Diagnosis & Treatment
What is Dry Eye Disease?
Dry eye disease affects hundreds of millions of people according to the Dews Report. It is one of the most common conditions seen in our clinic.
Rather than describing a patient’s eye as “dry,” a more accurate description might be that of “tear film instability.” That is, the tears that cover the eye tend to destabilize and evaporate quickly, causing the ocular surface to be exposed to the air. When this happens, inflammation mounts over the course of the day resulting in discomfort, redness, and visual instability.
Nearly everyone. It was once considered a condition that affects people later in life, but we now see in clinical practice that dry eye can affect patients as young as eight years old. Generally, the more screen time a person has, the more likely they are to suffer from the root causes of dry eye.
Rapid changes in chemistry on the ocular surface of the eye due to evaporation of the tears triggers certain biochemical cascades to occur, resulting in inflammation, discomfort, redness, and tearing. Often, these cascades can affect the cornea and the vision, as well as the lids and their ability to make and spread new, healthy tears. This lid involvement can perpetuate and accelerate the disease process in many patients.
Generally, we address the lids and tear film together with simple at-home techniques, over-the-counter drops, and pharmacological agents and techniques, such as the use of amniotic membranes. We monitor patients carefully to determine if they are getting better using these simpler methods. If a patient needs to ascend into a higher level of therapy, we make the choice together.
Is dry eye disease affecting your vision?
We can help!