Are You Suffering from Dry Eyes?
At Westmead Eyes Optometrists we have a special interest in the treatment of dry eye and offer a range of dry eye therapies in Western Sydney. Dry eye is a common condition and symptoms can range in severity from occasional grittiness to constant discomfort and blur. We understand that dry eye can significantly impact your quality of life and be a burden to you.
What causes dry eye?
Dry eye can result from a variety of environmental and health factors. These include air conditioned environments, computer work, advancing age, medications, pregnancy, skin disease, eye surgery, dry climates and smoking. Dry eye is related to a deficiency of watery tears (Sjogren’s, Stevens’ Johnson, Graft vs Host disease) and/or a problem with oil production (Meibomian Gland Dysfunction). A diagnosis of blepharitis is common in many dry eye patients. Dry eye tends to worsen with time if left untreated.
What are the symptoms of dry eye disease?
- gritty, itching, or burning feeling
- excessive tearing
- red eyes
- eyes feeling tired
- increased light sensitivity
- constant use of eye drops
- eyes feeling dry
- pulling out strands of mucus from the eyes
What can be done for dry eye symptoms?
Dry eye can be successfully managed, and often we are able to significantly improve your quality of life. Treatment options are tailored to your specific needs. Most causes of dry eye are longstanding, and treatment plants are often just as long. It can take up to three months for significant results to be seen, and up to six months for more advanced cases.
If there is any inflammation, the cause needs to be determined and treated. Often this will include using eyelid wipes/cleaners and warm compresses. We may use a short course of medication to break the inflammatory cycle.
Every case is different, and we have a large range of treatment options. Some management options are detailed in our post here. If you would like to book in for a dry eye consultation, we only charge a $85 fee for diagnostic testing. This will allow us to tailor a treatment plan for you.
Our dry eye testing process
- Ocular Surface Disease Index Questionnaire: to classify your dry eye symptoms on a scale from 1 to 100
- Slit Lamp Examination: to assess your eye under high magnification for any signs of inflammation or damage. This may include instillation of vital dyes including Sodium Fluorescein or Lissamine Green to determine compromised areas on the surface of your eye
- Non Invasive Tear Break Up Time (NITBUT): to quantify the time time it takes for your tear film to lose stability
- Meibography: to evaluate your Meibomian Glands and quanitfy your degree of Meibomian Gland Loss or Dropout
- Referral for Blood Tests: if an autoimmune condition is suspected as a cause
Treatment options for dry eye include:
- Artificial eye drops and ointments to replenish the watery and/or oily tear layer (Hylo-Forte, NovaTears)
- Manuka honey eye drops or gel to reduce inflammation (Optimel)
- Hot compresses
- Eyelid cleansers (Ocuosft Lid Scrub)
- Hypochlorous acid sprays to reduce bacteria around the eyelids (Ocusoft HypoChlor)
- Meibomian gland expression and Blephasteam®
- Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) therapy
- Topical steroids and oral antibiotics to reduce inflammation
- Novel prescription eye drops to reduce inflammation (Xiidra, Ikervis)
- Vitamin supplements (Lacritec)
- Scleral lenses
- Dietary changes
- Punctal plugs
Shop online for eye drops and supplements for dry eye.
Dry Eye Therapy with Blephasteam® Goggles
Blephasteam® is the first eyelid warming device to deliver latent moist heat therapy to unblock the Meibomian glands. Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) is often associated with dry eye disease. This device provides an environment that naturally enhances tear quality and has been proven to be successful in the treatment of a range of lid margin and ocular surface disorders. In case of MGD, the oily secretions are blocked. This can lead to the glands dying off and producing the symptoms of dry eye syndrome.
How does Blephasteam® work?
The Blephasteam® eyelid warming device safely warms the glands at a temperature high enough to melt meibomian gland secretions and obstructions without harming the lid skin. The temperature remains stable for the entire treatment session. Each treatment session takes approximately 30 minutes. Your meibomian glands will be massaged at the end to open up the glands and unblock them (otherwise called Meibomian Gland Expression). We charge a $80 fee for this procedure.
Combined with traditional eyelid hygiene therapy this device is a significant breakthrough for the treatment of patients who suffer from chronic dry eye. If you are experiencing chronic, dry, gritty, irritated and/or watery eyes then you may be suitable for this procedure.
Intense Pulsed Light Therapy (IPL Treatment) for Dry Eye
IPL offers a low maintenance alternative to traditional dry eye management and is particularly effective at treating Meibomian gland dysfunction, ocular rosacea, and inflammation. It uses short pulses of intense light to improve blood flow and stimulate the production of natural oils in the eyes, which can help to reduce the symptoms of dry eye. Studies show that over 90 percent of patients notice a significant reduction in their dry eye symptoms with IPL treatment. IPL has been used in dermatology and cosmetic clinics to treat a variety of skin conditions for over 20 years. In fact, the use of IPL to treat dry eye was accidentally discovered in 2002 when patients with acne and rosacea claimed that their eyes felt much better after IPL sessions. Today, many patients who undergo IPL report a reduced dependency on eye drops in addition to reduced signs of redness of their eyes.
IPL is especially helpful if you:
- have rosacea
- want a more convenient, long lasting dry eye treatment
- want to treat the root cause of your dry eye problem
- wear contact lenses
- want bonus cosmetic benefits including decreased redness, sun spots, freckles, and reduced fine lines and wrinkles
How Does IPL Treatment for Dry Eye Work?
Patients are given protective eyewear, and a cold gel is applied to the face area below the eyes. IPL treatment uses precise pulses of light to reduce the inflammation that is associated with dry eye disease. IPL also improves Meibomian Gland function and stimulates the producction of healthy oil gland secretions, resulting in a lower risk of them being blocked. The energy from IPL also kills harmful mites (Dermodex) and bacteria that build up on the eyelids and lashes.
Each session only takes less than 15 minutes and you can return to your regular activities after each session.
Most patients can expect immediate results after even one session of IPL treatment. Clinical studies have shown that 4 sessions of IPL treatment over 2-3 months are required for successful long lasting dry eye relief. These results can last 6 to 12 months or more. For more severe cases, additional maintenance sessions may be required on a 3 monthly to yearly interval depending on your symptoms.
We charge a package fee of $1060 for our IPL treatment programme. This includes 4 IPL treatment sessions, inclusive of Meibomian Gland Expression . If required, additional IPL sessions are $265 each. Before you begin your IPL treatment, we encourage you to read more about it here.
Scleral Lenses for Dry eye
Scleral lenses are specialised contact lenses that are designed to provide a protective barrier over the surface of the eye. They are filled with a sterile, isotonic solution that helps to keep the eyes moist and comfortable. Scleral lenses can be helpful for managing the symptoms of dry eye by providing a constant source of moisture and protecting the eyes from environmental irritants