Dry Eye Syndrome In San Diego, CA
Dry eye syndrome can affect anyone at any age and cause the eyes to sting, itch and burn throughout the day and night. The board-certified ophthalmologists at American Eye Associates and California Retina Associates are dedicated to ensuring you can see clearly and live comfortably with the most up-to-date diagnostic services and treatments. We are proud to offer a variety of diagnostic and treatment services for dry eye syndrome to men and women in San Diego, Chula Vista, and the neighboring communities of Imperial County, California.
Dry eye is a condition that can, at times, be debilitating for some. Most of us associate tears with emotions and such, but tears play an important role in the health of your eyes. Tears are critical to the eyes for lubrication, cleansing, and protection. Healthy eyes are continually bathed by tears produced by a combination of three glands located above both eyes. Sometimes a person has a decrease in tear production, or the tears produced are of poor quality. The result is a condition called dry eye.
At American Eye Associates and California Retina Associates, we employ a variety of treatments for dry eye, but we are especially excited about two newer treatment options: amniotic membrane application and LipiFlow. Both of these treatments are meant for moderate to severe cases of dry eye.
When a person has dry eye, these are the typical symptoms:
- Stinging or burning eyes
- Stringy mucus in or around the eyes
- Excessive tearing
- Excessive eye irritation in windy or smoky conditions
- Scratchiness on the eyes
- Discomfort wearing contact lenses
Why does tear quality matter?
Every time your eye blinks, a film of tears washes down the front of the eyeball, keeping it smooth and clear. When healthy, these tears consist of three layers: an oily layer, a watery layer, and a mucus layer. The oily layer, produced by the Meibomian glands, is the outside layer. Its purpose it to reduce tear evaporation and smooth the tear surface. In the middle is the watery layer we usually associate with tears. The lacrimal gland produces this layer that cleanses and washes out any foreign particles or irritants. The inner layer consists of mucus produced by the conjunctiva. Mucus allows the tears to adhere to the eyeball.
Tears need to have all three layers to perform their function on the eyes.
What causes Dry Eye?
Dry eye can result from various problems. As we age, everyone’s tear production drops. This is especially true of women after menopause. Often, tear quality is diminished when the Meibomian gland is blocked because tears evaporate too quickly from the eye without the protection of the outer oil layer. A variety of medications can also reduce tear production: antihistamines, diuretics, beta-blockers, sleeping pills, nerve medications, and pain relievers.
Dry eye really comes down to one of these (or a combination of) three problems:
- Lack of saline water
- Dysfunctional Meibomian oil glands
- Inflammation of the glands that make the saline water and oil
Available Dry Eye Treatment Options
- Lipiflow: LipiFlow is a thermal pulsation system for treating evaporative dry eye caused by poor tear quality. LipiFlow applies controlled heat to the inner eyelids to open blocked Meibomian glands, improving the quality of the patient’s tears and alleviating dry eye.
- Restasis/Xidra: Are eye drop medications which can help reduce the symptoms of dry eye.
- Amniotic Membrane: An amniotic membrane, the inner layer of the fetal membrane, has anti-inflammatory, anti-fibrotic, anti-angiogenic, and anti-microbial properties. It is used for severe cases of dry eye that don’t respond to other treatment options. Amniotic membrane placement is not used for patients with mild dry eye who do not have corneal changes.
- Punctal Plugs: Helps to block the drainage system so your tears drain more slowly.
- Artificial Tears and Ointments: Are good temporary treatment to lubricate the eyes.
At American Eye Associates and California Retina Associates, we offer a wide range of cutting-edge treatments, expert surgical techniques, and the latest diagnostic services that will help you live your most healthy and comfortable life. We are happy to offer ophthalmology services to men and women in San Diego, Chula Vista, and the surrounding areas of Imperial County, California. Contact us to schedule your one-on-one consultation with one of our expert ophthalmologists today.