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FAQ

Q: What are some of the symptoms of Dry Eye?
A: There are numerous symptoms of dry eye disease, but the most common ones include excess tearing, lack of tearing, burning, redness, foreign body sensation, intermittently blurred vision, and an inability to tolerate contact lenses. If you have any of the above symptoms, and want a professional diagnosis, please make an appointment here.

Q: What are some of the warning signs of Dry Eye? How is it best detected?
A: Warning signs can accumulate quite gradually over many years. Not uncommonly among contact lens wearers, they may incorrectly assume the lenses are old and need to be replaced. Other times the eyes water a bit more, or burn, or itch. Many, many cases are sub-clinical – they can only be diagnosed with the use of microscopic detection and special equipment!
We look at tear quality, tear meniscus, and gland structure. Research has pointed towards the testing of tear osmolarity as a reliable indicator of
the disease in terms of pre-treatment and post-treatment situations.

Q: What are the typical treatments used to help people suffering from Dry Eyes?
A: Treatment for dry eye varies due to the severity and stage of the disease. Artificial tears can be helpful in the early stages. If artificial tears are not sufficient, we progress to a prescription medication such as Restasis or Xiidra. Also, lid hygiene as well as omega-3 fish oil supplementation can improve symptoms. Anti-inflammatory medications as well as punctal plugs are also available if needed for treatment.

Q: What is the examination like to determine whether someone is suffering from Dry Eyes?
A: As part of a regular eye examination we will inquire about use of eye drops and whether the patient has any discomfort or redness which may be dry eye related. We will also take a careful look with the biomicroscope to see if plugged oil glands in the lid or any dry patches on the cornea are present. We often use a yellow stain called fluorescein to see how quickly the tears evaporate. We also look for eyelid issues like blepharitis (inflamed crusty lids) or demodex mites which can worsen dry eye symptoms.

Q: What is the examination like to determine whether someone is suffering from Dry Eyes?
A: A full dry eye evaluation may include a series of tests depending on initial signs and symptoms, systemic history, medication, and lifestyle. Most of these tests are non-invasive and are painless. They can range from special colored dyes placed on the eyelid to assess severity, direct visualization of the oil glands to check for meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) or atrophy, to tear production analysis to name a few. The evaluation will be tailored to narrow down the specific cause of Dry Eye Syndrome.

Q: When should a person come in to see their optometrist for Dry Eye symptoms and when is it enough to take care of this problem yourself?
A: Patients should undergo a dry eye evaluation by a therapeutic optometrist at the first signs of dry eyes. Those who wear, or over wear, contact lenses are at higher risk for dry eye syndrome, as are patients who suffer from multiple systemic conditions. Patients who are taking multiple medications may also complain of dry eye due to drug interactions. Mild acute symptoms may be treated with over the counter drops, but most patients select an incorrect product that isn't specific to their condition, and can often mask serious conditions or lead to toxic corneal reactions. A consult is also warranted for any patient who has been recently diagnosed with an autoimmune condition or undergoing high-risk medications.

Q: Why do my eyes water if I have dry eye?
A: People with dry eyes either do not produce enough tears or have poor quality of tears. As the eyes dry out, they become more irritated and uncomfortable. This often times stimulates the lacrimal glands to produce more tears in response to the inflammation and ocular surface changes. Mild cases of dry eyes can often be managed using over-the-counter artificial tear solutions. These can be used as often as needed to supplement natural tear production.

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