Dry Eye Center of Excellence
What Is Dry Eye?
Tears are necessary for overall eye health. Dry eye occurs when the eyes aren’t sufficiently moisturized, leading to itching, redness and pain from dry spots on the surface of the eye. The eyes may become dry and irritated because the tear ducts don’t produce enough tears, or because the tears themselves have a chemical imbalance. People who suffer from dry eyes may have difficulty performing certain daily activities. People usually begin experiencing dry eye symptoms as they age, but the condition can also result from certain medications, conditions or injuries. Dry eye is not only painful, it can also damage the eye’s tissues and impair vision. Fortunately, many treatment options are available.
Tears are made up of three layers. If you’re like many people with dry eye symptoms, your condition is related to blocked meibomian glands and an inadequate protective layer of oils in your tears.
The most common form of dry eye is Evaporative Dry Eye, which affects 9 out of 10 (86%) dry eye cases. Evaporative Dry Eye results from a shortage of oil in your tears caused by a blockage in your eyelid (Meibomian) glands, leading tears to evaporate faster than normal. This lack of tear oil is often referred to as Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD).
Common Symptoms Of Evaporative Dry Eye Disease
- Sensitivity to light
- Blurred vision
- Discomfort in windy or dry conditions
These Symptoms May Also Be Accompanied By:
- Difficulty performing visual tasks like reading, watching TV, computer work and driving
- Inability to wear contact lenses
- Constant use of eye drops
- Trouble being out in the sun
- Symptoms that worsen late in the day
Why Is It Important To Diagnose And Treat Dry Eye Disease?
For some, dry eye symptoms such as itchy, burning, stinging eyes may seem like a nuisance. However, if left untreated, dry eye disease can have serious consequences including:
- Permanent corneal scarring
- Corneal ulcers
- Increased risk of eye infections
Georgia Eye Partners offers innovative and non-invasive TrueTear Treatment
Georgia Eye Partners is proud to be the first clinic in Georgia with exclusive access to Allergan’s neurostimulation device for the treatment of dry eye called TrueTear. TrueTear was invented by a team of experts at Stanford led by Dr. Michael Ackermann, a PhD in neurostimulation. The device was further developed in Silicone Valley, home to the world’s most innovative and disruptive technologies.
This technology is an entirely new treatment class in eye care representing a true paradigm shift in the treatment of dry eye. TrueTear is a non-invasive, nasal neurostimulation device that helps the body work like it should, naturally. This is done by comfortable stimulation of the Trigeminal Nerve (CN V), which activates the entire lacrimal functional unit. This produces true tears, containing meibum from the meibomian glands, aqueous from the lacrimal glands and mucin from goblet cell degranulation.
Diagnostic Testing & Treatment Options
The TearLab measures the salt content in your eyes and is the gold standard for objectively diagnosing dry eye disease. Your specific osmolarity number is generated by TearLab’s lab on a chip technology. This unique number helps your doctor determine if you have dry eye disease, and if so, whether you fall into the mild, moderate or severe category.
The TearLab test utilizes a temperature corrected impedance measurement to provide and indirect assessment of osmolarity. The TearLab osmolarity system pen is designed to hold the test card and facilitate pain-free, simple tear fluid collection.
Broad Band Light (BBL)
BBL treatment, broad band light, is for moderate to severe ocular rosacea. This light therapy can dramatically reduce ocular irritation, gland dysfunction, and dry eye symptoms by shutting down vessels that permit inflammatory mediators to incite the glands of the eyelids. After treatment, you express the glands releasing the secretions that were stagnating. By closing blood vessels near the surface of the skin you can decrease the inflammatory cytokines that contribute to MGD. BBL has also been shown to decrease the bacterial load on the skin and decreases parasites on the eyelash margin that can cause MGD. The procedure is done ear to ear, not just treating the lower lids. Once the lower gland’s secretion improves, the lids appose each other better helping the pumping mechanism that occurs in the upper glands during a blink. Most patients have 3-4 treatments over a 4-month period with maintenance treatments 1-2 times a year depending on severity.
LipiFlow is a procedure designed to treat the root cause of Evaporative Dry Eye, blocked Meibomian glands. LipiFlow works by applying directed energy to the eyelid near the affected glands — precisely targeted warmth from the back of the eyelid, and slight pressure from the front. The LipiFlow treatment can unblock glands, interrupt physical deterioration and, in most cases, provide symptom relief. This treatment is performed in our office.
Georgia Eye Partners is pleased to offer our patients PROKERA®, a new treatment for chronic Dry Eye that heals the surface of your eye (cornea) and returns your eye to a normal, healthy state. PROKERA is a simple procedure and is easily inserted and removed in our office. Once removed your cornea is rejuvenated so you can see and feel better. In a recent patient survey, 93% of patients with Dry Eye said they felt better after treatment with PROKERA.
PROKERA is similar to a contact lens and is made of amniotic tissue, which is known for its natural therapeutic actions and heals your eye faster with less pain, scarring, and inflammation. The amniotic tissue used in PROKERA is provided by a tissue bank regulated by the FDA and has passed numerous quality control tests making it safe and effective. Clinical studies have shown PROKERA reduces the sign and symptoms of Dry Eye, and helps soothe pain, heal the eye, and improve vision.
PROKERA is the only U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-cleared therapeutic device that reduces inflammation and promotes healing.
Not all patients are candidates for the treatments mentioned above. However, there are several non-surgical options available such as:
- Blinking exercises
- Increasing humidity at home or work
- Medications such as artificial tears or moisturizing ointment