Dry eye disease is one of the most physically and emotionally troubling conditions that a person can experience, but thanks to the latest diagnostic equipment and treatments in eye care technology, more and more patients are finding relief.  

How common is dry eye disease? 

It is estimated that among the U.S. population as many as 30 million people suffer from dry eye disease, with 6.8 percent being formally diagnosed with the condition.  

What are the symptoms of dry eye disease? 

  • Eyes that feel dry 
  • Irritation (burning, itching, strain or stinging) 
  • Inflammation 
  • Redness 
  • The perception of something foreign in the eye 
  • Eyes feeling “sandy” or “gritty” 
  • Light sensitivity 
  • Eye fatigue 
  • Contact lens discomfort 

What causes dry eye?  

Dry eye occurs when a person doesn’t produce enough tears to sufficiently lubricate the eye or produces tears that evaporate too quickly. There are multiple and often complex reasons for this, but there are also risk factors that make the condition more likely, including:  

  • Age and gender (dry eye is more common with age and women are affected more often than men) 
  • Inflammatory auto-immune diseases, such as Crohn’s and Grave’s disease 
  • The use of certain medications 
  • Contact lens use  
  • Living in arid or windy environments  
  • Extended screen time 
  • Menopause 
  • Diets deficient in Omega-3 
  • Stress 

How is dry eye diagnosed?  

Getting an accurate diagnosis is the key to successful treatment, and there are two complementary approaches to testing.  
 
The first and newest is InflammaDry which tests for a specific marker in dry eye to determine if a patient has above average inflammation.  

The second is TearLab’s Osmolarity System, which renowned eye expert Dr. Clark Chang, OD, MSA, MSc, FAAO, calls “the gold standard in dry eye testing.” This approach measures the individual tear osmolarity of each eye.   

Both tests can be quickly and painlessly performed in an eye doctor’s office to guide a customized treatment plan.  

How is dry eye treated? 

Common treatments range from using artificial tears, taking omega-3 supplements, inserting biocompatible tear duct plugs, or administering other anti-inflammatory therapies.  

Behavioral therapies may sometimes also be included in a comprehensive treatment plan for those who suffer from dry eyes since stress can create or exacerbate the condition in some people by provoking neurological suppression of lacrimal gland function.  

Eye care professionals who understand the role of stress in this difficult-to-treat condition are better able to address both the physiological and psychological dimensions. By combing physiological and psychological approaches, care is given to both the symptom and the emotional experience that triggers and accompanies it.    

Where can I find relief for dry eyes?  

At Eyecare 20/20, we use both InflammaDry and TearLab’s Osmolarity System for accurate dry eye diagnosis and bring over a decade of experience in successfully treating the troubling condition. We make it our business to stay abreast of the latest innovations and advancements that allow us to deliver the safest, most effective, and friendliest eye care around. Whether you’re seeking relief from dry eye, LASIK permanent vision correction, cataract surgery, to update your contact lens or eyeglass prescription, or any other eye care need, we’ve got you covered. Give us a call today we’ll help you more comfortably see a clear future! 

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