Dry eyes are more than just uncomfortable; if left untreated, they can cause corneal damage. If you suffer from dry eyes, La Paz Optometric Center is here to help. We identify the root cause of your dry eyes and create a tailored treatment plan instead of just treating your symptoms, helping you find lasting relief.
For more information about treatment options, please speak to your optometrist during your next appointment.
What Causes Dry Eyes?
There are two root causes of dry eyes: poor tear quality and inadequate tear volume. Our eyes rely on tears to stay lubricated, so when our eyelids cannot produce enough tears, or the tears we do produce are of poor quality, our eyes become dry and irritated.
Our tears are made up of three main ingredients: water, oil (called meibum), and mucin. The meibum is responsible for creating a protective barrier on the surface of our tears, preventing them from evaporating too quickly. Mucin ensures that the tears are spread evenly across the surface of our eyes. If our tears evaporate too quickly or are not distributed uniformly, it can cause dry eyes.
Several different glands both in and around our eyelids are responsible for tear production. As we age, our eyes are not able to produce as many tears as they once were. Certain medications and medical conditions can also inhibit tear production.
Environmental factors can also cause our tears to evaporate too quickly, leaving our eyes dry and irritated.
Symptoms of Dry Eyes
Symptoms of dry eyes may include:
- Burning or irritated eyes
- A gritty or foreign body sensation
- Tired eyes
- Red eyes
- Sensitivity to light
- Blurry vision
- Excessive glare, especially during nighttime driving
Dry Eye Therapy at La Paz Optometric Center
La Paz Optometric Center offers a variety of tailored dry eye treatments to suit your needs.
Certain nutrients can help soothe the inflammation associated with dry eyes. Foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids may be able to help increase the amount of meibum found in your tears. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in a variety of fish, as well as nuts, seeds, soybeans, vegetable oil, and green, leafy vegetables.
The AREDS2 study, a comprehensive nutrition study conducted by researchers at the NIH’s National Eye Institute, has also found that omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zeaxanthin. Vitamin C, vitamin E, and zinc can help promote overall ocular health.
To help you ensure that you are getting the nutrients your eyes need to stay healthy La Paz Optometric Center offers EyePromise. EyePromise offers a wide variety of products tailored to suit your needs.
Lubricating eye drops, such as Oasis Tears, can provide you with long-lasting comfort and protect your eyes from irritants.
Punctal plugs are small, biocompatible inserts that can be placed into your tear drainage ducts. These plugs prevent your tears from draining too quickly, allowing your eyes to retain more tears, increasing your tear volume. Your optometrist can easily insert punctal plugs in a matter of seconds, and once they are implanted, they are nearly invisible to the naked eye. Punctal plugs will not rub or scratch your cornea and can provide immediate long term relief from dry eyes.
LipiScan is a new technology from TearScience that allows us to assess your meibomian glands during an eye exam if you have expressed concern over dry eye symptoms. The device scans your eyes and produces a high-definition image that is easy to analyze, helping to diagnose gland dysfunction.
LipiFlow helps to promote normal meibomian gland function by applying heat and gentle massage to the eyes. We will use numbing eye drops to avoid any discomfort and place the eyepiece gently over your cornea without resting directly on the eye. The sensors on the eyepiece will apply pressure pulses with gentle heat to draw out and expel any obstructions in your glands. The entire procedure takes around 15 minutes.
TearCare is a wearable, software-controlled technology, similar to a high-tech warm compress. It is fully customizable and allows your optometrist to provide tailored delivery of electrothermal energy to the meibomian glands.
Components of TearCare include a flexible pair of eyelid devices. These conform to each patient’s unique anatomy, providing sustained thermal treatment. The device is soft and lightweight and your eyes can behave naturally while wearing it.
TearCare works with the eye’s natural blinking force to clear the meibomian glands of any obstructions. Unobstructed glands allow for the production of your tear film’s oil layer, which prevents tears from evaporating too quickly.
Do you suffer from dry eyes? Speak to your optometrist about which treatment option is best suited to your needs during your next appointment.