What is Dry Eye?
Dry eye is pretty much what it sounds like: an eye condition whereby the quantity or quality of tears is insufficient to lubricate the eyes. Symptoms include eyes that feel dry and uncomfortable, a gritty sensation in the eye, and redness. However, since dry eye is mostly descriptive, it tells us nothing about the cause. And, in fact, there are many possible causes of dry eye syndrome.
What causes Dry Eyes?
There are many potential factors that can be involved in dry eye syndrome. From environmental triggers and side effects of medications to systemic diseases and low grade eye infections, dry eye syndrome is not as simple as it seems.
When diagnosing dry eye at a dry eye exam your optometrist at Carteret Eyecare Associates takes all these aspects into account. Then we discuss dry eye treatment plans.
One of the most commonly treated – and severe – forms of dry eye syndrome is Meibomian Gland Dysfunction. Tears are made up of multiple components, and the meibomian glands secrete the oily lipid layer of the tear film. They can become obstructed, especially with blepharitis – a chronic, low grade eyelid infection – which results in poor quality tears that evaporate too quickly. Oftentimes, when the body senses poor quality tears, it overcompensates by producing more tears – so some people with dry eye syndrome have watery eyes, ironically. However, due to their poor quality, these watery eyes are still insufficiently lubricated, resulting in the classic eye irritation that characterizes dry eye syndrome.
New Dry Eye Treatment at Carteret Eyecare Associates
LipiFlow ® is a new treatment for dry eye that restores the lipid layer of the tear film, so the tears function better. Developed by TearScience, the sterile lid warmer and eyecup apply a combination of heat and pressure to the eyes for less than 15 minutes at a time, under constant monitoring by an eye doctor. The procedure is not painful, and enables the tear glands to secrete good quality tears. It is carried out in the optometrist’s office. This new procedure is only available at 5 practices in NJ. In Carteret, Woodbride, and Rahway, NJ LipiFlow ® is available at Carteret Eye Care Associates.
What’s the catch?
- Currently, most insurance plans do not cover LipiFlow ®.
- Some cases of dry eye do not respond well to LipiFlow ®. We do a full eye health analysis to determine whether a patient would be a good candidate for the procedure.
- Sometimes a person needs follow-up treatment or a combination of LipiFlow ® with other dry eye treatments.
For more information and to find out if LipiFlow ® is right for you, please speak with our optometrists at Carteret Eye Care Associates.
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