Our optometrists at 360 Eyecare - Metro in downtown Toronto have developed a strong interest and specialized training in the diagnosis and treatment of the different types of ocular surface disease involving dry eyes. If you have dry eyes, contact us today for an assessment and consultation on the latest treatments and therapies for your symptoms.
What is Dry Eye Disease?
Dry eye disease is a very common condition and it occurs when there is a problem with either the quality or quantity of tears secreted. There are many factors that cause dry eyes, including misfit and over-wear of contact lenses and their material type and allergies.
The basic structure of the tear film consists of three layers: nonpolar lipid layer, an aqueous layer that contains water, and the mucous layer, which contains mucins that coat the cornea. Years ago it was agreed among optometrists and ophthalmologists that dry eyes were related to deficient tear production. However, recent research suggests that our Meibomian glands can play a significant role in dry eye disease when they produce abnormal lipid component. Thus, both Meibomian Gland dysfunction (MGD) and Aqueous Tear Deficiency contribute to dry eye syndromes.
Common Symptoms of Dry Eyes
- Itching, burning and tearing
- Visual disturbances
- Tired eyes that are worse at end of day
- Discomfort and irritation
- Excessive sensitivity to light
- Foreign body sensation
- Inability to wear contact lenses
Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD)
Meibomian glands secrete meibum, which is an oily substance composed mainly of lipid and protein. It is normally a clear liquid, however in Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD), this oily layer of meibum is typically opaque and highly viscous.
Our optometrists at 360 Eyecare - Metro will employ the technique of expressing the Meibomian glands and visualizing the excreta to diagnose MGD.
Aqueous Tear Deficiency
The aqueous or watery component of tears are produced by the lacrimal glands in the upper eye lids. Aqueous Tear Deficiency occurs when the lacrimal glands do not produce enough of the aqueous component of tears. When this aqueous layer is deficient the eye surface is not sufficiently lubricated. This can lead to inflammation and irritation of the eye surface.
Why 360 Eyecare - Metro?
At 360 Eyecare - Metro we bring our patients the most innovative technology and treatment options to optimize treatment outcomes. Every patient is given a specialized and specific dry eye assessment to differentiate the type and extent of their dry eye disease. Once a specific diagnosis is made, our optometrists will discuss the customized treatment options available, as well as provide their professional recommendations on any questions or concerns that you might have. Once the dry eye treatment is initiated, the doctors will order the appropriate follow-ups to ensure that healing is on track and symptoms relieved.
Dry Eye Treatments & Therapies
For dry eyes caused by Meibomian Gland Dysfunction:
- Warm compresses, Medibeads eye hydrating mask.
- Lid hygiene – lid care scrubs and baby shampoo, Cliradex.
- LipiFlow – this procedure helps open the blocked glands allowing the eye to resume the proper production of the tear film lipids that are needed to maintain adequate hydration to the ocular surface.
For dry eyes caused by Aqueous tear deficiency, therapeutic options include:
- Topical Lubrication (tear drops, gels and ointment) and/or prescription topical drops
- Dietary supplements including Omega-3 fatty acid
- Cyclosporine (Restasis) –a topical medication that is used twice daily to help increase the production of tears
- Punctal Plugs – collagen or silicone (permanent) implants that are inserted into the opening of the tear duct (punctum) to help reduce tear draining and elevate dryness
- Consultation with family doctor or internist to assess for any potential systemic underlying causes such as Sjogren’s disease (dry eyes and mouth)
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or have been diagnosed with dry eyes in the past, call our office today to book your consultation. Come in for a visit with one of our dry eye disease experts today!