Dry Eye

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Avon Vision Associates 860-677-6444  

New Hartford Eye Associates 860-379-7183

Symptoms

Causes

Evaluation

Treatments

Dry Eye Store

Referring Doctors

Symptoms

Causes

Evaluation

Treatments

Dry Eye Store

Referring Doctors

Dry eye disease, also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca, is a common condition in which the eyes do not produce enough tears or the tears that are produced are of poor quality. Our eye doctors specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of dry eye disease leading to good outcomes for patients.  

What are the symptoms of dry eye disease? 

Symptoms of dry eye disease can range from mild to severe, and may include: 

  • Eye discomfort or pain 
  • A burning or stinging sensation in the eyes 
  • Itching 
  • Redness 
  • A feeling of grittiness or the presence of sand in the eyes 
  • Blurred vision 
  • Sensitivity to light 
  • Increased tear production (watery eyes) 

In addition to causing discomfort, dry eye disease can also lead to more serious problems such as corneal ulcers, infections, and scarring. 

What causes dry eye disease? 

There are many different reasons people can develop dry eye disease, so if you’re experiencing symptoms of dry eye disease, it’s important to get a customized evaluation of the underlying causes to effectively treat it.  

Meibomian gland dysfunction

Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) is a condition in which the meibomian glands, located in the eyelids, become clogged or blocked. 

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These glands produce an oily substance that helps to lubricate the eye and prevent tear evaporation. When these glands become blocked, the production of this oily substance is reduced or stopped, leading to an imbalance in the tear film and dry eye symptoms.  

MGD is one of the top underlying causes for dry eye disease and is particularly prevalent in people who have a history of blepharitis or eyelid inflammation. Symptoms of MGD can include eye discomfort, redness, a feeling of grittiness, and a sensation of burning or stinging. In severe cases, MGD can also lead to thickened, irregular eyelid margins and meibomian cyst (chalazion) formation.  

Certain medical conditions

Certain medical conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and Sjogren’s syndrome, can lead to dry eye disease.

Medications

Certain medications, such as antihistamines and antidepressants, can also cause dry eyes as a side effect.

Environmental factors

Environmental factors such as wind, sun, and air conditioning can also contribute to dry eyes.

Digital eye strain

People who spend long hours in front of a computer screen or other digital devices may experience dry eye symptoms as the blink rate decreases.

Blepharitis

Blepharitis is a condition in which the eyelids become inflamed. It is a common condition that affects the eyelids and can cause a variety of symptoms including redness, itching, burning, and a feeling of grittiness in the eyes.

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It can also cause the eyelashes to become matted or to turn inward, which can lead to irritation and even infection.

Blepharitis can be caused by several factors, including a bacterial infection, an overgrowth of normal eyelid bacteria, or an allergic reaction. It can also be caused by a blockage in the oil glands located in the eyelids, which can lead to dry eye disease. It is thought that inflammation caused by blepharitis can damage the oil glands in the eyelids, leading to a decrease in the production of the oily layer of tears that helps to keep the eyes lubricated. This can lead to dryness and irritation, which can then make the blepharitis worse, creating a vicious cycle.

Cosmetics

Some ingredients in cosmetics can be irritating to the eyes, leading to dryness, redness, and itching. These ingredients include preservatives, fragrances, and certain types of dyes.

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For example, eye makeup, such as mascara and eyeliner, can contain ingredients that can cause irritation and dryness, especially if the makeup is worn for long periods of time.

Cosmetics may also contribute to the development of blepharitis by clogging the oil glands in the eyelids, which can lead to an overgrowth of bacteria and inflammation.

Another possible way that cosmetics can cause dry eye is by blocking the tear ducts, which is a channel that carries away the tears from the eyes. This blockage can cause the tears to build up in the eyes, leading to dryness and irritation.

Demodex mites

One of the possible causes of blepharitis and dry eye disease is an infestation of tiny mites called Demodex. These mites are normally found on human skin, but when they occur in large numbers on the eyelashes, they can cause inflammation of the eyelids, leading to symptoms such as redness, itching, and a feeling of grittiness in the eyes.

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This inflammation can also cause damage to the oil glands in the eyelids, which can lead to dry eye disease. 

Demodex mites are found on many people and are considered normal. However, an infestation may happen when the number of mites exceeds the normal limit. An infestation of mites can be caused by weakened immunity, genetic predisposition, or excessive oil production which makes the environment more suitable for mites to flourish. The diagnosis of Demodex infestation is usually made by examination of an eyelash under a microscope, which will reveal the presence of the mites. 

Evaluation for Dry Eye disease   

The doctors at Avon Vision Associates and New Hartford Eye Associates use advanced diagnostic technology to evaluate patients for dry eye disease. If you are experiencing symptoms, we can diagnose dry eye disease and the underlying cause for your specific case.

In addition to the comprehensive eye exam, we will conduct these tests during your evaluation:

TearLab

The TearLab Osmolarity System is designed to help diagnose dry eye disease by measuring the osmolarity, or concentration of dissolved substances, of a patient’s tears. This diagnostic tool is meant to be used alongside other clinical evaluations to confirm or rule out dry eye disease in patients suspected of having the condition. 

Meibography

Meibography is a diagnostic imaging technique used to visualize the meibomian glands of the eyelids. The meibomian glands are in the eyelids and are responsible for producing the oily layer of the tear film that helps to keep the eyes lubricated. 

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They are an important part of the tear film and when the glands are blocked or not functioning properly, it can lead to dry eyes. 

Meibography is performed by taking an imaging of the eyelid margins with a special infrared camera called the Firefly Slit Lamp. The camera allows the meibomian glands to be visualized and evaluated for size, shape, and position and also the degree of obstruction. This is important in determining the quality of the oils they are secreting. 

Meibography is a non-invasive and painless procedure. It can be performed as an office-based procedure that allows for a detailed assessment of the meibomian glands and can help to identify any problems with the glands such as clogging or shrinkage. It can also provide valuable information to aid in the treatment of dry eye disease and meibomian gland dysfunction. 

InflammaDry

InflammaDry is a unique, in-office test that allows for quick detection of dry eye disease by measuring elevated levels of MMP-9, an inflammatory marker found in the tears of patients with dry eye disease. This test is the first and only one of its kind. 

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Unlike other dry eye tests that focus on measuring tear production and stability, InflammaDry utilizes a 4-step process to specifically identify patients with elevated levels of MMP-9, thus providing an alternative for patients who may have been overlooked by traditional testing methods. 

Contact us to schedule an evaluation for Dry Eye disease   

If you are suffering from the symptoms of dry eye disease, request a dry eye evaluation or treatment today! We look forward to seeing you soon. Request your evaluation for dry eye disease by contacting our office at info@avonvision.net. 

Treatment options for Dry Eye   

The eye doctors at Avon Vision Associates and New Hartford Eye Associates have expertise in diagnosing and treating dry eye disease. 

Through an evaluation and advanced diagnostic testing, your eye doctor will gather the information needed to determine if you have dry eye disease.  We utilize the Firefly WDR slit lamp microscope, which enables us to accurately judge the absence of meibomian glands, obtain tear film breakup time, analyze eye surface damage and inflammation, and evaluate tear meniscus height. 

If a diagnosis is made, your doctor will work with you to develop a treatment plan tailored to your unique vision and ocular health needs.    

Dry eye can vary in severity from person to person, as everyone is different. We offer safe and effective treatment solutions for dry eye. These can include eye drops, lifestyle adjustments, and other strategies designed not just to treat your symptoms, but to address the source of the issue, making your treatment more sustainable and allowing you to live a comfortable, high-quality life.    

We also provide treatments for dry eye in our office. Your eye doctor will recommend one or more of these treatments, based on the underlying causes of your dry eye and what will best suit your needs.  Learn more about these treatments!   

dry eye treatment

OptiLight

dry eye treatment

TearCare

dry eye treatment

ZEST

dry eye treatment

Scleral Lenses