The tear film of the eye is a complex layer that coats the surface of the eye. The tear film has three layers, a lipid layer, a mucin layer, and an aqueous layer, and is filled with nutrients, proteins, and enzymes.
The purpose of the tear film is to keep the eye comfortable and act as an interface between air and the ocular surface supporting clear vision.
There are many reasons for dry eye. Dry eye is prevalent in the aging population. Women that are post-menopausal can have significant hormonal dry eye. Many medications such as blood pressure medication, antihistamines, and anti-depressants cause dry eye as well.
Poor eyelid position and environmental conditions also cause significant dry eye. In a large eye care practice like North Shore Eye Care in Smithtown New York in Long Island, our board certified eye doctors and eye surgeons treat dry eye every day.
There are many symptoms associated with dry eye. The symptoms that many patients know are foreign body sensation, pain, light sensitivity, redness, and itching. Dry eye often causes excessive tearing. When the ocular surface is dry, the lacrimal gland that is responsible for creating tears can react by reflex and cause excessive tearing. These tears tend to be too watery and simply spill over the eyelid margin. Another symptom of dry eye is visual fluctuation with concentration like reading, driving a car, or watching a movie. When you concentrate, the blink rate reduces and the ocular surface becomes drier. When the tear film is inadequate, the vision will blur.
Our board certified eye doctors in Suffolk County of Long Island start with conservative treatment. We tell our patients to avoid environmental irritants such as scented soaps, air fresheners, certain cosmetics, and other allergenic compounds. We have our patients use artificial tears and ointments at night. We have our patients use oral nutrition such as flaxseed oil and fish oil. Restasis is a prescription dry eye product that is a wonderful addition to our treatment of dry eye. Restasis is topical cyclosporine that treats dry eye and inflammation associated with dry eye. Restasis can take a few weeks to start working, but after that time, most patients have fewer symptoms and clearer consistent vision.
When it comes to eye surgery like bladeless custom lasik and cataract surgery, it is important to have a healthy tear film for the best visual result. Dr. Jeff Martin, Dr. Larry Zweibel and Dr. John Mauro treat dry eye prior to lasik and cataract surgery so that healing and visual recovery is optimized.
Please call our board certified lasik surgeons and cataract surgeons at North Shore Eye Care to find out more about dry eye as well as lasik laser eye surgery and advanced cataract surgery. We have two convenient locations in Riverhead New York and Smithtown, Long Island.