Dry eye , the condition in which the eye does not produce enough tears or produces low-quality tears, is one of the most prevalent, yet misdiagnosed, vision conditions. Many patients who suffer from dry eye incorrectly attribute their symptoms to factors such as allergies, and therefore do not receive adequate treatment for their condition. At SightMD, we are dedicated to providing comprehensive and accurate patient care, and specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of dry eye disease.
We are one of a select number of practices to utilize TearLab® technology, one of the most advanced and precise systems available to diagnose dry eye disease. Using this innovative system, our doctors can determine the presence and severity of dry eye syndrome, and prescribe appropriate treatment such as artificial tears, punctual plugs, or Restasis®. Contact our practice today to learn more about dry eye treatment and our exclusive TearLab® technology.
Diagnosing Dry Eye with TearLab®
At SightMD, we understand that the only way to administer appropriate care to our patients is through precise diagnosis. That’s why we utilize the TearLab® Osmolarity System, to determine the exact quality and salt content of tears. This system is the first of its kind and has received widespread recognition, including the Medical Design Excellence Award.
With the TearLab® System, our doctors use a small, handheld device equipped with a polycarbonate microchip test card – to collect tear fluid from the eye. Tests are typically completed in less than thirty seconds and with no discomfort to the patient, by placing the test card near the corner of the eye. Once the tear fluid has been collected, our doctors place the handheld device onto the TearLab® Osmolarity System reader, which gathers information from the test card and converts that information into tangible data. The osmolarity number, a depiction of the salt content in tears, and an accurate indication of the severity of dry eye disease, usually ranges from 275 mOsms/L to 400 mOsms/L. The higher the number, the more progressed the disease. Because dry eye can progress differently in each eye, our doctors analyze the tear quality in both eyes to get a complete picture of your specific condition.
TearLab® technology and the osmolarity number are invaluable when it comes to treating dry eye disease. Not only does this system allow our doctors to prescribe adequate treatment, but it also gives you, the patient, a better understanding of the condition of your vision.
Treatment Options for Dry Eye
The osmolarity number provided by the TearLab® system indicates the progression of dry eye disease and will serve as a guideline for the type of treatment necessary. We offer a number of dry eye treatments to respond to your specific case, including:
Artificial tears, more commonly referred to as eye drops, are non-prescription chemical solutions that increase moisture on the eye. These drops differ from those used to decrease redness and can be administered as needed to decrease irritation caused by dry eye disease. Our doctors may recommend the use of artificial tears for mild to moderate cases of dry eye.
Restasis® is the only prescription eye drop available that can naturally increase tear production over time. We offer Restasis® to our Long Island patients who suffer from chronic dry eye due to inflammation, and have not achieved the relief they desire through the use of artificial tears. Patients who use this treatment place one drop in each eye, twice a day to begin increasing tear production. Many patients can see results within one month of beginning this regimen.
A punctal plug is a small, silicone device that is inserted into the opening of the tear duct, also known as the puncta, to prevent excess tear fluid drainage. This effectively increases moisture on the eye and preserves the tear film. Punctal plugs are generally prescribed for patients who suffer from dry eye. They can be placed into the eye during a simple office procedure that typically requires no anesthesia. Punctal plugs are long-lasting, and can also be modified as needed. Before placing permanent punctal plugs, our doctors may recommend the use of dissolvable plugs that consist of collagen in order to determine if the treatment option will be effective.
Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) is one of the leading causes of dry eye and occurs when the glands in your eyelids become blocked or damaged. When your dry eye is the result of MGD, your body is unable to produce healthy tears leaving your eyes vulnerable and irritable. LipiFlow® is an innovative new treatment option that stimulates and massages the meibomian glands, clearing out any blockages. Utilizing sterile, single-use activators, LipiFlow® delivers a combination of heat and gentle pulsation to the eyelids to help restore the natural balance of your tear film. The procedure only takes about 15 minutes to complete, and provides stable comfort that can last up to 12 months.
In addition to prescribed dry eye treatment, there are things that patients can do in their daily life to decrease the symptoms associated with dry eye disease. Environmental conditions such as hot, dry climates, air pollution, or central heating and air conditioning can irritate the eye. In addition, certain cosmetic products, air fresheners, and scented lotions or soaps can compound the symptoms of dry eye. We encourage our patients to pay close attention to their surroundings and eliminate any factors that could cause further irritation.
In conjunction with other treatment, some natural remedies may alleviate the symptoms associated with dry eye disease. Studies have shown that a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids can significantly reduce the prevalence of dry eye. We often recommend that our patients begin a regimen that includes flaxseed or fish oil supplements, and consume foods high in these acids, such as certain nuts, salmon, and tuna.
Learn More about Dry Eye Treatment
The doctors at SightMD want you to know that relief from dry eye symptoms is possible. As vision specialists we use the latest techniques and technology to effectively treat this common condition. If you are interested in learning more about our use of the TearLab® system, or dry eye treatment options such as punctal plugs, LipiFlow®, or Restasis®, contact our practice today. We look forward to helping you achieve comfort and precise vision.