Do you or your family members suffer from dry eyes?
Learn how to give your eyes relief at Benjamin Eye!
Dealing with dry eyes is an issue that millions of Americans struggle with everyday. Dry eye syndrome is a medical condition that affects over 10 million people in the United States. This eye disorder is often characterized by a lack of tear production or problems with the tears themselves.
Symptoms include mild to severe discomfort that can develop into serious vision issues. In an effort to help our patients with dry eye syndrome we have dedicated a special division of our practice to dry eye treatment and management. At Benjamin Eye we can properly treat and diagnose this disorder. Partnering with an ophthalmologist and discussing your specific issues maybe a good idea so that you can get a long-term treatment plan in place.
Top 10 Causes of Dry Eye Syndrome
1. Environmental factors – Environmental factors like windy climates or desert like climates cause dry eyes. Additionally, the use of air conditioning can cause this as well. You may wake up in the morning after being near and air conditioner and experience this.
2. Meibomian gland dysfunction – Patients with this dysfunction typically present with symptoms of burning, irritation, dryness, and decreased contact lens wearing time. The diagnosis is made by inspection of the glands and their secretions.
3. Menopause in women – Females entering menopause are among the most prone to dry eye.
4. Work environment – Some work environments that are dusty and windy may be harmful to patients more likely to develop dry eye syndrome.
5. Medications – Antihistamines and decongestants may cause dry eyes but other medications can cause dry eye as well (These medications include, pain relievers, antihistamines, tranquilizers, oral contraceptives, beta blockers, diuretics, and antidepressants).
6. Aging Eyes – As people age it is completely natural that the tears we produce have less oil in them. The aging population has specific dry eye related problems.
7. Contact lens use – Wearing contact lenses can contribute to dry eye. Please consult your contact lens provider for specific questions about your particular type of contacts or schedule an appointment with our Dry Eye Center to discuss this issue.
8. Too many screens – Sitting in front of the computer or tablets for hours may cause you to blink less and also cause dry eyes. Many people are studying something called computer vision syndrome as well.
9. Certain diseases – There are diseases linked to chronic dry eye. Has your eye doctor ever discussed these with you before? The most popular disease linked to dry eye is Sjogren’s syndrome, but other diseases that impact dry eyes are keratoconjuntivitis, sicca, xerophthalmia, lupus erythematosus, Grave’s disease, diabetes, and scleroderma.
10. Vitamin A deficiency – This uncommon vitamin deficiency exists with chronic failure to eat sufficient amounts of vitamin A or beta-carotene. This results in levels of blood-serum vitamin A that are below a defined range. Beta-carotene is a form of pre-vitamin A, which is readily converted to vitamin A in the body. Night blindness is the first symptom of vitamin A deficiency. Prolonged and severe vitamin A deficiency can produce total and irreversible blindness.
Steps to Freedom from Dry Eyes
1. Schedule Appointment with a Dry Eye Specialist at Benjamin Eye
2. Complete the new patient medical history questionnaire
3. Familiarize yourself with terms from this dry eye website
Treatment Options For Dry Eye Syndrome:
(OTC) Over-the-counter eye drops
Undoubtedly, the most common type of dry eye treatment are over the counter eye drops. This method may not be the best treatment option available and many popular eye drops do nothing to help the dry eye problem they just soothe the eyes and provide temporary relief. The dry eye drops that are available through the Dry Eye Center of Kentucky are eye drops that have been hand selected by medical doctors and have certain properties that are significant in helping dry eye syndrome. Eye drops currently available through our center include:
This is a pharmaceutical product that helps increase your eyes’ natural ability to produce tears. If you need more tear production it is likely you are suffering from dry eye syndrome. Restasis® is a prescription eye drop that our eye doctors use to reduce the inflammatory component of dry eyes. This eye drop is the only FDA approved drop to help increase a person’s tear film production.
Restasis works by reducing chronic inflammation of the tear producing lacrimal glands, improving both the QUANTITY and the QUALITY of tears produced. Because the medication works through a “turnover” of the cells in the lacrimal glands, its effect has a significant “inertia”. This means that the medication must be used for at least 6 weeks before any results will be evident to the patient and the doctor. This inertia also applies when the medication is discontinued (by patients who feel relieved or cured of their dry eye), symptoms will come back several months after the medicine has been discontinued.
Restasis® is available by prescription only. If you think you are suffering from dry eye, it is important to visit us to determine if your symptoms are due to dry eye syndrome or if they could be the symptom of some other underlying problem.
This medicine’s safety and effectiveness has always been considered high, but studies show long term use of Restasis is necessary to gain these results. This medicine will continue to be the gold standard for treating more serious cases of dry eye for patients that do not wish to use over the counter artificial tears at a high frequency. It is covered by most health plans and patients find it to be very useful to treat this annoying and chronic condition. There is no other company that has any similar competing product that is FDA approved or close to being FDA approved.
According to Allergan Inc., The most common side effect is a temporary burning sensation. Other side effects include eye redness, discharge, watery eyes, eye pain, foreign body sensation, itching, stinging and blurred vision.
If your Benjamin Eye doctor determines that blocked glands are at the root of your dry eye condition resulting in Evaporative Dry Eye and you are a candidate, you can now be treated with the innovative LipiFlow® Thermal Pulsation System. LipiFlow® works by applying directed energy to the eyelid near the affected glands – precisely targeted warmth from the back of the eyelid, and slight pressure from the front. Opening the blocked glands may allow your body to resume its natural production of tear film oil. This clinically proven procedure takes approximately 12 minutes and is performed in our office. In a clinical study about 79% of patients reported an improvement in overall dry eye symptoms after a single LipiFlow® treatment. Depending on the severity of your specific condition and your response to the treatment, you may need to repeat the LipiFlow® treatment periodically as your symptoms return over time.
The dry eye specialists at our practice may also suggest punctal plugs for you. The term puncta refers to the opening of the tear ducts on the eyelid margin. The name may sounds strange but these tiny devices can do wonders for your dry eyes. The use of these plugs is typically useful in moderate to severe cases and often used in a specific eye that is not responsive to eye drops. These are actually little plugs placed in the corners of the eyes to reduce tear drainage. Tears will typically drain into your nose, but these plugs are inserted near the tear ducts to block the outflow.
Depending on the type of dry eye problem you have, our eye doctors may use a different type of punctal plug. The two main types of plugs are temporary and permanent. The permanent plugs are made of a silicone substance and the temporary plugs are made of dissolvable collagen. Our dry eye doctors may decide to place a temporary plug in your eye prior to selecting a permanent punctal plug. Most patients have no problems with punctal plugs and cannot even feel them in the eyes. If you are concerned about risks associated with punctal plugs please be sure to see one of our eye care specialists.
Patients should note that not all punctal plugs are equal in quality. Benjamin Eye Specialists hand select the punctual plugs based on results with our patients. When it comes to treating dry eye syndrome we only use what works the best. Of course, there are many types of great plugs and for certain individuals some may be better than others.
Omega 3 Fish Oil
Eye vitamins and Omega 3 fish oil pills have gained popularity amongst the medical doctors but not all formulations are valid.
It is very possible to supplement your diet with foods that are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids. These foods include walnuts, cod liver oil, flax seed oil, primrose oil, and cold-water fish. Also to note is the importance of vitamin A, which can be found in foods such as eggs or dark green and yellow vegetables. All of these foods can help maintain proper eye moisture.
Dr. Arthur Benjamin is considered to be a leading authority on dry eyes in Los Angeles. He has several years of experience and training in treating Los Angeles dry eyes patients and helping them overcome this discomforting condition. Dr. Arthur Benjamin also has expertise in a wide range of ophthalmologic procedures.