You Don’t Have To Live With Dry Uncomfortable Eyes

At Vision Specialists, we know that you want to be focused and productive throughout your busy day. In order to do that, you need stable and comfortable vision all day long. The problem is your eyes are irritated, which makes you feel very uncomfortable. We believe you shouldn’t have to suffer like this all day. We understand your concern and care for the comfort and well-being of your eyes, which is why we have the most modern technology to properly diagnose dry eye disease and discover your personalized treatment plan. 

Here’s how we do it:

1. We diagnose the type and extent of your dry eye.

2. You receive your personalized treatment plan.

3. You achieve the relief you deserve. 

So, schedule an appointment today. So you can stop the burning, watering, and gritty irritation and instead achieve stable and comfortable vision to dominate your day.

My eyes just don’t feel right. 

“How can my eyes be dry when they water all the time?” is a question we often hear from patients. This is a distinguishing factor of ocular surface disease, which contains more components than simply ‘dry eyes.’ Millions of individuals suffer from “dry eye disease,” but at least 86% of those ALSO have Meibomian gland dysfunction. The two conditions are separate and distinct, but frequently go hand in hand and cause overlapping symptoms.

The condition we often call “dry eyes” is rather an umbrella-term that perhaps is more appropriately named ocular surface disease. Ocular surface disease includes conditions such as dry eye disease, blepharitis, Meibomian gland dysfunction, and allergic eye conditions, to name a few.

By definition, dry eye is a “multi­factorial disease of the ocular surface characterized by a loss of homeostasis of the tear film, and accompanied by ocular symptoms, in which tear film instability and hyperosmolarity, ocular surface in­flammation and damage, and neurosen­sory abnormalities play etiological roles.” Basically, dry eye is a chronic disease process that causes a myriad of symptoms on a sliding scale that stretch from minor irritation or discomfort to severe pain, inability to wear contact lenses, and significant inflammation that can lead to recurrent infections; all of this from a loss of equilibrium of the tears on the surface of the eye.

So, schedule an appointment now, so you can lessen the frustration from ocular discomfort and instead go conquer your day with the ocular relief you deserve.

How Do Our Tears Work?

We know you can’t stand the fluctuation in the comfort of your eyes and clarity of your vision. In order to alleviate this, you need treatment for the exact type and extent of your dry eye. 

Our tears play an important role in the stability of the ocular surface. They are, in fact, the first surface light hits as it comes into the eye–before the cornea, the lens, or the retina. Having a smooth, stable tear film is the first step in ensuring clear, consistent vision. 

There are two parts that make up our tears: the mucoaqueous layer and the lipid layer, or in more simple terms, the water and the oil. The water layer is created by the lacrimal gland and lubricates the cornea to reduce friction on the front part of the eye. The oil layer is formed by the 20-30 Meibomian glands in the upper and lower eyelids that are squeezed every time we blink and makes a smooth layer over the watery part of the tears and essentially “holds” them in the eye. When we blink, the movement of our lids should help wash tears across the surface of the eye to create a clear, stable surface, akin to very good windshield wipers.

All of these parts of that make up the tears should be in harmony with one another, and if that balance is thrown off, signs and symptoms arise.

Here’s how we treat this:

1. We diagnose the type and extent of your dry eye.

2. You receive your treatment plan.

3. You achieve the relief you deserve. 

Schedule an appointment now, so you can stop the burning, redness, and gritty irritation and instead achieve stable and comfortable vision to dominate your day.

Signs and Symptoms

It can be difficult to express how your eyes feel. That is why our doctors have been trained to analyze every variable of your eyes to help discover your personalized treatment plan.

As mentioned, there are a wide variety of symptoms a person with ocular surface or dry eye disease may experience. Foreign body sensation (a feeling that something is in the eye), dryness, scratchiness, burning, a sandy or gritty feeling, and even watering or excess tearing are all common. Some individuals may notice intermittent blurred vision which worsens toward the end of the day.

These symptoms alone may be enough to diagnose some type of ocular surface disease, but most often other clinical tests are performed. We utilize a survey called the SPEED, or Standardized Patient Evaluation of Eye Dryness, to track objective symptoms over time and decide whether treatments are indicated and/or effective. Dyes can be used to stain the surface of the cornea and conjunctiva and evaluate for cells that are damaged or dead due to inflammation. Technology has also allowed us to study several different parts of the tear film. For example, meibography is an advanced image capture of the oil-producing Meibomian glands in the lids to view structure and identify blockages or atrophy. The same imaging system can also measure the height of the tear meniscus (the amount of tears in our eyes between blinks) and determine whether the tear break up time (the time it takes for the oil layer on the surface of the tears) is optimal.

So, schedule an appointment now, so you can stop the tearing, burning, and sandy irritation and instead achieve stable and comfortable vision to go confidently about your day.

Is It Something I Did?

You deserve relief from the daily suffering you endure from dry eyes. We can help. Take control of your ocular discomfort by visiting us to pinpoint the exact cause and treatment plan to bring you relief.

Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) is characterized by blockages of the glands causing reduced oil production, while dry eye disease (DED) is the result of decreased tear production and/or increased tear evaporation. The overlap between the two is that MGD will at some point likely have an effect on the tear film and ocular surface, leading to evaporative DED. This dryness can then overstimulate production of the watery component of the tears, causing excessive watering–for many patients, the “ah-ha!” moment where it all clicks together.

So what causes MGD or DED in the first place? There are several risk factors, but the most common are:

  • Increased age as part of the natural aging process
  • Women over age 40, as hormonal changes affect tear film components
  • Prolonged computer work and thus insufficient blinking
  • Long-term contact lens wear
  • Smoking
  • A side effect of many medications, such as antihistamines, antidepressants, certain blood pressure medicines, Parkinson’s medications and birth control pills
  • Low intake of omega-3 fatty acids
  • Connective tissue or autoimmune diseases like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, rosacea, or Sjogren’s Syndrome
  • Prior LASIK surgery
  • Environmental factors like dry, dusty or windy climates with low humidity, homes or offices with air conditioning or dry heating systems

The fix is simple. We diagnose the type and extent of your dry eye and deliver to you your unique treatment plan. Then, you achieve the relief you deserve. 

You Deserve to Feel Better. Here’s How.

At Vision Specialists, we know that you want to be focused and productive throughout your busy day, without the dryness and discomfort that your eyes put you through. In order to do that, you need the relief you deserve, and our evaluation can determine your personalized treatment plan. 

Ocular surface disease is a chronic, progressive condition for which there is no cure, but fortunately the symptoms of dry eye can usually be successfully managed.

For mild signs and symptoms, artificial tears or lubricating eye drops can alleviate dry, scratchy feelings and foreign body sensations. Since there are a plethora of over-the-counter tear drops available, it’s best to check with your doctor about which formulas are the best for your specific needs. 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. Quitting smoking and drinking more water are always helpful for your overall health, the tears included! 

If you wear contact lenses, daily disposable options are optimal for sufferers of ocular surface disease, as they are much thinner and more breathable than less frequent replacement options. Replacing contacts daily also reduces irritants from being reintroduced to the ocular surface, whether from previous wear or from overnight storage in a case.

Other treatments for more symptomatic or prevalent ocular surface disease include eyelid hygiene, Omega-3 supplementation, Mebomian gland evacuation via warm compresses and lid massage for functional glands, or in-office Lipiflow procedure for blocked glands, and prescription anti-inflammatory medications. These therapies restore normal function and allow increased production of both the oil and water components of the tear film.

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 while keeping the needed treatment. In any case, never switch or discontinue your medications without consulting with your doctor first.

For more severe cases of dry eye, your doctor may recommend punctal plugs to slow the tear drainage via the tear ducts at the inside corner of the lids, almost like putting a stopper in the drain. This keeps the tears in the eyes longer, increasing moisture without having to add to the tears artificially. Bandage or scleral contact lenses can also help retain lubrication to the ocular surface. Additionally, autologous serums may be compounded by a pharmacy from the patient’s own blood serum and plasma. This serum contains growth factors and other essential components present in natural tears.

We understand your concern and care for the comfort and wellbeing of your eyes. We at Vision Specialists are proud to offer to our patients the best care and technology to diagnose ocular surface disease and manage the irritating symptoms. 

Here’s how we do it:

1. We diagnose the type and extent of your dry eye.

2. You receive your treatment plan.

3. You achieve the relief you deserve. 

So, schedule an appointment now. So you can stop the burning, redness, and gritty irritation and instead achieve stable and comfortable vision to dominate your day.

Dr. Kate Holthaus

Dr. Kate Holthaus was chosen from the top candidates from across the nation. Our doctor network has direct access to the most advanced eye care professional education system in the United States.