July is Dry Eye Awareness Month!
In recognition of Dry Eye Month, Dr. Greyson Ramos introduces our patients to some of the treatments and care that we offer for Dry Eye Disease at Envision.
What causes Dry Eye Disease?
Dry Eye Disease, or DED, is caused by many environmental and lifestyle factors. Symptoms occur when the ocular surface and structures begin to breakdown from a lack of lubrication. There are two sources of lubrication: the aqueous (water) tear layer and the lipid (fatty) tear layer. In DED, it is possible for both sources to be impacted, although the fatty layer is more commonly affected. Many experience excessive watering, dry, and gritty-feeling eyes. The best solutions is not only treating the symptoms, but also increasing overall health and solving the cause of DED. When diagnosed, our doctors begin by educating patients on small daily changes. Drinking sufficient amounts of water and blinking exercises can help increase healthy, natural tear production. After patients incorporate these changes into their routines, we begin treatment of DED with ocular therapeutics.
The first level of DED treatment begins with artificial tears, eyelash cleaning, and warm eye compress masks. These solutions encourage a clean, well-lubricated ocular surface free of pollen, old make-up, etc. If after three months or sooner “Level 1” is not resolving symptoms, we move the patient to “Level 2”.
Second level treatment incorporates more robust artificial tears designed to treat the cause of fatty tear film deficiency. We also introduce an “Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)” therapy treatment at this stage. The IPL uses purposely selected light intensity to cause a decrease of leaky, inflammatory blood vessels that develop in DED. IPL therapy assists in kickstarting the tear film production factory, and has an added benefit of relaxing wrinkles, removing acne scars, and eliminating sun/age spots! If “Level 2” does not resolve symptoms, we begin “Level 3” treatment.
Level 3 incorporates specialty contact lens materials embedded with stem cells to encourage new production of damaged eye tissue, and eye drops that are made from the affected patient’s own blood as a therapeutic remedy! Since most patients will receive complete symptom relief from a “Level 2” treatment, this level is reserved for more advanced cases of DED.
If dry eye is something that you struggle with, call us at Envision to schedule a dry eye work-up. Remember, a little goes a long way in the treatment of DED. A few simple solutions from your favorite eye doctor may be all that’s needed to get complete relief and improve your quality of life!