Dry Eye Treatment
Women are usually often affected more frequently than men because of hormonal conditions. Also people with Autoimmune Diseases (like Lupus, Arthiritis, Sjogrens, Sarcoid, Rosacea etc) and other systemic diseases (like Diabetes, Thyroid Issues or Parkinsons) are also more commonly affected. Dry Eye disease occurs more as we age (over 40) but, we are starting to see dry eye signs and symptoms in our younger populations as well. This is mostly due to digital device use (Computer screens, Tablets, Smartphones and Gaming Devices). Digital device use causes infrequent blinking and this can cause changes in the eyes that can lead to dry eyes. We now can see dry eye signs in children as young as 6 or 7!
People with Dry Eyes mostly do not have enough tears OR their tears evaporate very quickly.
Your tears are made up of three layers. The inner layer (closest to the eye) is the mucin or mucus layer. This layer helps the tears stick to the surface of the eye and also helps the tear fluid spread evenly over the eye. The middle layer is called the aqueous layer. This is the thickest layer and it contains water and nutrients to bathe the front of the eye (the cornea). This layer is produced by the lacrimal gland. The outer layer is the Lipid or Oil layer. This layer is produced by the Meibomian Glands - located inside your eyelids - right behind your eyelashes. The outer oil layer creates an "oil slick" on the outside of the tear film to help prevent the tears from evaporating.
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Dr Bearden will first determine the underlying cause of your dry eyes. The following conditions commonly cause dryness in the eyes:
MGD (Meibomian Gland Dysfunction)
Previous Surgical Procedures (Lasik, PRK, Cataract Surgery, Eyelid surgery etc)
Incomplete Lid Closure (when sleeping or when awake)
Inflammatory Diet (sugar and processed foods)
Hormonal Issues (menopause, peri-menopause etc)
Autoimmune Disease (ex: Lupus, Arthritis, Sjogren's, Sarcoid, Rosacea etc)
Systemic Disease (Diabetes, Thyroid, Parkinsons etc)
Systemic Medications (birth control pills, allergy medications)
Once the underlying cause of your dry eyes is found.... THEN your dry eyes can be addressed. Dr Bearden uses a plethora of treatment options customized to your individual needs. Treatments can be prescription eye drops, oral medications, in office treatments, at home treatments, punctal plugs, supplements or a combination of several of these treatments.
Dry Eye is a chronic problem. Once you have it - you will probably always have it. It is then about managing the disease and its symptoms in an ongoing fashion. Typically, dry eye is not usually something that you treat for 1-2 weeks and then you are forever healed. Keeping your eyes moist and comfortable is very much like keeping your teeth clean. You usually need ongoing care (sometimes on a daily basis - just like brushing your teeth.....and sometimes semi-annual in office treatments - like professional teeth cleanings at the dentist office) - to get the BEST and longest lasting outcome.
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Dry Eye (Also called Ocular Surface Disease or Tear Film Instability) can cause
many different symptoms.
The most common symptoms are:
Blurry Vision That Clears When You Blink
Lid Infections or Sties on Your Eyes
Contact Lens Discomfort etc...
Many patients with dry eye are commonly told to "use artificial tears" to help alleviate symptoms. This will help but, its just a temporary fix. It does NOT address the underlying problem. Some artificial tears contain preservatives that can make dry eye signs and symptoms even WORSE.
Dr Bearden can do a compete dry eye evaluation. These evaluations are medical in nature and thus are usually covered by your MEDICAL insurance (like Aetna, Cigna, United Healthcare, Medicare etc). Vision plans (VSP, VCP, EyeMed etc) do not cover these specialty evaluations.