vision throughout the day
  • Vision that improves with squeezing the eyes or blinking

What causes dry eye?

  • Aging
  • Menopause
  • Lack of sleep
  • Not drinking enough water
  • Not blinking enough
  • Dry or windy environments
  • Smoking
  • Heavy makeup use
  • Contact lens use
  • Use of a CPAP
  • Prior eye surgery (LASIK, cataract, eyelid, etc.)
  • Systemic conditions (rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disease, Sjogren’s syndrome, diabetes)
  • Certain medications
  • Eye drops that “get the red out”
  • Glaucoma medications
  • Overuse of preserved artificial tears or allergy drops

What is Blepharitis?

Blepharitis is one of the most common causes of dry eye. It is an inflammation of the meibomian glands (glands at the base of the lashes that produce the oil that keep the tears on the eyes). Over time these glands can become clogged with dirt, oil, debris from make-up, etc. Once they are clogged, the tears are no longer the correct consistency to coat the eye. In addition, this can lead to “styes”.

How does The Dry Eye Center diagnose and treat dry eye?

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At Center for Total Eye Care, Dr. Brittany Eaton and Dr. Uriel Young specialize in identifying and treating dry eye. Diagnosis generally involves measuring the quantity and quality of your tears. They use a wide range of state-of-the-art tests to look for damaged cells and dry spots on the surface of your cornea. The position and function of your eyelids will also be examined to make sure there are no problems with tear distribution. If dry eye is identified, your doctor will talk you through all of your treatment options before making the best recommendation for you. Your treatment may include one or a combination of the following:

  • BlephEx
  • MiBoFlo
  • Warm Compresses
  • Artificial Tears/Gels/Ointments
  • Punctal Plugs
  • Lid Scrubs
  • Omega 3 Vitamins (PRN Dry Eye Omega)
  • Blinking Exercises
  • Sleep Goggles or Masks
  • Moisture Chamber Goggles
  • Changing Skincare Regimen and/or Makeup
  • Prescription Eye Drops
  • Oral Antibiotics
  • Scleral Contact Lenses
  • Amniotic Membranes
  • Oral Antibiotics

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Dry Eye FAQs

Why do some eyes tear when they are dry?

This may happen because the meibomian glands are not properly functioning, so the tears are running down the cheek instead of staying on the eye. Or, if your eyes became irritated, the lacrimal gland may produce excess reflex tearing to soothe your eyes. However, these excess tears are not the correct consistency to provide lubrication for the eyes.

How do tears work?

Tears are made up of three layers: 

Mucin layer: This is the base layer of tears. It works like a glue to keep tears on the eye.

Water layer: This is the middle layer of tears and is produced by the lacrimal gland, which sits above the outer part of your top eyelid.

Oil layer: This is the outer layer that helps prevent tears from evaporating. It is produced by the meibomian glands (located at the base of the eyelashes).If any of these tear layers are not working properly, it can cause dry eye.

What can I expect at my dry eye exam?

  1. A thorough review of your medical history
  2. Testing for tear quantity and quality
  3. Testing for the presence of inflammatory markers in tears
  4. A thorough exam of your eyelids, eyelashes, eyelid glands, conjunctiva, and cornea
  5. A treatment plan tailored to you
  6. A follow-up appointment to monitor your progress

Ready to schedule a dry eye exam?

Are your symptoms due to a lack of tears, poor tear quality, allergies, or something else all together? Our team of dry eye experts is here, at both Center for Total Eye Care locations, to help you enjoy life without dry eye symptoms.

Take the Dry Eye Quiz, then call 410-876-3333 to schedule an eye exam at The Dry Eye Center.

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