The most common causes of dry eye can include:
There are two types of dry eye: evaporative dry eye and aqueous dry eye. Evaporative dry eye affects about 86% of all dry eye cases. Evaporative dry eye results from a blockage in the meibomian glands on your upper and lower eyelids, commonly known as meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). With this blockage, the meibomian glands will not secrete enough oil into the tears to keep them balanced.
Less common among patients is aqueous dry eye, which occurs when the lacrimal glands fail to produce enough fluid to moisturize the eyes. This type of dry eye can point to an autoimmune disorder such as Sjögren’s. Please let your provider know if you have a family history of Sjögren’s and/or symptoms of dry mouth, joint pain, and fatigue.
Your doctor will conduct a few simple, non-invasive tests to evaluate:
Your doctor will identify how and why the tears may be imbalanced and then determine best treatment plan to manage your symptoms so you can feel relief from the discomfort of dry eye.
LipiFlow® and BlephEx®
Punctal plugs and probing and irrigation (P&I)
Punctal plugs are placed in the tear ducts to help maintain moisture in the eyes by blocking the tears from draining into the ducts. P&I’s are performed when there is a blockage in the nasolacrimal ducts. Your doctor will dilate the punctum (small openings on the upper and lower eyelids that act as drainage ports for tears) and insert a tiny metal tube to flush out the blocked drain with a sterile solution.
For treatment of dry eye and/or blepharitis, we also offer the LipiFlow® or BlephEx® treatments. These treatments are performed by our team of certified technicians. Your doctor will check your eyes immediately after treatment and again 2 months post-treatment to see how your eyes responded to the treatment. Your doctor may also perform a meibomian gland expression to help clear any clogged oil glands in the eyelids.
Following an in-office treatment, we recommend applying warm compresses to your eyes a few times a day for about 10-15 minutes, using lid scrubs and cleansers every morning and night, and using artificial or preservative-free tears throughout the day to help prolong your results. If you wear contact lenses, your doctor may suggest switching to a new type of lens or taking breaks from wearing contacts to increase oxygen flow to the cornea.