Dry Eye Evaluation
Our dry eye evaluations in Arlington, TN are critical for properly diagnosing dry eye disease & determining the best treatment.
Dry eye disease occurs when the eyes are not able to produce enough tears or produce tears of poor quality. Our eye care professionals in Arlington are experienced in diagnosing and treating dry eye disease to help alleviate discomfort and improve our patients’ quality of life.
Take Eye Dryness Survey
Dry eye disease can be a frustrating and uncomfortable condition. Take the Standardized Patient Evaluation of Eye Dryness (SPEED) survey to assess the severity of your dry eye symptoms as a first step to getting relief from dry eye disease.
What are the symptoms of dry eye disease?
Dry eye disease symptoms range from mild to severe and include:
- Eye discomfort or pain
- A burning or stinging sensation in the eyes
- A feeling of grittiness or the presence of sand in the eyes
- Blurred vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Increased tear production (watery eyes)
Along with discomfort, dry eye disease can also cause more serious problems such as corneal ulcers, infections, and scarring.
What causes dry eye disease?
Dry eye disease can occur for a variety of reasons. To effectively treat this condition, you need a customized evaluation of the underlying causes.
Meibomian Gland Dysfunction
Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) occurs when the glands that line the eyelids become clogged or blocked. These glands secrete an oily substance that coats the surface of the eyes, lubricating the eye and preventing tear evaporation.
More about MGD
Dry eye symptoms occur when these glands become blocked, resulting in a reduction or stoppage of the production of this oily compound.
MGD is one of the main causes of dry eye disease and is more common in individuals with 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 extreme cases, MGD can also lead to thickened, irregular eyelid margins and meibomian cyst (chalazion) formation.
Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids characterized by symptoms such as redness, itching, burning, and a feeling of grittiness in the eyes. It may cause the eyelids to become matted or turn inward, which can lead to irritation or even infection.
More about Blepharitis
Common causes of blepharitis include bacterial infection, overgrowth of normal eyelid bacteria, or an allergic reaction. Another potential cause is a blockage in the oil glands located in the eyelids, which can lead to dry eye disease. It is believed that blepharitis-related inflammation can damage the oil glands in the eyelids, reducing the amount of the oily layer of tears that keep the eyes lubricated. This damage can lead to dryness and irritation and worsen blepharitis, creating a vicious cycle.
An infestation of tiny mites called Demodex can also cause blepharitis and dry eye disease. Demodex mites are a type of mite that lives in human hair follicles. An overgrowth of Demodex mites on the eyelashes can cause inflammation of the eyelids…
More about Demodex
…leading to symptoms such as redness, itching, and a feeling of grittiness in the eyes.
This inflammation can also damage the oil glands in the eyelids, leading to dry eye disease.
Almost everyone has these mites, and they only cause issues if they multiply too quickly, and an infestation occurs. Causes of a Demodex mite infestation include weakened immunity, genetic predisposition, or excessive oil production which creates a more suitable environment for mites to flourish. A diagnosis of Demodex infestation is usually made by examining the eyelash under a microscope, which will reveal the presence of the mites.
Some cosmetic ingredients can irritate the eyes, leading to dryness, redness, and itching. These ingredients include preservatives, fragrances, and certain types of dyes.
More about Cosmetics
For example, eye makeup, such as mascara and eyeliner, may contain ingredients that cause irritation and dryness, especially if the makeup is worn for extended periods.
Cosmetics can also contribute to the development of blepharitis by clogging the oil glands of the eyelids, which can lead to bacterial overgrowth and inflammation.
Another way cosmetics can cause dry eye is by blocking the tear ducts, or the small tubes that drain tears from the eyes. When you have a blockage, your tears can’t drain normally, leading to dryness and irritation.
Certain medical conditions
People with certain medical conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and Sjogren’s syndrome, are more likely to develop dry eye disease.
Digital eye strain
When we stare at computer screens or other digital devices, we blink less often. As a result, prolonged exposure to screens can cause dry eye symptoms.
Exposure to wind, sun, and air conditioning can increase tear evaporation and lead to dry eye.
Certain medications, including antihistamines and antidepressants, can cause dry eye symptoms.
How is dry eye disease diagnosed?
Our eye care specialists at Primary Eye Care in Arlington use the latest 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.
OCULUS Keratograph® 5M
We use advanced technology called the OCULUS Keratograph® 5M to examine your eyes. The Keratograph® 5M features a high-resolution color camera and comes with intelligent software to analyze the collected data and document the findings. It can also compare the results and show the success of the dry eye treatment.
Dry eye treatments can now target the underlying cause of the condition. Some patients suffer from insufficient tear production, while others are dealing with excessive tear evaporation. Most have a combination of both problems. After a comprehensive eye exam using the advanced diagnostic tools provided by the Keratograph 5M, your eye doctor can more accurately determine the exact cause and severity of your dry eye. They can then use this detailed information to recommend the best treatment for your specific case.
How is dry eye disease treated?
Treatment for dry eye disease depends on the underlying causes. That is why we customize our treatment plans based on your unique needs. While dry eye can be a chronic condition, we prescribe treatment to help patients maintain healthy eyes, minimize dryness and discomfort, and prevent vision loss. Some of the typical treatments include:
- Prescription eye drops to combat inflammation
- Treating oil glands
- Blinking exercises or proper eyelid hygiene
- If an infection is causing the issue, low-dose antibiotics may also be prescribed.
We also offer the following treatments for dry eye in our Arlington office:
Contact us to schedule your dry eye disease evaluation
If you are suffering from the symptoms of dry eye disease, contact us today to schedule a dry eye evaluation and treatment at our location in Arlington! We look forward to seeing you soon.