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Dry Eye Syndrome and Treatment in West Orange, NJ

In many ways, your tears provide comfort to your eyes. Water moisturizes, the outer layers of oils accomplish lubrication and ensure evaporation does not take place, and protein aids protection against infection. When your eyes are no longer able to produce sufficient tears for lubrication, or moisture tends to evaporate from your eyes very quickly, then dry eye strikes.

Dr. Alan Schlussel is the founder and director of The Dry Eye Treatment Center of New York and New Jersey. You can be sure of his excellent care and effective dry eye syndrome treatment.

Dry Eye – An Overview

Popularly known as dry eye, dry eye syndrome (DES) is a condition where an individual lacks sufficient and quality tears to both nourish and lubricate the eye. Other names used for dry eye syndrome include keratoconjuctivitis sicca (Kcs) or dry eye disease. Tears function to maintain the health of the eye’s front surface --- it also helps provide clear vision.

Signs and Symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome

Usually, the following signs and symptoms of dry eyes would affect both eyes;

  • Redness
  • Gritty sensation
  • Tearing
  • Dryness
  • Burning
  • Itchy eyes
  • Feeling of a foreign particle in the eye
  • Blurred vision
  • Light sensitivity (photophobia)
  • Crusty eyes
Do Many People Suffer Dry Eye?

In our practice, we treat many cases of dry eye --- which shows it’s a common eye condition. Dry eye syndrome is in fact, the reason why most people visit eye specialists. Recently, an online poll showed that about half of the American population over the age of 18 experience dry eye symptoms regularly.

Also, Harris Interactive conducted a study recently and the outcome showed that approximately 70 percent of individuals who suffer dry eye do not visit an eye care expert --- this is somewhat worrisome because most of these people can get relief with dry eye treatments. A number of treatments are available for dry eye as you will find out below.

How Does Dry Eye Exam Work?

When patients with symptoms of dry eye syndrome come into our office, we make them fill out a history form. In the course of the exam, we try to find out about their dry eye symptoms and ask other relevant questions that help us determine the potential causes and also ask if there’s any self-management treatment for the dry eye so far.

We do a very thorough examination. We spend a lot of time evaluating the tear film, looking at the different layers of the tear film. We measure the quantity and evaluate the quality of the tears produced by the eye, paying particular attention the oil produced in the tear film.

Eventually, we will come up with diagnosis for your type of dry eye --- if it is mucus deficient, water deficient, or evaporative. Subsequently, we create a treatment plan based on the varieties of methods that we adopt in treating different types of dry eyes syndrome and would work together to implement the treatment plan.

Do you have any questions? Contact our optometrists Dr. Schlussel and Dr. Tao now. You can call our eye care office, or visit our West Orange, NJ. dry eye doctor today.

Dry Eye Statistics

It has been misconceived in the past that dry eye is more common with women; but, we now find men suffering dry eye almost as often. About 58 percent of women experience dry eyes regularly, while 43 percent of men are also dry eye patients as evidenced by one related symptom or the other.  

Research shows that those who wear contact lens have higher risk of dry eye syndrome. People who use contact lenses are almost ten times as likely to suffer dry eyes as individuals with excellent vision, and over five times as likely as people who wear glasses.

A report reveals almost 20 percent or 1/5 report of people treating dry eye symptoms with over-the-counter eye drops at least five times a week. Most people who try to manage dry eye symptoms with eye-drop report they only experience a sort of relief. Nearly 60 percent of adults reported they’ve never visited an eye professional for help in treating their dry eyes on their own.

What is the Cause of Dry Eyes?

As mentioned earlier, dry eye emanates from a number of factors such as the use of contact lens, allergies, gland dysfunction, pregnancy, vitamin A deficiency, Sjogren’s syndrome, LASIK surgery, as well as certain medications — e.g. antihistamines hormone replacement therapy, certain blood pressure medications and antidepressants. Also, chronic conjunctivitis from habits such as tobacco exposure can promote dry eye. Mostly, the diagnosis of the condition is based on the symptoms, but other tests may be involved to diagnose the condition. Details of some of the causes are explained below:

Recently, a study made an interesting revelation about the relationship between migraines and dry eyes. The study made comparison between those who suffer migraines and those who don’t; the outcome of the study revealed higher prevalence of dry eye syndrome among migraine sufferers compared to people without migraine or headaches. Consequently, the researchers are of the opinion that migraines may get worse when an individual has dry eye symptoms.

Again, another recent study focused on office work and speculated that majority of the headache complaints are resulting from dry eyes --- but, it is uncertain whether or not one causes the other, or whether the use of computer for longer hours is the contributing factor to both dry eyes and headaches.

Also, environmental factors can promote dry eye syndrome. Other common causes include pollen, dry air or cigarette smoke. Avoiding the avoidable environmental factors can help reduce the risk of the condition.

Blepharitis is another prevalent cause of dry eyes syndrome that we’re noticing increasingly. This condition is an inflammation of the lid glands that promote and produce oil in an individual’s tear film. With the passage of time, these glands lining, the lids may becoming clogged, causing the oils in an individual’s tear film to stop flowing atop of the tear film to provide protection.

Individuals who suffer from blepharitis produce tears but the tears evaporate too swiftly. Therefore, in-between blinks, it’s either the tear film is breaking down or drying up. That leads to redness as well as other symptoms/classic signs of dry eye syndrome. This is what is known as evaporative dry eye. According to some experts, staring at a computer screen for prolonged years makes chronic blepharitis more prevalent.

BlephEx is a great tool to remove scales and debris found in moderate to severe blepharitis. BlephEx™ is a very useful addition to the lid hygiene / dry eye armamentarium. The device effectively clears debris from the lashes and lid margins.

These systemic diseases include Sjogren’s syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis – these symptoms are commonly treated by rheumatologists and can lead to dry eyes. In addition, Glaucoma cases that require medication as well as diabetics are more prone to dry eye condition.

Hormonal changes can also result in dry eyes --- particularly among women from age 50 and above, including aging men --- these are all more susceptible to dry eyes syndrome.

Why is Dry Eye Prevalent in the Present Day?

Dry eye syndrome seems to have become more common in recent years. Perhaps with the advent of technology iPhones and other mobile devices, more people are squinting down at small print. More people than ever before are spending more time in front of computer screens, or involved in other activities that promote staring. When you stare, you blink less frequently, and this contributes to dry eyes.

Use of Computers and Mobile Devices

In recent years, dry eye syndrome appears to be more prevalent. Maybe, the advent of mobile devices such as phones could be a risk factor as more people squint to look at tiny prints on these devices. Also, more than ever, more people are spending long hours in front of a computer screen, or looking at other gadgets that tend to impact their eyes negatively. Staring makes you blink less frequently, which contributes to the causes of dry eyes.

Here are some helpful tips to prevent eye strain when using the computer or staring at similar devices for a longer time;

  • When using a computer, learn to blink more often
  • Limit the amount of time you stare at smaller screens or just any screen size
  • You should enlarge small letters (especially on the computer) when reading, then you can get the texts back to their former font size thereafter. You should also learn to take a break from your computer intermittently.
Contact Lenses

Contact lenses are effective for vision correction and are getting increasingly popular even for young people. However, using contact lenses make people more prone to dry eyes, particularly if you wear them for a very long time or you don’t properly care for them. Some brands of contact lenses are better compared to others --- and wearing glasses appears to increasingly reduce the risk of dry eyes.

Medications and Anti-depressants

Also, as the population ages, the chances of having dry eye syndrome gets higher. Also, certain medications such as anti-depressants can increase the risk factor to dry eyes.

Recommended Treatments for Dry Eye?

Lifestyle Changes to Manage Dry Eye

Managing Dry Eye through Lifestyle Changes

There are a number of treatment methods for dry eye. First, experts recommend prevention of the symptoms. Make sure you blink often and drink often. Do not meddle with eye irritants. And, you should apply lubricating eye drops if you are medicating on drugs that increase the risk of dry eyes.

You can easily find over-the-counter eye drops for managing dry eye. Keep up a healthy lifestyle, with emphasis on Omega 3 and other rich vitamins.

  • First, we recommend a simple remedy as one of the common treatments of the condition --- Keep BLINKING as many times as possible. By blinking fully and hard with your eyes firmly closed, you will increase your chances of restoring the tear film.
  • If you use the computer heavily, ensure you always observe the 20-20-20 rule for vision. Basically, it means that every 20 minutes spent using a screen, you should try to look away at something that is 20 feet away from you for a total of 20 seconds. alternatively, close your eyes or look down every few 20 minutes or slightly less --- this will help provide relief for your eyes.
  • If you are using medications that cause dry eye syndrome, such as beta blockers or antihistamines, ensure you use over-the-counter teardrops to combat dry eye.
Using Restasis Eye Drops for Dry Eyes

Restasis is a common dry eye treatment we prescribe for patients --- the most common prescription for dry eye. Patients use the eye-drop two times daily. This teardrop is a form of cyclosporine --- a medication prescribed to a number of chronic conditions, which is found to relieve dry eyes symptoms as well.  

However, Restasis has a downside; it results in burning of the eyes when a patient starts taking it, but it isn’t like this for all patients --- and it takes as long as three to six months to really penetrate into the body. As a result, usually when we prescribe this dry eye medication, we at the same time prescribe a steroid to lower inflammation and prevent the initial itchy and burning eyes side effects.

This tear drops appears to boost the amount of the watery part of the patient’s tears; however, it does not really aid improvement of the oil outflow --- the oil that has to be produced right on top of the tears to avoid its evaporation. A number of studies at the moment are pointing that more than 50 percent of individuals who suffer dry eyes suffer meibomian gland dysfunction.

Therefore, if the initial lines of treatments are not able to manage your dry eye symptoms, you should seek more rigorous treatments for your dry eye condition as well as blepharitis.

Blepharitis and Dry Eye – Treatments

Some treatments are targeted at blepharitis and one of the commonly recommended methods in our office is combining warm compress with massage. For the best possible relief for dry eye symptoms, the patient should apply hot water compress as many times as possible a day.

The moist eye treatment gets more convenient with Blephex. It is an effective device for cleaning the lids and worth using in those who have accumulation of collarettes and debris.

In our office, we also often prescribe a medication known as AzaSite. The medication is an eyedrop form of Azithromycin. The patient uses it twice daily for 2 days ---then it will be used once daily for the rest of the month. That is a prescription dry eye treatment that appears to be quite effective; however, just like hot compresses, the patient’s compliance is important for successful outcome.

LipiFlow Treatment for Dry Eye Syndrome

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved something known as LipiFlow, which is  a new device. It was just introduced recently and it’s our pleasure to be among the few practices offering this innovative technology in West Orange, NJ.

We carry out the procedure for attaching the device to a patient’s eyelid right here in our office. The product purifies the eye of all the clogged oils as it heats up the glands to unclog the oil.

In the course of the initial session of our eyecare radio program, Jenny expressed complete satisfaction with the LipiFlow procedure recommended. Here are her exact words, “LipiFlow doesn’t cause any form of discomfort. It lasts only for approximately 12 minutes and the result appears to be instant.” After suffering dry eye syndrome for a number of years, Jenny pointed out that “while a number of physicians haven’t heard about it, LipiFlow is best described as a wonder.” See our LipiFlow page to learn more about this device and the procedure for its attachment – visit our West orange, NJ office today.

We offer the latest Diagnostic and Treatment For Dry Eye

Dr. Alan Schlussel uses the latest diagnostic equipment and emerging, FDA approved technology to quickly and accurately pinpoint and treat the root cause of your dry eye problem. We don’t just throw any old drops at you either.

We provide custom treatment plans designed to maximize the relief of your dry eye symptoms AND treat the underlying cause of your discomfort.

Dr. Alan Schlussel is now offering the Marco Equinox Low Level Light Therapy (LLLT), the latest in dry eye treatment technology.
Developed by NASA, LLLT has proven effective at treating dry eye disease. LLLT uses specially designed LED lights to gently warm up the eyelids, causing the meibomian glands to unclog and release oils.

  • Safe, non-invasive procedure
  • 15 minutes per session
  • No recovery time needed
  • No side effects or discomfort
  • Safe for adults and children

Click here to learn more about this exciting NEW dry eye treatment.

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