Dry Eye Disease
Dry Eye Disease is a very common disorder which occurs when the eyes become dry and irritated as a result of inflammation and inadequate tear production. If left untreated, Dry Eye can lead to pain, ulcers, scars on the cornea, and some loss of vision. Patients who suffer from Dry Eye find it more difficult to perform some activities, such as using a computer or reading for an extended period of time, and it can decrease tolerance for dry environments, such as the air inside an airplane.
Why are tears important?
Tears are necessary for overall eye health and clear vision. Tears are produced by the lacrimal glands and consist of proteins, electrolytes and vitamins that are critical to maintain the health of the eye surface and to prevent infection. They are constantly produced to clean, nourish, and protect the eye surface. Tears bathe the eye’s surface keeping it moist and wash away dust and debris. Any condition that alters the proper production of tears can make the eyes unhealthy and result in dry eye.
People who suffer from Dry Eye experience a variety of symptoms, including:
- Discomfort, including pain, fatigue, stinging or burning
- sandy or gritty feeling (as if something is in the eye)
- Inconsistent tear production (excessive tears, followed by dry periods)
- stringy discharge
- blurry vision
- heavy eyelids
- uncomfortable contact lenses
- discomfort while reading, working on the computer, or any activity that requires sustained visual attention
While age is a prominent cause of Dry Eye, it can also be triggered by many other factors, including:
- Infrequent blinking, associated with staring at screens
- Long-term contact lens wear
- Medications, including antihistamines, nasal decongestants, tranquilizers, certain blood pressure medicines, Parkinson’s medications, birth control pills and anti-depressants
- Skin disease on or around the eyelids
- Pregnancy or hormone replacement therapy
- Injury or surgery
- Immune system disorders such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis
- Eyelid inflammation from infections such as conjunctivitis
- Exposure to irritants such as chemical fumes, tobacco smoke and allergens
- Exposure keratitis, in which the eyelids do not close completely during sleep.
In addition to being uncomfortable, the tissue around the eyes can become damaged and eventually impair your vision if Dry Eye is left untreated. It is critical to have routine eye exams with a board certified ophthalmologist who has experience with diagnosing Dry Eye.
Dr. Richard Adler, a board certified ophthalmologist and an accomplished leader in the treatment of Dry Eye, will work with you and your individual needs to develop a customized plan for successful results. Your treatment plan will depend upon the severity of your symptoms, the cause of your condition and your overall health.
Traditional treatments for Dry Eye included medications, vitamin supplements and surgery. However, at Belcara Health, Dr. Adler is successfully treating Dry Eye patients with an innovative approach using Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) treatment.
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) treatment for Dry Eye was first discovered over 10 years ago when patients with Rosacea, who also had various ocular conditions, would come in for IPL therapy to have their facial redness treated. These same patients would later return for their follow-up visits reporting that while the redness in their skin had improved, they had also seen improvements in their vision.
After further research, it was learned that the light therapy from IPL improves lid margins, meibomian gland function (the oil producing glands that prevents evaporation of the eye’s tear film) and tear breakup time. This is ideal for those who suffer from Dry Eye disease as the light acts as a warm compress that liquefies the oily secretions from the meibomian glands and “unplugs” them, allowing them to function properly.
IPL therapy for dry eye provides long-term improvement of symptoms. For the best results, we recommend patients have 5 treatments, scheduled one month apart. There is no downtime and any mild redness that may appear in the skin post-treatment will disappear within a couple of hours.
To schedule a consultation with Ophthalmologist & Dry Eye Specialist, Dr. Richard Adler, please call 410.296.0414.
“I was so relieved when Dr. Adler told me he could treat me. My eyes feel better than they have in years! No more pain and I can see so well. By Dr. Adler treating my dry eyes, they feel so good…it is truly magical! The whole experience is worth sharing with everyone! Dr. Adler has improved my life greatly.”