Dry Eye Syndrome is a common problem for all ages, but it is more prevalent as we get older. It occurs when your tears are not sufficient to keep the front surface of the eye, your cornea, well lubricated. The cornea needs constant lubrication by tears to stay healthy. Tears are made up of three components: an outer layer of oil, a middle layer of water and an inner layer of mucus. If the eye does not produce enough tears, or if the composition of your tears is not balanced, your eyes will not be properly lubricated. The result may be blurry vision, scratchy, itchy eyes and pain.
- stinging and itching
- excess tearing
- burning sensation
- decreased or blurry vision
- inflammation and redness
- sandy/gritty feeling
- sensitivity to light
Dry Eye Syndrome is generally a condition that is not cured (depending on the cause), but it can be managed. The most common approach to controlling mild dry eye syndrome is with the use of artificial tears to lubricate the cornea. There are many over-the-counter solutions and ointments designed to replenish natural tears.
However, artificial tears only offer temporary symptom relief and do not address the underlying problem, which often is inflammation. Now there is an FDA approved prescription eye drop called Restasis designed to decrease inflammation, thereby helping to make tears that are more efficient in lubricating the eye. This not only increases the patient's comfort but also prevents more serious damage from occurring.
Patients who find themselves frustrated with the inadequacy of treatment effects have an additional option that may reduce their dependency on drops and provide relief from many of their symptoms. The Palomar Laser System, which uses natural broad-band light (also known as Intense Pulsed Light, or IPL) is used to unblock tear glands and reduce the influx of inflammatory chemicals around the orbital region. This therapy leads to a more natural tear film that protects and nourishes the surface of the eye, as dry eye symptoms, such as irritation, redness, eye fatigue, and strain, respond quickly to the production of a healthy tear film and ocular surface.
The IPL laser has been used extensively for treating conditions that affect the area around the eye, so a long track record for safety has already been established for its use in medical treatment. Enrollment in Katzen Eye Group’s Ocular Dryness and Discomfort Program grants you access to this innovative therapy for dry eye.