Michigan Dry Eye Center (an accredited Dry Eye Center) is a specialty clinic within Clarity. The Center utilizes a wide array of technology and methodology to manage and treat dry eye disease, an increasingly prominent condition amongst patients of all ages.
Dry eye is a condition in which there are insufficient tears to lubricate and nourish the eye. Tears are necessary for maintaining the health of the front surface of the eye and for providing clear vision. People with dry eyes either do not produce enough tears or have a poor quality of tears. Dry eye is a common and often chronic problem, requiring prompt and direct treatment.
People with dry eyes may experience symptoms of irritated, gritty, scratchy, or burning eyes, a foreign body sensation in their eyes, excess watering, and blurred vision. Advanced and/or chronic dry eye disease may damage the front surface of the eye and impair vision.
What Causes Dry Eye?
The development of dry eyes can have many causes. They include:
- Age – Dry eye is part of the natural aging process. The majority of people over the age of 65 experience some symptoms of dry eye.
- Gender – Women are more likely to develop dry eye due to hormonal changes caused by pregnancy, the use of oral contraceptives, and menopause.
- Medications – Certain medicines, including but not limited to antihistamines, decongestants, blood pressure medications, and antidepressants, can reduce the amount of tears produced in the eyes.
- Medical Conditions – Persons with rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, Sjogren’s, and thyroid problems are more likely to have symptoms of dry eyes.
- Eyelid Disease or Dysfunction – Problems with inflammation of the eyelids (blepharitis or meibomianitis) or the inward or outward turning of eyelids can cause dry eye to develop.
- Environmental Conditions – Failure to blink regularly, such as when staring at a computer screen for a long period of time, can contribute to dry eye symptoms. Exposure to smoke, wind, and dry climates or dry air can increase tear evaporation, resulting in dry eye symptoms.
- Long-term use of contact lenses
- Refractive eye surgeries, such as LASIK
- Immune system disorders
- Insufficient vitamins
- Skin diseases
- Infrequent blinking
Are There Different Types of Dry Eye?
There are two primary types of dry eye. Proper diagnosis of dry eye type is essential for proper treatment, as some treatments for one type may not help at all with the other type.
- Evaporative. Evaporative dry eye is likely related to inflammation or dysfunction of the meibomian glands. These glands are responsible for the oily part of the tears that keeps the tear film stable and consistent
- Aqueous-Deficient. Aqueous-deficient dry eye is the result of the lacrimal glands failing to produce enough water to maintain the tear surface.
What is the Mechanism Behind Dry Eye?
The tears are made up of a combination of mucus, water, and oils. If there is an improper balance of these components, symptoms of dry eye can result. Dry eye is primarily a dysfunction of the basal tears. Most dry eye patients have normal reflex and emotional tearing.
Diagnosis and Management
The primary approaches used to manage and treat Dry Eye Disease include adding tears, conserving tears, increasing tear production, and treating the inflammation of the eyelids or eye surface that contributes to the dry eyes.
Management covers a wide spectrum. From proper lubrication all the way through to the most advanced therapies, Michigan Dry Eye Center can help.
The following is some additional information on some of our diagnostic and management tools.
- Bio-Tissue membranes: Provide surgical and therapeutic alternatives for helping in healing ocular surface conditions, such as keratitis, recurrent corneal erosions, pterygium, and chronic or advanced Dry Eye Disease.
- TearLab:The TearLab Osmolarity Test gives doctors information about the salt content of your tears, which is an indicator of Dry Eye Disease. Tear osmolarity has been shown to have the best predictive value for diagnosing Dry Eye Disease of any single test. TearLab’s sophisticated lab on a chip technology tests a tiny tear sample to measure osmolarity, or the salt content in the tears.
- BlephEx: Studies have shown that up to 35% of all patients have some type of blepharitis symptoms and would benefit from BlephEx.That number increases to over 70% in patients over 65. BlephEx handpiece is used to very precisely and carefully, exfoliate the edge of your eyelids and lashes, removing scurf and debris from your eyelids.
- Punctal Plugs:Tears drain from the eye through the lid’s punctal openings. Punctal occlusion acts very much like a stopper in a sink. When the punctal opening in the lid is closed, tears stay on the eye longer. Punctal plugs are the least invasive of the long term solutions for Dry Eye Syndrome. A small, soft, silicone or collagen plug about the size of a pinhead or a sesame seed is non-surgically inserted into the natural tear drainage opening. The procedure is reversible if needed.
Michigan Dry Eye Center utilizes all of the above information and technology to treat dry eye ranging in severity from mild and/or acute to chronic and severe. We are always keeping up with the newest forms of treatment as well. We understand that dry eye can be debilitating and frustrating, and we are committed to finding the treatment(s) that can rehab your quality of life.