Dry Eye Care

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Is it Dry Eye, or is it Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MDG) ?

Every time you blink, tears spread across the front surface of the eye. Your eyes depend on a flow of tears to provide constant moisture and lubrication to maintain eye health and comfort. When the volume or consistency of the tear system becomes imbalanced, you might experience dry eyes.

There are two forms of Dry Eye – Evaporative Dry Eye and Aqueous Dry Eye. 9 out of 10 individuals (86%) suffer from the evaporative form of Dry Eye. This form results from a shortage of oil on the surface of your tears caused by a blockage in your eyelid (Meibomian) glands, leading tears to evaporate faster than normal. This lack of oil production is often referred to as Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD), a condition that leads to permanent loss of these glands if not identified and treated early enough. That’s why eye drops and compresses can only provide temporary relief at best. For this reason, it may be in your best interest to intervene earlier rather than later.

blocked glands

Many potential causes of or contributing factors to MGD include age, prolonged use of prescription eye drops and hormonal changes. Although these conditions that leave you at risk to develop dry eye are uncontrollable, external factors can also contribute to or exacerbate the problem. Some of these external factors occur everyday, like prolonger computer / tablet / smartphone use, contact lens wear or use of certain cosmetics.

Recognizing the symptoms of MGD/Evaporative Dry Eye

Patients often present with signs and symptoms of dry eye caused by MGD such as:

  • Burning and redness
  • Ocular fatigue
  • Foreign body sensation
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Excessive tearing
  • Symptoms worsen later in the day
  • Transient blurring, often enough to make it seem your glasses prescription needs to be changed
  • Contact lens intolerance
  • MGD is a Chronic, progressive Eye Disease, not just “dryness”

    All patients need to be educated as to the risks of undiagnosed and untreated MGD. Those who are already suffering well understand the nature of the life altering condition. However, they frequently do not understand that managing the condition is a life long commitment similar to managing diabetes, glaucoma or high blood pressure. Their frustration would be greatly mitigated if they understood the significant and positive role that they can play in their ocular surface health maintenance.

    Figure: Cycle of inflammation

    MGD progresses through a predictable Cycle of Inflammation:

    Cycle of Inflammation

    Early detection is the key to preventing loss of Meibomian Glands, and optimization of your tear film, vision, and comfort.

    Dr. Martin’s Experience with MGD

    Dr. Martin has personally struggled with MGD and Ocular Surface Disease for over 20 years. His contact lens intolerance became so great he abandoned wear, and elected to have LASIK. LASIK improved his distance vision, but came at a cost: his Ocular Surface Disease became worse. Countless brands of drops, warming treatments that could not remove the old, congealed oil from his Meibomian Glands, fluctuating vision, end of day intolerance to reading and television. In short, his quality of life was greatly affected.

    When TearScience released the Lipiview and Lipiflow Systems, Dr. Martin made a commitment to one day bring that technology to Tucson and Southern Arizona. That day has come! Dr. Martin has already had the Lipiflow treatment himself, as have members of his staff. He was pleased how easy it was, painless, and even very comfortable, like a warm massage.

    Take the time to learn about Lipiflow, and how it can help you.

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