Introducing TearCare™ Advanced Dry Eye Care
Smooth as a baby’s bottom….
We’ve all heard the saying above, and intuitively know that baby’s skin is smooth and perfect!
Babies also have another surface that is smooth and perfect – the tear film on the front of the eye. Don’t believe us?!! Just try a staring contest with your 2 – 3 year old, or watch the next baby you see and you’ll notice how infrequently they need to blink compared to adults…. their ‘perfect’ tear film provides optimal protection against the drying effects of air/wind, etc.
The tear film is an essential component for good eye health and vision. There are 3 layers that make up the tear film: an inner mucous layer, a middle aqueous(water) layer and an outer oil layer. Together they keep our eyes hydrated and comfortable as well as help us see clearly.
Like much of our body, we don’t give our tear film a thought until something goes wrong…! The tear film can become unhealthy, resulting in what we commonly call “dry eye”. More correctly, this is called “tear film dysfunction”, and it causes symptoms and can put ocular health and/or good vision at risk. Tear dysfunction/dry eye can result from:
- too little of the middle aqueous(water) layer,
- insufficient or abnormal oily layer allowing tears to evaporate too quickly,
- inflammation reducing the quality of our tears and affecting the ocular surface.
In the early stages of tear dysfunction, patients often notice fluctuating vision or intermittent episodes of blurriness that may be improved by blinking a few times. Common symptoms of advancing dry eye are: foreign body sensation, burning, stinging, redness, irritation, and (surprisingly) excessive tearing.
When tearing is excessive or when eyes are extra watery, it can be a sign of dry eye disease. It sounds counterintuitive, but the eyes react to excessive dryness much like they do to smoke or other irritants which get in our eyes: they reflexively tear to try to fix the problem; thus the paradox of tearing and watering due to dry eyes.
Modern habits, conveniences, and even our jobs (think of the hours spent staring at computers, phones, iPads, etc.) may also contribute to dry eye disease. Extended time in front of a screen has been proven to result in reduced blinking, with studies showing that during long-term screen use eyelid blinking can be reduced by half! This can lead to a poor tear film and worse dry eye symptoms.
Many people also have abnormal or clogged oil glands (which produce the outer layer of the tear film): a condition called Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD). Too little oil or abnormal quality oil is another cause of tear dysfunction/dry eye. This can be improved with dietary changes (vegans are ahead of the rest of us on this!), and with at home or in-office eyelid thermal treatments.
The great news is that there are advanced treatments available for tear dysfunction of all causes! The physicians at West Georgia Eye Care Center, a Dry Eye Center of Excellence, can help determine the likely cause of dry eye symptoms and create a treatment plan! Stay tuned for more information on the newest treatments (individualized treatment plans, dietary recommendations, modern anti-inflammatory medications, TearCare™ (www.tearcare.com) thermal treatment, etc. in our next edition.
We are here to help and only a phone call away 706 323 3491!