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Dry, sandy eyes, blurred vision, constantly blinking to remove a speck of dust that isn’t really there. Does this sound like you? If you suffer from evaporative dry eye, you may have resigned yourself to a life of drops and discomfort, but there is a much better solution.
First, to understand what is causing your dry eyes, you have to understand a bit about what tears are made of. Tears are comprised of a mucus layer that coats the surface of the cornea and makes the fluid tears adhere to the eye. The next layer is composed of water and oil (who said they don’t mix?). The oil lubricates your eyes and helps to prevent your tears from evaporating when your eyes are open to the air throughout the day. Even though you are blinking to renew your tear supply, the longer your eyes are open, the more evaporation occurs.
If your natural tear film lacks oil, your tears will evaporate very rapidly, especially when exposed to the dry indoor air of Toronto’s winters. Ergo: evaporative dry eye.
The glands in the eye that are responsible for tear oil production are called the meibomian glands, located inside the eyelid. Some people are susceptible to these glands clogging or chronically under-functioning (meibomian gland dysfunction, or MGD).This condition, which results in evaporative dry eye, is very common. It can be made worse by eye irritants such as makeup and creams, and mild cases often go undiagnosed.
If you do experience dry, irritated eyes, it is recommended that you see a qualified eye doctor such as those who practice at UELC. By examining your eyes under high magnification with a powerful biomicroscope, the doctor can see the individual openings to the meibomian glands and examine the quality, quantity and consistency of your tears. Furthermore, powerful diagnostic testing is provided to quantify the degree of dry eye and response to treatment. This is how evaporative dry eye is diagnosed.
Treatment of evaporative dry eye is ineffective unless it addresses the underlying problem, the malfunctioning meibomian glands. In mild cases, simple warm compresses and eyelid manipulation may help considerably. Occasionally, antibiotic and/or steroids with anti-inflammatory properties are prescribed as well. Artificial tears containing castor or mineral oil may also be recommended to treat mild cases of evaporative dry eye. But what if your eyes are more severely affected?
Our dry eye consultants now offer even a wider range of directed treatments that are both novel, and breakthrough. Among them is a revolutionary, non-invasive treatment called LipiFlow which directly and effectively targets the root cause of evaporative dry eye – opening and clearing the blocked meibomian glands so they can resume proper production of your complex natural tear oil – on the same day as your eye evaluation, so you can get on with your life without the continued discomfort of dry eyes!
The LipiFlow Thermal Pulsation System is essentially a single-use eyepiece with built-in sensors that apply precisely controlled heat and pressure to the inner eyelid, encouraging your body to restart the natural production of lipids needed for healthy tears. Tens of thousands of treatments for meibomian gland dysfunction and dry eye symptoms have been completed with LipiFlow, making it one of the most effective treatment options for evaporative dry eye and thus a long term solution to the problem.
Don’t let evaporative dry eye cramp your style for one more moment. There are various simple and painless treatments, including the LipiFlow procedure, that is available at our UELC clinic today. Contact us for your dry eye consultation to find out if LipiFlow is right for you.