Two South Avenue East
Suite One
Cranford, NJ 07016
(908) 276-EYES (3937)
(908) 276-3030

About Dry Eye

Dry EyeDry eye syndrome is a medical eye condition that affects over 10 million people in the United States. This eye disorder is often characterized by a lack of tear production or instability of the tear. Symptoms often involve mild to severe discomfort that can potentially be vision disabling. In an effort to help our patients, Better Vision New Jersey is dedicating a special division of our practice to dry eye treatment and management.

What is Dry Eye Syndrome?

Dry eye syndrome sounds like the description, and is characterized by a lack of the tear production to properly lubricate the eyes. Tears are vital to the healthy functioning of the eye. Dry eye syndrome is medically known as Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca and is defined as inflammation and drying of the conjunctiva and cornea. Dry eye syndrome may develop for a wide variety of reasons including environment, lack of enough drinking water and even antihistamines. This condition is actually quite common and increases in frequency with age. The most common symptoms include pain from irritation, a sandy feeling, and lack of tolerance when wearing contact lenses. Treatment options for dry eye syndrome include over the counter lubricating drops, the new LipiFlow® procedure, Restasis®, and punctal plugs. For more information contact us directly.

Your eyes need to function properly and without the appropriate levels of lubrication this is not possible. The natural tear film that is produced in the eyes is what creates the moisture required to maintain vision and overall healthy, comfortable eyes. Once an imbalance occurs in tear production, dry eye syndrome sets in, As mentioned previously there are many reasons that this can occur. Please see our section regarding causes and symptoms for more specific information.

There Are Two Main Forms of Dry Eye Syndrome

Evaporative Dry Eye Syndrome is caused by blockages in the Meibomian glands, which create the lipid (oil) layer of the tear film and are located in your eyelids. This condition of obstructed glands is also known as Meibomian Gland Dysfunction. When the glands aren't working as they should, you don't have enough tear film oil. And your tears - which lubricate your eyes and keep them comfortable - evaporate too quickly. An insufficient oil layer can cause your tears to evaporate 4-6 times faster. Eyelid closure can be an additional factor in evaporation of the tear film. An incomplete blink or incomplete lid closure while sleeping can add considerably to the degree of evaporation of the tear film.

Aqueous Deficient Dry Eye Syndrome occurs when the lacrimal glands do not create a sufficient amount of aqueous (water) to keep the eyes moist. Traditional treatments such as topical eye drops may help alleviate symptoms from this form of Dry Eye.

What Causes Meibomian Gland Dysfunction?

  • Hormonal changes in women during menopause - particularly decreasing levels of estrogen - can cause thickening of the oils secreted by the meibomian glands, which results in blockages.
  • Decreased estrogen levels may enhance conditions under which staphylococcal bacteria can proliferate in meibomian glands. This results in a decreased oil secretion rate.
  • Additional factors that may cause or exacerbate meibomian gland dysfunction include age, contact lens use and hygiene, cosmetic use, and illnesses, particularly diabetes.

How Dry Eye Can Negatively Impact Your vision - and Your Life

The symptoms of dry eye can be uncomfortable - and a big burden. Basic visual tasks, such as reading, using a computer, driving or watching television, may become difficult. Wearing contact lenses may be impossible. And, you might find that symptoms worsen later in the day, keeping you from enjoying the activities you want to do.

Uderlying the considerable discomfort is a real physical condition that needs treatment to stop the cycle of dry eye deterioration and worsening symptoms. Dry eye is a chronic disease - and without proper management, the deterioration may look like this:

  • Increased evaporation of tears
  • Unstable tear film
  • Damage to the eye surface
  • Further discomfort
  • Inflammation and cell damage
  • Fluctuation and decrease in vision

How Do We Determine if You Are Suffering from Evaporative Dry Eye Syndrome?

We will schedule you for a thorough evaluation that begins with a dry eye lifestyle questionnaire. This brief assessment allows us to understand how your eyes feel on a daily basis. If the questionnaire indicates symptoms beyond mild, we will conduct a test called the LipiView® to evaluate the lipid (oil) layer on your eye. LipiView® takes extremely detailed images of your eye's tear film. This non-invasive procedure takes less than five minutes and is conducted in our office. If you've ever had a comprehensive eye exam, LipiView® will feel similar. The tear film can be clearly seen as an array of colors that are reflected when the light source is directed towards the front surface of the eye and readings are instantly calculated and displayed on the LipiView® monitor.

How Is Evaporative Dry Eye Syndrome Treated?

If the doctor determines that blocked glands are at the root of your dry eye condition resulting in Evaporative dry eye and you are a candidate, you can now be treated with the innovative LipiFlow® Thermal Pulsation System. LipiFow works by applying directed energy to the eyelid near the affected glands - precisely targeted warmth from the back of the eyelid, and slight pressure from the front. Opening the blocked glands may allow your body to resume its natural production of tear film oil. This clinically proven procedure takes approximately 12 minutes and is performed in our office. In a clinical study about 79% of patients reported an improvement in overall dry eye symptoms after a single LipiFlow® treatment. Depending on the severity of your specific condition and your response to the treatment, you may need to repeat the LipiFlow® treatment if and when your symptoms return over time.

Call us Today to Schedule Your Dry Eye Evaluation.