The purpose of diagnosing and managing patients with dry eye is:
- To preserve and/or improve vision
- Prevent or minimize structural damage to the ocular surface
- Improve patient comfort
- Facilitate contact lens wear
- Enhance the results of corneal surgery
The tear film in the human eye is a very complex fluid. It is secreted by various glands around the eye. The tear film has mechanical, lubricating action and protects the eyes from infections and allergies.
Read more about Causes & Symptoms of Dry Eyes or visit our Fort Lauderdale office to learn more about this.
Testing & Diagnosis
During your comprehensive eye exam close attention is paid to your symptoms as well as careful examination of the cornea, lid margins and tear layer under the high magnification of the slit lamp microscope. Additional testing in our office may include:
- Schirmer Tear Test
- Tear Break up time
- Various natural dyes may be used
Dry eyes or dry eye syndrome (DES) is an ongoing condition that treatments may be unable to cure. But the symptoms of dry eye—including dryness, scratchiness and burning—can usually be successfully managed. We keep abreast of all treatment modalities and may find a combinations of several options are necessary to help our patients. We may recommend:
- Over-the-Counter Artificial tears or ocular lubricants may alleviate the dry, scratching feeling and foreign body sensation of dry eye.
- Prescription eye drops to reduce inflammation
- Restasis to increase tear production.
- Punctal Occlusion Therapy
- Omega-3 Supplements we carry the highest quality supplements in our office pharmacy.
- Intense Pulsed Light Therapy (IPL)
More helpful ideas and facts:
If you wear contact lenses, be aware that many artificial tears cannot be used during contact lens wear. You may need to remove your lenses before using the drops. Wait 15 minutes or longer (check the label) before reinserting them. For mild dry eye, contact lens rewetting drops may be sufficient to make your eyes feel better, but the effect is usually only temporary. Switching to another lens brand could also help.
Check the label, but better yet, check with your doctor in our Fort Lauderdale office before buying any over-the-counter eye drops. Your eye doctor will know which formulas are effective and long-lasting and which eye drops work with your contact lenses.
To reduce the effects of sun, wind and dust on dry eyes, wear sunglasses when outdoors. Wraparound styles offer the best protection.
Indoors, an air cleaner can filter out dust and other particles from the air, while a humidifier adds moisture to air that’s too dry because of air conditioning or heating.
For more significant cases of dry eye, your eye doctor may recommend punctal plugs. These tiny devices are inserted in ducts in your lids to slow the drainage of tears away from your eyes, thereby keeping your eyes more moist.
Doctors sometimes recommend special nutritional supplements containing certain essential fatty acids to decrease dry eye symptoms. Drinking more water may also relieve symptoms.
If medications are the cause of dry eyes, discontinuing the drug generally resolves the problem. But in this case, the benefits of the drug must be weighed against the side effect of dry eyes. Sometimes switching to a different type of medication alleviates the dry eye symptoms. However, never switch or discontinue your medications without consulting with your doctor.
Treating any underlying eyelid disease, such as blepharitis, may be helpful as well. This may necessitate antibiotic or steroid drops, plus frequent eyelid scrubs with antibacterial shampoo.
If you are considering LASIK, be aware that dry eyes may disqualify you for the surgery; at least until your dry eye condition is successfully treated. Dry eyes increase your risk for poor healing after LASIK or any vision surgery, so most surgeons from our office in Fort Lauderdale will want to treat the dry eyes first, to ensure a good outcome.