Eye Watering and Excessive Tearing: Dry Eye
Oddly enough, if you are prone to excessive eye watering or tearing, you might actually have a condition called dry eye. Dry eye occurs when the eyes do not produce sufficient tears or the tears evaporate too quickly. There are two types of dry eye:
- Evaporative Dry Eye, accounting for 86% of all dry eye: caused by blockage to 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, accounting for 14% of all dry eye: occurs when the lacrimal glands do not produce enough tears
Dry eye can also be caused by Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) where the glands in your eyelids become inflamed or clogged, preventing the oily layer of your tears from properly lubricating your eyes.
Symptoms of Dry Eye
Tears are necessary to help lubricate, protect and nourish our eyes. Without a steady flow of tears, eye irritation will result.
- Light sensitivity
- Eye fatigue
- Blurry vision
Without proper treatment, inadequate tears can make daily activities frustrating, affecting your personal and professional life; activities like reading, watching TV, driving or working on the computer.
Treatment for Dry Eye in Buffalo, NY
For some patients, over-the-counter or prescription eye drops will provide relief for dry eye symptoms. However, if these are ineffective you may need to have an eye doctor assess your situation and determine the root cause of your dry eye. Knowing the reason for your dry eye symptoms is the only way to successfully treat this condition. Our dry eye specialists may recommend:
- LipiFlow® treatment to unblock the eyelid glands
- Punctal plugs to prevent tear drainage from the eyes
- RESTASIS® eye drops to increase tear production
- Xiidra® to treat eye inflammation
LipiFlow®: Relief for Evaporative Dry Eye & Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD)
In order to properly treat dry eye, your doctor must first determine the root cause of your condition. Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) accounts for 86% of dry eye caused by a blocked tear duct (Evaporative Dry Eye). Products like RESTASIS® do not treat Evaporative Dry Eye. Luckily there is an FDA-approved device that can safely and effectively provide relief: LipiFlow®.
We are proud to offer our dry eye patients the revolutionary LipiFlow treatment in Buffalo. Created by TearScience®, LipiFlow treats the root cause of MGD, removing blockages while also protecting the delicate structures of the eye. Maximum results are usually seen within 6-8 weeks after treatment.
How LipiFlow Works
The LipiFlow Thermal Pulsation System unblocks the eyelid glands, allowing them to resume production of complex natural oils. The treatment includes the application of precisely-controlled heat to the inner eyelid. The single-use activator applies adaptive pressure to stimulate the production of oils for tear film.
Is LipiFlow Right for You?
The LipiFlow treatment may not be right for your eyes. During an eye exam we can perform a series of evaluations to determine the root cause of your dry eye. We will use the non-invasive LipiView interferometer to assess your tear film and the Meibomian Gland EvaluatorTM to examine the quantity and quality of the oils.
Sometimes it is necessary to close the ducts that drain tears out of the eyes in order to treat symptoms of dry eye. These tiny plugs can be inserted to achieve better lubrication of the eyes.
- Temporary punctal occlusion: Temporary plugs can be inserted into the tear drain of the lower eyelid to determine if this helps provide adequate tears. These plugs can be removable or dissolvable within a few days to a few months.
- Permanent punctal occlusion: If the temporary plugs work well, our doctors may suggest permanent (yet removable) plugs. The goal is to provide adequate tears/lubrication, improve patient comfort and reduce the need for artificial tears. In rare cases the plugs may come out spontaneously or migrate down the tear drain.
Our doctors will measure your tear duct size to determine the right size and type of punctal plug to achieve the best results.
When your eyes are unable to produce sufficient tears, you have a condition called Aqueous Dry Eye. This can become a chronic condition which causes great discomfort due to lack of lubrication and protection, making daily activities difficult.
We offer RESTASIS® Ophthalmic Emulsion to treat the ongoing symptoms of chronic dry eye. These twice-daily prescription eye drops help increase your eye’s natural ability to produce tears. It may take up to 6 months for the product to take full effect; however, relief can begin after one month.
RESTASIS drops are different from artificial tears that can be purchased over-the-counter. Those types of products simply provide temporary relief. RESTASIS is a longer-lasting, more effective solution and can be obtained by prescription only. Insurance coverage varies.
Some dry eye symptoms are caused by inflammation of your eye surface. We are proud to offer patients Xiidra prescription eye drops to provide relief. We recommend patients use these drops twice a day in the morning and evening, about 12 hours apart.
Allergies & Eye Health
If you have seasonal or ongoing allergies in Buffalo, NY, you are probably no stranger to itchy, watery, red, irritated eyes. Allergies are the result of your immune system reacting to the “invader” by producing chemicals such as histamine to fight off the allergen. The body’s response can cause inflammation and the very annoying symptoms of ocular allergies or allergic conjunctivitis.
Symptoms of Eye Allergies
- Burning sensation
- Swollen eyelids
- Constant eye watering
- Blurred vision
- Light sensitivity
Potential Risks of Eye Allergies
While allergies don’t typically cause any long-term damage to the eyes, there are some situations that could potentially cause serious problems:
- If you wear contact lenses, allergen particles can get under your contacts, leading to a scratched cornea.
- Rubbing your irritated eyes may cause microabrasions (tiny tears) in the outer layer of your eye due to the fine allergen particles landing on your cornea.
- Allergies can worsen existing dry eye, leading to pain and irritation.
Common Eye Allergy Triggers
- Pollen (grass, tree, weed)
- Dust mites
- Pet dander
Eye discomfort can also be caused by environmental triggers such as smoke, dust, perfume, air pollution, etc.
Treating Ocular Allergy Symptoms
If you are experiencing eye irritations due to allergies, contact us to schedule an eye exam. Our doctors can assess your eye health, ask you to describe your symptoms and make recommendations for relief. Prescription medications may be necessary or over-the-counter options may suffice. There may even be some underlying eye health issues that are causing the irritations.
Ways to Prevent Eye Allergies
- Stay indoors during allergy season
- Wash your hands after touching animals
- Wear sunglasses when outdoors
- Purchase bedding that resists dust mites
- Keep your home clean
- Install a HEPA filter for your air conditioner
- Mitigate mold in your home
Treatment for Blepharitis: BlephEx™
Blepharitis is a chronic, inflammatory eyelid condition that is the result of a bacterial infection, often causing the small oil glands near the eyelashes to become clogged. This condition is not contagious, but people who have blepharitis often have very uncomfortable, visible symptoms due to the overgrowth of bacteria along the eyelashes.
Symptoms of Blepharitis
- Watery, red, itchy eyes
- Burning, gritty sensation
- Swollen eyelids
- Eyelash crustiness in the morning
- Greasy-looking eyelids
- Eyelashes falling out or growing abnormally
These symptoms can be minimized by using medications and cleaning the eyelids. However, it is not easy to keep the eyelids and lashes clean – especially if debris has become trapped.
Atwal Eye Care is proud to offer patients BlephEx treatments to precisely and safely clean and exfoliate the eyelids and lashes while also reducing the risk for damage to the tear glands. This is the first and only clinician treatment for blepharitis.
How BlephEx Works
This is a painless, 8-minute procedure that is performed right in our office. The BlephEx tool is comprised of a spinning micro-sponge that is moved along the edge of your eyelashes and eyelids to remove debris and exfoliate the areas. A different sterile micro-sponge is use for each eye to reduce the spread of bacteria. Many patients experience immediate relief. For maximum results, the procedure should be repeated every 4-6 months.
Cleaning at Home
After your BlephEx procedure, we will give you instructions on how to keep your eyelids clean at home. Nightly hygiene will be integral in maintaining your results.
If you are suffering with dry eye symptoms in Buffalo, contact us today at 716-896-8831 to schedule an eye exam and learn about your options for relief.