Dry eye disease is also known as ocular surface disease or keratoconjunctivitis sicca. It typically occurs when there is poor tear quality or insufficient production of tears and causes eye discomfort and reduced vision. It is a chronic common condition, that affects millions of Americans, and can be difficult to diagnosis and manage correctly.
Common symptoms of dry eye including burning, watering, grittiness, redness of the eyes and fluctuating vision. Often, patients with dry eyes will complain of ‘watery’ eyes which are interpreted as having too much moisture, but in reality, is a response to underlying dryness/inflammation from an unhealthy tear film.
Some of the common factors that can contribute to dry eyes:
Currently there is no cure for dry eye disease and our goal is to effectively manage your ocular health for long term stability. There are many great management options to help alleviate the symptoms, improve the signs, improve tear film stability, and reduce the rate of the dry eye disease progression. Our goal is for you to have many more good days and fewer bad days with how your eyes feel. Many patients feel significant relief after an initial treatment series but maintenance treatments are recommended every 6 months to ensure the symptoms do not return.
Both dry eye and allergies can present with watery and irritated eyes; allergies tend to also cause itchiness in the inner corners of your eyes. Many patients have signs of both and having dry eye can make allergies worse since the allergens tend to remain in the eye longer before being flushed away by your tears. Additionally, oral allergy medicines and prescription eye drops can worsen dry eye.
Yes! Most artificial/lubricating drops provide some temporary relief 5-25 minutes but they do not treat the underlying disease process. The majority of our patients typically require prescription medicines and in office procedures along with home treatment that is indicated for their specific situation.
Our initial evaluation lasts about one hour which includes your tear film analytics, Firefly Dry Eye Report, an examination and education with the doctor. Click here for more information on what to expect during your initial visit.
No, most patients report awareness but not pain.
Intense Pulsed Light Therapy can feel like a rubber band snap but most of our patients find it tolerable. As an added measure, we will check in on your comfort throughout the procedure.
After your treatment series, we will do a follow up exam and run your analytics again to determine what maintenance schedule is indicated. For most patients, we recommend a one visit maintenance treatment every 6 months but some procedures like Low Level Light Therapy can be done more often as desired.
It depends on your current dry eye status and your compliance with your current treatment. If you are having mild symptoms or you’ve been told by your eye doctor that you have dry eyes (even if you are not symptomatic), in office procedures can help slow down the rate of dry eye disease progression so the symptoms do not escalate and become bothersome over time. It is important to note that compliance is a critical part of at home therapy for mild/moderate cases, so if you anticipate that your compliance will be low then in office treatments are a great alternative.
Although, we cannot guarantee coverage, we will work with you to find the best options using any available pharmaceutical coupons or specialty pharmacies to provide the best prices.
If we determine at-home therapy and prescription remedies are ineffective in managing your dry eye disease, we will recommend escalating your treatment protocol to include more potent in-office procedures:
We usually recommend an initial package of about 4-6 visits depending on your severity and also commonly recommend every 6 month maintenance treatments.
Mild and moderate cases can cause vision reduction and fluctuation due to an unstable tear film and inflammation on the cornea. In more severe cases, dry eye inflammation can lead to changes on the cornea that can result in neurotrophic keratitis, which poses a risk to scarring of the cornea thereby causing permanent vision damage.
Dry Eye Disease is a irreversible, progressive and chronic condition.The earlier you can tackle the root causes of your dry eye, the more likely you are to slow down the progression to more severe stages of dry eye disease. Untreated dry eye can cause an escalation of symptoms and vision reduction/visual loss.