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Dry Eye Disease Is More than Just a Nuisance

How often do you think about your eyes? Probably rarely unless they’re hurting you. The painful, irritating symptoms of dry eye disease are certainly enough to make you pause and consider your sight.

Dry eye disease symptoms are not only annoying but can hamper productivity and seriously decrease the quality of life for many Americans. It’s hard to get things done or enjoy fun activities with itchy, burning eyes.

During your annual eye exam, we’ll ask you about any dryness or irritation. Of course, if your eyes are dry and uncomfortable, don’t wait until your next exam to seek relief. At Family Focus Eyecare, we have several treatment methods for dry eye disease. So please book your eye care appointment today.

Symptoms of Dry Eye Disease

If you have any of the following symptoms, dry eye disease might be the culprit:

  • Red eyes
  • Itchy or stinging sensation
  • Watery eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Foreign body sensation
  • Stringy mucus
  • Difficulty driving at night

If left untreated, dry eye disease can lead to more serious vision conditions like corneal ulcers, eye infections, eye inflammation, or corneal abrasions

You’ll want to get a comprehensive eye exam if you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of dry eye disease. Your optometrist can rule out any eye diseases that may present with similar symptoms.

What Is Dry Eye Disease?

Dry eye disease is pretty much what it sounds like—eyes that are not properly lubricated. There are several reasons why your eyes might lack moisture.

Decreased Tear Production

If your eyes don’t produce enough tears, you might end up with dry eye disease. Reasons for decreased tear production might include:

  • The normal aging process
  • Medications like antihistamines or antidepressants
  • Contact lens wear
  • Medical conditions like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or Sjögren’s Syndrome
  • Nerve damage caused by eye surgery
  • Vitamin A deficiency

Poor-quality tears can lead to increased tear evaporation. Your tears are made up of 3 main components: oil, water, and mucus. Each layer is responsible for something different.

The water layer lubricates the eye, the mucus layer helps to spread the water layer over the entire eye to keep it moist, and the oil layer prevents water from evaporating too quickly. An imbalance in any of these components can lead to dry eye disease.

The oil layer of your tears comes from the tiny, oil-secreting glands that line the eyelids. These are called the meibomian glands.

Blocked meibomian glands don’t secrete enough quality oil to keep your tears from evaporating, leading to a condition called meibomian gland dysfunction.

Meibomian gland dysfunction might happen alongside blepharitis, a condition in which the eyelids become inflamed and irritated. This inflammation can lead to blocked meibomian glands, creating a circular problem.

Lifestyle and situational factors can also play a role in dry eye disease. Smoky or windy environments and very dry climates don’t help sufferers. Computer usage can also play a role—digital eye strain contributes to dryness.

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Therapy

At Family Focus Eyecare, we know a thing or 2 about dry eye disease and offer various treatment methods. Intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy is an option for people whose dry eye disease is caused by meibomian gland dysfunction.

Originally developed for use in dermatology, IPL uses light energy to warm the meibomian glands. This gentle warming liquefies any blockages, softening them so they can be expressed. The light targets the blood vessels around the eye, decreasing inflammation.

We’ll evaluate your specific situation and adjust the light, wavelength, and duration of treatment accordingly.

IPL therapy offers several benefits:

  • Noninvasive
  • Very few complications
  • Results that can be maintained
  • Well-tolerated by most people

Other Treatment Options

We can also recommend different types of eye drops that might help relieve your dry eye disease symptoms. Gels like Refresh Celluvisc are good for more moderate cases of dryness, while supplements like EyePromise EZ Tears can also be effective. 

Preservative-free products are our preferences, like Oasis Tears Plus, which can help to moisten and lubricate your eyes. 

No matter what the case of your dry eye disease, we can offer tailored solutions. Please book your appointment with Family Focus Eyecare today.

Visit One of Our Locations

Columbia
West Broadway

Find our Columbia West clinic in the Broadway Business park, near the Callaway Bank and the Regeneration Salon & Spa.

  • 3301 W Broadway Business Park Ct, Suite E
  • Columbia, MO 65203

Columbia
South Providence

Visit our location in South Columbia, near Sophia’s and B&B Bagel.

  • 3901 South Providence Rd
  • Columbia, MO 65203

Eldon
North Oak

Our Eldon location is on Oak Street, two blocks north of the post office and between North and High Street.

  • 115 N Oak St
  • Eldon, MO 65026

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