If you suffer from dry eyes, you are not alone! Over 30 million people in the U.S. suffer from the condition. It can develop as a result of environmental, genetic or hormonal factors, or as a consequence of spending too much time on the computer without blinking. Dry eye occurs when a person doesn't have enough quality tears to lubricate and nourish the eye. Tears reduce eye infections, wash away foreign debris, and keep the eye’s surface smooth and clear. People with dry eyes either do not produce enough tears or their tears are poor quality.
Symptoms of dry eye include:
Dry, scratchy and uncomfortable eyes
Sensitivity to light
Difficulty wearing contact lenses
What is unique about how we manage dry eye at East Vancouver Eye? Dry eye is a passion for Dr. Cole and Dr. Dodd. Back in 2020, they started doing extensive research into how to best identify the root causes of dry eye and what could be done to treat it. They developed a comprehensive dry eye examination which includes:
An extensive case history specific to dry eye
Tear imaging, using a device called a keratograph, to see how tears break down on the surface of the eye
Meibography, a way to take a picture of the oil producing glands in the eyelid to make sure they are healthy. We also gently express some of the glands to check the quality of the oils.
Tear osmolarity testing to check the “saltiness” of the tears. If tears are overly salty and too concentrated, it leads to irritation of the eyes surface.
Inflammadry testing utilizes a device to take a sample of tears and analyze for high levels of inflammatory particles (MMP9 - Matrix Metalloproteinases)
A thorough microscopic examination of the lids, which ensures the eye surface and eyelids are healthy
What dry eye treatments are offered at East Vancouver Eye? Sometimes treating dry eye is as simple as using over the counter (OTC) artificial tears, gels, or ointments. However, for many patients who have moderate to severe dry eye, that isn’t enough. Often, it’s necessary to provide more aggressive treatment. At East Vancouver Eye, we offer state of the art treatments such as:
Lipiflow Thermal Pulsation: Lipiflow is a device used to treat Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD). It provides heat and massage combined in such a way that obstructions in the meibomian glands are liquefied and pushed out, rejuvenating the glands. This treatment is well-tolerated by patients and can be completed in our office with a short visit.
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL): Lumenis' Optima IPL is the next-generation IPL technology. With each pulse of light, this first-of-its-kind, energy-based therapy works to control the inflammatory process and break the vicious cycle of inflammation. IPL also increases the expression of anti-inflammatory agents in the skin, eradicates Demodex mites, reduces rosacea, and rejuvenates the meibomian glands in the eyelids.
Low Level Light Therapy (LLLT): Also known as Photobiomodulation involves the use of red and near infra-red light projected on and around the eyelids via a UV-sterilized face mask. These wavelengths of light have been shown to decrease inflammation and greatly improve the physiology, regeneration and function of the meibomian glands.
Amniotic Membranes: When there is damage to the surface of the eye, we often suggest using amniotic membranes which are sourced from placenta and/or umbilical cords. These membranes provide stem cells to help heal wounds. These are applied in our office and we always have them on hand when needed.
Prescription dry eye drops: Cequa, Restasis, Xiidra.
Topical steroids: In some cases, topical steroids such as Loteprednol are prescribed to reduce inflammation and get dry eye under control. Our opinion is that steroid drops generally are not a long term solution, but they can be very helpful for short term treatments (weeks or months)
Autologous serum eye drops: We regularly prescribe Autologous Serum Eye Drops (ASEDs) for dry eye patients. ASEDs combine the serum from a patient’s own blood with sterile saline to create drops for their eyes. They work very well for many patients.
Oral antibiotics: Very low dose oral Doxycycline can be very beneficial for treating dry eye, particularly when patients have underlying rosacea.
Hot compresses: Hot compresses using a wash cloth or a microwavable mask can help give some immediate relief when a person is experiencing dry eye symptoms.
Zocular Eyelid System Treatment (ZEST): Zest is an Okra (yes, the plant) based eyelid treatment that is used to clean the tissue around the eyes. It is an in-office treatment performed by one of our doctors.
Cliradex wipes, lid scrubs, lid foams: As much as people don’t like to hear that they have mites, they are actually incredibly common. Demodex mites can contribute significantly to dry eye symptoms. Tea tree oil based treatments such as Cliradex can be very effective in controlling mites commonly found on eyelashes.
Re-esterified Triglyceride (rTG) form fish oil: We often prescribe oral fish oil to help reduce dry eye symptoms. We are constantly researching the best brands that give the most beneficial levels of the omega 3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) our bodies need.
And more…there is always a new dry eye treatment on the horizon, and Dr. Cole and Dr. Dodd are committed to staying at the forefront of new treatment innovations.
Contact us today at (360) 449-3937 to schedule your dry eye exam.