Ease Evaporative Dry Eye with TearCare®
Dry eye syndrome, or simply dry eye, occurs because of insufficient moisture leading to a lack of lubrication on the eye’s surface. It is a chronic condition that causes eye irritation and often leads to impaired quality of life. Sometimes, dry eyes can cause eye infection or even scarring of the eye’s front surface. Dry eye is one of the most common eye complaints, affecting around 20% of Americans. The condition is more prevalent in older people who tend to make fewer tears. Other risk factors include smoking, contact lens use, high blood pressure medications or other prescription medication that can reduce tear production, a history of refractive surgery, spending many hours in front of screens, and environmental factors such as low humidity. Dry eye occurs more commonly in women, especially those who are pregnant, using hormonal birth control pills, or going through menopause.
Symptoms of Dry Eye Disease
Despite its wide prevalence, dry eye can be difficult to diagnose. For example, a dry eye patient can complain of poor eyesight, but when she sits in front of a test chart, she achieves perfect results due to blinking before reading.
Common symptoms of dry eye include:
- Irritation, stinging, burning, or scratchiness in the eyes
- A frequent feeling of having a foreign object in the eye
- Eye redness
- Watery eyes and reflex tearing
- Difficulty using contact lenses
- Light sensitivity, especially to bright light
- Stringy mucus inside the eyes or around them
- Blurry vision
- Eye fatigue
Patients with dry eyes often complain of difficulty performing everyday activities such as reading or driving, especially nighttime driving.
Dry Eye Causes
Tear film serves to keep the eye surface moist, lubricated, and clean of any dust, debris, or microorganisms.
Tear film includes three components:
1. A lipid (oily) component from the meibomian glands
2. An aqueous (watery) component from the lacrimal glands
3. A mucin (mucous-like) component from the goblet cells located in the conjunctiva
All of these components are vital for the tears to perform their physiological function. The aqueous liquid provides moisture; lipids delay tear evaporation and make the tear surface smoother; and the inner layer of mucin helps spread and anchor the tear film across the eye’s surface.
A problem with tear production or any of the tear components could lead to insufficient lubrication and dry eye.
Ophthalmologists divide dry eye into two broad categories: evaporative dry eye and aqueous deficient dry eye. Of the two, evaporative dry eye is by far the more common.
- Evaporative dry eye occurs when the meibomian glands, tiny oil glands lining the edges of the eyelids, fail to produce enough oil (meibum). This condition, called meibomian gland dysfunction, may cause tear instability and increased tear evaporation.
- Aqueous deficient dry eye can occur when the lacrimal glands, located above the eyeball, secrete insufficient tear fluid to maintain adequate moisture in the eye.
In some cases, dry eye may occur because of inflammatory autoimmune diseases such as Sjögren syndrome. It is vital to diagnose any systemic autoimmune conditions before attempting to treat dry eye.
Dr. Barr recommends TearCare prior to blepharoplasty and mini brow lift for best results.
Why Artificial Tears Often Aren’t Enough to Treat Dry Eye
Many patients discover that over-the-counter eye drops relieve dryness only temporarily. Artificial tears are relatively effective in alleviating the symptoms of aqueous deficient dry eye but often fail to help in cases of evaporative dry eye resulting from meibomian gland dysfunction.
In evaporative dry eye, the patient’s lacrimal glands may produce enough tears. Still, if the tears evaporate too quickly, dry eye symptoms can persist no matter how often the patient applies artificial tears. Furthermore, eye drops containing preservatives for a longer shelf life may cause eye irritation with frequent use.
Management of Meibomian Gland Dysfunction
Often, evaporative dry eye syndrome related to meibomian gland dysfunction occurs because the meibomian glands become clogged up. In mild cases, it may be possible to alleviate the condition by applying warm compresses to soften clogged meibum oil and promote its release. An eye doctor may also perform meibomian gland expression by carefully applying pressure to unclog and release the meibum oil.
TearCare®: An Innovative Dry Eyes Remedy
Patients suffering from evaporative dry eye may benefit from TearCare®, an advanced treatment that is highly effective in cases of meibomian gland dysfunction.
How Does TearCare® Work?
TearCare® is a pair of flexible eyelid devices that apply gentle heat to the meibomian glands. The heat helps turn the meibum more liquid, remove blockages, reduce inflammation, and promote tear production.
The pliable, soft TearCare® devices easily conform to the eye’s shape and help the patient remain comfortable throughout the procedure, with open eyes and normal blinking.
The TearCare® procedure typically lasts a few minutes. The eye doctor may clear any remaining obstructions manually at the end of the treatment.
Is It Safe?
TearCare® is a safe, efficient dry eye disease treatment method. It can decrease dry eye symptoms like blurred vision and irritation of the eye’s surface, help maintain clear vision, and prevent permanent damage to the meibomian glands.
Candidates for the TearCare® treatment must be 22 or older, without ocular surface abnormalities such as corneal dystrophy.
Suffering from Dry Eye? Book a Consultation with Dr. Fredric Barr at Palm Beach Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery
Need an effective solution for dry eyes? We invite you to schedule a consultation appointment at Dr. Fredric Barr’s clinic in West Palm Beach, FL. Dr. Fredric Barr, a Board-Certified, 34-year Plastic Surgeon in West Palm Beach, is the first plastic surgeon in the country to offer TearCare® for dry eye symptoms. Reach out to us at 561-833-4122 or fill out our online form to arrange for a consultation