Your eyes have a protective tear film layer that helps nourish and lubricate your eyes. If the combination of water, mucin, oil, proteins, growth factors and antibodies become out of balance, you may develop dry eye. When this occurs, your eyes may try to compensate for this lack of lubrication by producing more tears. This constant watering of the eyes does not typically provide relief because the tears are too watery.
It’s an odd reality, but your excessively watery eyes may mean you have dry eye.
As your dry eye condition worsens, you may also experience:
- Blurry vision
- Foreign body sensation
- Sandy/gritty feeling
Most people turn to over-the-counter eye drops to find relief from these symptoms. Unfortunately, this is usually a temporary fix. Instead of wasting your money on ineffective products, it is best to find out what is causing your specific dry eye so you can get the right treatment.
There are actually 2 completely different types of dry eye:
- Evaporative Dry Eye (most common): caused by blockage or inflammation of the eyelid glands (meibomian glands) which leads to a shortage of oil on the surface of the tears and quicker-than-normal tear evaporation
- Aqueous Dry Eye: occurs when the lacrimal glands do not produce enough tears
The treatment for each type of dry eye is different. In some cases, artificial tears may be sufficient. At Westlake Eye Specialists our doctors also perform punctal occlusion (punctal plugs) which involves the insertion of a small device to prevent your natural tears from draining too quickly from the eyes.
We also offer several advanced treatments for dry eye including:
- LipiFlow® Thermal Pulsation System
Our doctors use this treatment for Evaporative Dry Eye / Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD). This virtually painless process opens blocked eyelid glands through the use of controlled heat to the inner eyelid. This stimulates the production of natural oils in your tear film.
If your dry eye is caused by damage to your cornea, the PROKERA insert can help to heal the surface of your eye. Made of amniotic tissue between two clear rings, PROKERA is placed on the surface of your eye to provide soothing relief to your eye. This is a temporary treatment that will be removed after your eye is healed.
- TearLab Osmolarity System®
Too much salt content in your tears may be damaging the surface cells of your eyes. We are able to measure your tear osmolarity (saltiness) using this quick and easy test. This test helps our doctors diagnose your exact type of dry eye.
Westlake Eye Specialists is proud to be an Accredited Dry Eye Center. This means that TearLab® has recognized us as a practice that provides the highest quality of dry eye diagnostics and treatments. When you choose our team for dry eye treatment, you can rest assured knowing that you are in the very best hands.
If you are suffering with the symptoms of dry eye and have not found relief with over-the-counter options, contact the dry eye doctors at Westlake Eye Specialists today at (512) 472-4011 or https://www.westlakeeyes.com/contact-us/ to schedule an eye exam.