Dry Eye is on the Rise…WHY? Dr. Yap KNOWS!

Dry Eye Illustration

Do you love spending time on your phone or tablet answering emails, texts, streaming videos? The majority of us engage in these activities daily, for multiple hours. This is now the normal way of life.

Statistical data states that over 30 million people internationally suffer from dry-eye disease. Dry eye occurs when your eyes don’t make enough tears or your tears are not productive.  There are many reasons eyes get dry and can include increased screen time, our normal aging process and some auto immune disorders such as Lupus or Thyroid disorders. Dry eye disease is a little sneaky because in some people, there is little in the way of symptoms. However, symptoms can include red, itchy, watery eyes, feeling of grit or sand in your eye and blurred vision.

What can be done? Eye will tell you…

Care for your eyes by not smoking and avoiding areas where others are smoking.  Use a personal humidifier at your work station or at home. Avoid fans or air conditioning blowing on your eyes.  Wear sunglasses to protect eyes from sun and wind.

Some things you can do to alleviate symptoms would be to use artificial tears such as Theratears or Refresh.  Warm compresses of moist heat can be used at least once a day for 10 minutes. The Bruder Eye mask pops in the microwave and is a way to obtain long-lasting heat.

Wash your eyes at least once a day with a lid scrub (Ocusoft or Avenova) and use a product such as Sterilid to further keep the lash line clean. Taking a good quality Omega 3 supplement and increasing your water intake will add to the health of your eyes. Lastly, the “20-20-20 Rule” will provide relief; every 20 minutes, look 20 feet ahead, for 20 seconds, to rest your eyes.

Your eyecare provider can help determine the cause behind the symptoms and can tell you what can be done to improve eye health and decrease/eliminate symptoms. Treatments such as medications to increase tear production, punctal plugs, or Lipiflow (an FDA approved treatment), are current options for patients. Between 84-93% of people with dry eye symptoms have Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) which is treatable (no cure as of yet) with the use of Lipiflow. as well as other treatments.

Don’t cry, your eyes can be treated and you can feel better. Remember to keep your annual eye appointments and see your eyecare provider if you experience any uncomfortable symptoms or changes in your vision.

Written by Paula Eshoo, Admin/Marketing, Middlesex Eye Physicians

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