Dry Eye Clinic of Excellence
The new dry eye clinic at West Texas Eye Associates of El Paso offers a variety of treatment options for patients who suffer from dry eyes.
What is Dry Eye?
A lack of tears, improper lubrication, or tears evaporating too quickly from the eye result in a condition known as Dry Eye, a common problem that is easily diagnosed.
More About Dry Eye
What Causes Dry Eye?
Here are some of the common causes of dry eye:
Aging: As we age, tear production decreases. Men and women of any age can be affected, however, after menopause and during pregnancy women are especially susceptible.
Contact Lenses: Wearing contact lenses often increases tear evaporation that can result in irritation, increased protein deposits, infection, and discomfort. Dry eye has been shown to be the leading cause of contact lens discomfort and reduced wear time.
Environment: Exposure to various environments can reduce eye lubrication. These include sunny, dry or windy conditions; heaters, fans or air conditioning; sand, dust or pollen, smoke, work settings and prolonged computer use. El Paso is ranked in the top five worst cities for dry eyes.
Medications: A variety of medications reduce tear secretion. Some common examples are decongestants, antihistamines, sleeping pills, beta-blockers, antidepressants, diuretics, pain relievers, oral medications, and alcohol.
Surgery: Surgical procedures, like LASIK can disrupt the production of tears. Unless dry eye was present before surgery, the post-surgical dry eye is almost always temporary.
Autoimmune Disease: Many diseases and disorders can cause dry eyes, such as Sjogren’s Syndrome, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Crohn’s Disease, and Diabetes.
Dry Eye Symptoms
Tears are formed by tiny glands that surround the eye. The tear film is comprised of 3 layers:
- Lipid (Oil) – Prevents tear film evaporation
- Water – Contains water and nutrients
- Mucus – Spreads tear film evenly over the eye
Normal tear film: Lipids regulate the evaporation of the water layer. The volume and quality of the tear film on the surface of the eye are critical to maintaining ocular surface health, duration of comfort and quality of vision.
Abnormal tear film: For a dry eye sufferer an abnormal tear film develops with a reduction of the lipids, water, and mucin layers. Areas of dryness form causing surface damage to the eye.
If you are having dry eye symptoms, it is important that you discuss your symptoms with an eye care professional. Our clinic can perform a simple test to determine the severity of your dry eye and then recommend the best method of treatment designed specifically for you. Contact West Texas Eye Associates of El Paso today to schedule your eye exam.
Dry Eye Treatment
At West Texas Eye Associates of El Paso, we offer multiple treatment options for the alleviation of dry eye symptoms and irritation. Some of the dry eye treatments offered in our eye care clinics include:
Artificial Tear regimen– There are many types of lubricant eye drops, gels, and ointment that can help alleviate the discomfort of dry eyes.
Ophthalmic topical cyclosporine – A prescription eye drop that helps to stimulate tear production and reduces chronic inflammation in the eyes.
Lifitegrast – Lifitegrast eye drops are used to treat dry eye disease by reducing eye inflammation.
Autologous Serum eye drops– Autologous means that the donor and the recipient are the same person. The eye drops in this case are made from your own blood. Red blood cells and clotting factors are removed, leaving behind blood serum. This is diluted with a sterile, preservative-free solution to produce a tear substitute that is unique to the patient, and contains many important growth factors and nutrients normally found in healthy tears. Since blood and tears have an almost identical salinity and pH, there is no issue of burning or stinging upon instillation. Because they are non-preserved, the drops are stored in the freezer until you need them.
Tear Film Analysis – TearLab is a diagnostic test that measures the osmolarity of human tears. This helps in the diagnosis of dry eye disease.
Punctal Plugs- Temporary or permanent plugs can be placed on the lacrimal punctum, located on the edge of the eyelids to reduce the drainage of tears.