Dry Eye Therapy in South Carolina

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Dry Eye Relief

Dry eye can cause multiple uncomfortable symptoms, including gritty, scratchy, and burning eyes. Chronic dry eye can even cause blurry vision, light sensitivity, and cornea damage. 

For some people, the stinging, burning and redness may seem like little more than a nuisance. But, if left untreated, dry eye syndrome can lead to serious eye problems, including blindness. Dry eyes are inflamed eyes. Inflammation of the front surface of the eye increases the risk of infection and can also lead to scarring. Once scarring occurs, permanent loss of sight can occur.

Book an appointment with Carolina Eyecare Physicians for your personalized plan for dry eye relief.

What is Dry Eye Disease?

Dry eye disease is a chronic lack of sufficient lubrication and moisture in the eye. Our eyes need tears to stay healthy and comfortable. If your eyes do not produce enough tears, it is called dry eye.

Dry eye is also when your eyes do not make the right type of tears or tear film.

Symptoms of Dry Eye

Here are some of the symptoms of dry eye:

  • You feel like your eyes are stinging and burning
  • There is a scratchy or gritty feeling like something is in your eye
  • There are strings of mucus in or around your eyes
  • Your eyes are red or irritated. This is especially true when you are in the wind or near cigarette smoke
  • It is painful to wear contact lenses
  • You have lots of tears in your eyes

Dry eye disease can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Certain diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, Sjögren’s syndrome, thyroid disease, and lupus
  • Blepharitis (when eyelids are swollen or red)
  • Entropion (when eyelids turn in) or ectropion (eyelids turn outward)
  • Being in smoke, wind or a very dry climate
  • Looking at a computer for a long time
  • Using contact lenses for a long time
  • Having refractive eye surgery, such as LASIK
  • Taking certain medicines, such as diuretics, beta-blockers, allergy medicines, sleeping pills, & anxiety medicines

Healthy Tears

While tears can help you express feelings of sadness or joy, the tear film is meant to protect and nourish the eye’s surface. The tear film has 3 layers:

  • The oily layer (outer layer) keeps the eye surface smooth and prevents tears from evaporating too quickly. The oil (or meibum) is produced by the meibomian glands.
  • The watery layer washes away debris and particles, keeping the eye clean and hydrated. The watery middle layer is produced by the lacrimal glands.
  • The mucus layer (inner layer) helps tears spread across the eye and stick to the surface. Mucus is produced by goblet cells in the conjunctiva.

Dry eye occurs when the eye can’t effectively produce one or more of these components. Medical conditions, medications, environmental conditions, nutrition, and a number of other factors can interfere with tear production and drainage.

Dry Eye Treatment

Artificial Tears

Artificial tears (eye drops) add lubrication to the eye’s surface. Generally, preservative-free eye drops are recommended for long-term use, as preservatives can cause eye irritation. However, patients with severe dry eye may need additional treatment to reduce symptoms.

Punctal plugs are tiny devices (about the size of a grain of rice) that are inserted into the tear ducts (puncta) to block drainage. By preventing tears from draining, it can improve eye moisture and reduce eye discomfort.

There are 2 types of punctal plugs: temporary and semi-permanent.

Temporary or dissolving plugs are naturally absorbed by the body, breaking down within a few days or months. In some cases, a temporary punctal plug may be recommended to test the method before trying semi-permanent plugs.

Semi-permanent plugs are typically made of medical-grade plastic and are designed to last for years. However, they can be removed if necessary.Most patients can return to normal activities immediately after the insertion procedure. Some patients may notice a scratchy or irritated feeling in the corner of their eye. However, patients typically find the feeling fades with time.

LipiFlow

LipiFlow Thermal Pulsation therapy is a treatment for when tears evaporate too quickly. When the meibomian glands are blocked or don’t produce enough oil, adding artificial tears or producing more watery tears won’t effectively improve dry eye.

LipiFlow therapy applies heat and gentle pressure to stimulate the meibomian glands. The heat can also help melt oil buildup to improve flow through the glands. The in-office procedure takes approximately 20 minutes.

LipiFlow is recommended for patients with meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), but may not benefit patients experiencing other tear film problems. Your eye doctor can assess your eye health to determine the cause of your dry eye and recommend appropriate treatment.

Preventing Dry Eye Disease

Our doctors can give you tips to prevent dry eye disease. Some of these tips may include:

  • Avoid using a hair dryer, if possible
  • Stay away from very warm rooms
  • Add moisture to the air with a humidifier during the winter
  • Protect your eyes from drying wind by wearing wrap-around glasses outside
  • Add omega-3 fatty acids to your diet

Contact Us for Dry Eye Therapy

You don’t need to suffer from dry eye. After assessing your eyes and discussing your symptoms, your eye doctor can develop a personalized treatment plan. Contact us at Carolina Eyecare Physicians for dry eye relief.

Locations

We have several convenient locations throughout South Carolina. Please view the nearest location to you or get directions below. 

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