Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry Eye Syndrome (DES) is a common and often chronic condition in which there are insufficient tears to properly lubricate and nourish the eye. DES, is a multifactorial disease of the tear glands and the ocular surface with the potential to damage the surface of the eye. Even mild cases can become debilitating. It affects a significant percentage of the population, but is more prevalent in persons older than 40 years of age, particularly in post menopausal women.

Typical symptoms include:

  • Dryness
  • Burning
  • Sting
  • Itching
  • Pain
  • Light sensitivity
  • Redness
  • Blurry Vision
  • Foreign body sensation

Though it may seem strange, DES can also be exhibited by an overabundance of tearing. This condition, called epiphoria, is most often associated with improper tear chemistry, but may also be associated with improper drainage.

Today, through the use of specialized lab tests, like those pioneered by ATD, eye doctors are better able to differentiate between the condition’s various confusing and possibly overlapping causes, thus arriving at a more precise diagnosis. This translates into the development of a more effective treatment plan for the patient.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of DES, it is highly recommended that you locate an eye doctor who is knowledgeable and experienced in the proper diagnosis and treatment of dry eyes.

 

Causes

Dry Eye Syndrome is a common disorder of the normal tear film that, unless properly diagnosed and treated, may lead to more serious problems.

Dry Eye Syndrome can have multiple confusing and over-lapping causes that generally fall into one of two main categories: Aqueous Deficient Dry Eye or Evaporative Dry Eye.

The eye depends on the flow of tears to provide constant moisture and lubrication to maintain vision and comfort. Tears are a combination of water, for moisture; oils, for lubrication; mucus, for even spreading; and antibodies and special proteins, for resistance to infection. When there is an imbalance in this tear system, a person may experience dry eyes.

For some, the cause of dry eyes is an imbalance in the composition of their tears called Tear Film Insufficiency or Evaporative Dry Eye. Other people don’t produce enough tears to keep their eyes comfortably lubricated. This is called Aqueous Deficient Dry Eye.

To properly diagnose and treat the underlying cause, it is very important for your eye doctor to be able to accurately differentiate between the two as effective treatments differ considerably. ATD provides your eye doctor with the diagnostic tools necessary to confirm and differentiate the underlying cause of dry eye.

 

Diagnosis

While there are many over-the-counter treatments available for dry eyes, it’s wise to see an eye doctor to evaluate the cause of the condition and prescribe the correct treatment.

Dry Eye Syndrome (DES) poses a diagnostic and treatment challenge. Causes of DES may overlap or coincide with varying degrees of severity and differing clinical symptoms.

Eye doctors have historically had to rely on using a combination of subjective observational clinical tests for dry eyes. The Schirmer Test uses a tiny strip of paper placed on the edge of the lower eyelids to measure the moisture output of the eye. Doctors may also use dyes to see how much the surface of the eye has been affected by dryness.

These tests have generally provided very subjective and inconsistent results.

ATD now makes an FDA cleared test available to your eye doctor that is objective, simple, rapid and accurate.

The ability to access objective lab data represents a significant advance in ocular diagnostics and allows for more accurate diagnoses, assists in diagnostic differentiation (Aqueous Deficiency vs. Evaporative Disorder) and the management of appropriate treatment.

 

Treatment

It goes without saying that effective treatment must follow a correct diagnosis. There are a number of steps that can be taken to alleviate the symptoms and treat them effectively. You should discuss treatment options with an eye care specialist. Treatments for dry eyes may include:

  • Artificial Tears
  • Lubricating Ointments
  • Tear Duct Plugs
  • Antibiotics
  • Hot Compresses
  • Steroid Drops
  • Eyelid Scrubs

and many others…

Given the large number of possible causes and treatments, varying degrees of effectiveness and the need to avoid a “try this-try that approach”, it is very important that patients receive a comprehensive eye exam and correct diagnosis to avoid ineffective treatment, wasted time and expense.

ATD provides your eye doctor the diagnostic tools necessary to more precisely diagnose and treat DES.