Dry Eye

Do your eyes ever feel irritated, tired, dry, or are frequently red or burning? Do you feel the need to excessively blink or use eye drops throughout the day?

If you have lived in the Four Corners area for any length of time, there is a very high likelihood that either you or someone in your household has dry eye disease. If dry eye disease can be caught early on, it is much easier to treat and reverse. However, this condition progresses with age, and becomes much more difficult to treat if ignored or missed by an eye care provider.

Dry Eye Care

Dry Eye Examination

Consequently, every patient that mentions dryness, irritation, itchiness or discomfort of their eyes will undergo specific dry eye testing with the Oculus K5M in addition to their comprehensive eye exam. Dr. Cap will review these images in the exam room with you, and explain what each test means for the short and long term health of your ocular surface. The most important of these tests is infrared imaging of your meibomian glands. Meibomian glands are oil glands embedded in your eyelids that produce a protective layer in your tear film that prevents your tears from evaporating too fast. If your meibomian glands are unhealthy (grade 1, 2, or 3 in Figure 1), it means that they are not releasing an adequate amount of meibum (oil). This allows your tears to evaporate too fast, causing symptoms of dryness and potential damage to your ocular surface. The results of your meibomian gland imaging along with a measurement of tear production and how long it takes for your tears to evaporate enable Dr. Cap to tailor any necessary treatment to your ocular system, taking into account your unique lifestyle, habits, and the type of dry eye disease you suffering from.

Figure 1. Dry Eye

Figure 1.

Dry Eye Treatment

First line treatment for dry eye disease usually consists of specific over-the-counter artificial tears that target the type of dry eye disease that you are suffering from, and at home therapy to increase the liquidity of the oil in your meibomian glands. Diet, supplements, and screen time are also discussed. However, many times this only provides a temporary improvement of symptoms, and more effective treatment is required.

Intense Pulsed Light Treatment

At Peak Eyecare, we offer a revolutionary dry eye treatment option called Intense Pulsed Light, or IPL. While new to the eyecare space, this technology has been used by dermatologists for years to treat a variety of skin conditions including rosacea and pigmented skin lesions, and by aestheticians for cosmetic purposes. Over the past 5-10 years, eye doctors have found that when IPL is applied around the eyelids, patients report a substantial, long lasting improvement in dry eye symptoms. This has since been well researched and outcomes have been proven by multiple peer-reviewed studies.1,2 IPL works by triggering photobiomodulation of the cells that make up and surround the meibomian glands. This promotes better functioning cells, allowing them to produce healthier meibum. IPL also helps eradicate the eyelids of bacteria and Demodex, which are mites that commonly infest the eyelids, leading to irritation and redness. 

IPL treatment for Dry Eye Disease consists of 4 in-office treatments spaced 3-4 weeks apart. Treatment sessions last for about 10 minutes and is very well tolerated by most patients, however some may notice a slight discomfort but never any pain. Many patients will see improvements in their dry eye symptoms by the second or this treatment, with the vast majority experiencing impressive improvements in their dry eye symptoms by the end of the fourth treatment. You will need to avoid excessive sun exposure for the week following each treatment and apply facial sunscreen when outside during the full treatment cycle. Many patients report that in addition to having a substantial improvement in their dry eye symptoms, their facial skin looks younger, tighter, and healthier.

1. Dell, S. J., Gaster, R. N., Barbarino, S. C., & Cunningham, D. N. (2017). Prospective evaluation of intense pulsed light and meibomian gland expression efficacy on relieving signs and symptoms of dry eye disease due to meibomian gland dysfunction. Clinical ophthalmology (Auckland, N.Z.)11, 817–827. https://doi.org/10.2147/OPTH.S130706
 
2. Yan, X., Hong, J., Jin, X., Chen, W., Rong, B., Feng, Y., Huang, X., Li, J., Song, W., Lin, L., & Cheng, Y. (2021). The Efficacy of Intense Pulsed Light Combined With Meibomian Gland Expression for the Treatment of Dry Eye Disease Due to Meibomian Gland Dysfunction: A Multicenter, Randomized Controlled Trial. Eye & contact lens47(1), 45–53. https://doi.org/10.1097/ICL.0000000000000711
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