What Is Dry Eye Disease?
Dry Eye Disease is a condition where the eyes cannot produce the right quantity or quality of tears. Many factors contribute to Dry Eyes and symptoms are often worse at the end of the day, or after focusing on something, such as a computer screen, for a prolonged period of time. If left untreated, Dry Eye is progressive and can lead to more serious problems, including impaired vision and an increased risk of eye infection.
What Causes Eyes To Dry Out?
Dry Eye Disease can have many causes and risk factors which include, but are not limited to, the following:
- hormonal changes
- medical conditions such as autoimmune diseases, diabetes, Sjogren’s syndrome, thyroid gland problems
- medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, hormone replacement therapy, antidepressants, preservatives in eye drops, birth control
- high blood pressure
- acne treatments such as Accutane
- contact lens wear
- laser eye surgery and cataract surgery
- wind, smoke, and dry climate
- chronic dehydration
- alcohol use
- smoking and vaping
- vitamin A deficiency
- abnormal eyelid closure and improper blinking
- increased screen time
Dry eyes can be a hindrance to performing daily tasks such as driving, reading or working on the computer due to discomfort and blurry vision. A stable tear film plays a critical role in providing a clear vision and protecting the eyes against debris and harmful microbes. Therefore, insufficient lubrication of the eyes can result in an increased risk of eye infections. The cornea may become more prone to scratches and abrasions and this is made worse by a decreased ability to heal ocular surface wounds. Without proper treatment, individuals with severe dry eyes may experience more serious complications such as corneal ulcers and potentially vision loss. If you suspect that you may have Dry Eye Disease, please contact the Eyedeology Team at 587-353-5061 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to book a Dry Eye Assessment.
How Can We Help?
The cornea, the clear front surface of the eyes, has the highest density of nerves compared to the rest of the body. This allows the eyes to detect even the smallest changes in our environment so that we can blink in response to contact with dust particles, produce tears when the eyes are feeling dry, or initiate wound healing in the eye.
Individuals with dry eyes may have problems with the oil glands in the eyelids or their corneal nerves, ultimately preventing the proper production of tears. A healthy tear film is essential to provide clear and comfortable vision and to protect the surface of the eyes against bacteria, allergens, and foreign debris. Because the cornea is highly sensitive, decreased lubrication in the ocular surface causes increased irritation and discomfort.
Therefore, individuals with dry eyes often experience symptoms such as blurry, fluctuating vision, red and itchy eyes, stinging and burning sensations, increased light sensitivity, and gritty irritated eyes. If you are experiencing any dry eye symptoms, or suspect that you may have Dry Eye Disease, please contact the Eyedeology Team at 587-353-5061 or email us at email@example.com to book a Dry Eye Assessment.
Dry Eyes Symptoms:
- scratchy/gritty sensation
- redness of the eye
- sensitivity to light
- tired eyes
- blurred vision
- swollen red eyelids
- soreness, achiness
Steps We Follow For Your Eye Assessment
For patients experiencing dry eyes, a Dry Eye Assessment is recommended to obtain baseline measurements to determine the cause(s) of your dry eyes. We will review your signs and symptoms using a dry eye questionnaire and several quick and painless tests which include assessing the cornea (the front surface of the eye), the conjunctiva (the white and pink tissue of the eyes), and the upper and lower eyelids including the Meibomian glands which make the oily part of the tears. These tests will grade the severity of your Dry Eyes and determine possible treatment options. This assessment is not covered by Alberta Health Care but may be submitted to any extended insurance you have. Please inquire with your insurance provider.
Advanced Dry Eyes Treatment Options
The first step toward managing your Dry Eye Disease is to book a Dry Eye Assessment with one of our optometrists to determine the root cause of your dry eyes. A management plan is then created with you, to best address and alleviate the symptoms you are experiencing. Following the Dry Eye Assessment, treatment options at the clinic may include:
- Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) therapy
- Radiofrequency (RF) therapy
- ILux treatment
- BlephEx treatment
- Umay Rest – Thermal Meditation Device (As seen on Dragon’s Den – CBC)
- Preservative-free artificial tears
- Lubricating eye gels or ointments
- Prescription eye drops
- Eyelid hygiene products
- Eye masks (including electronic masks)
- Moisture goggles for the eyes
- Vitamins and supplements for eye health
- Punctal plugs
- Scleral contact lenses
Other Treatment Options At Our Eye Clinic In Calgary
- In treating Dry Eye Disease we can recommend artificial tears along with medicated eye drops approved by Health Canada. The goal of treatment is to help increase the eye’s natural ability to produce tears and we recommend one of two products depending on the degree of inflammation. Symptoms can improve as early as two weeks. Ask our Optometrists about the right treatment options for you. Learn about Cyclosporine Ophthalmic, Xiidra and Cequa medicated drops for dry eye
- Ask our Optometrists about Blood-Derived Eye Drops especially if you have had any laser refractive surgery.
- Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD): blocked meibomian oil glands in the eyelids are a root cause of dry eye disease. These glands play an important role in producing oil for the tear film. If left untreated, these oil glands can shrink and die off. Imaging of your oil will help us to classify the condition they are in and help us determine the appropriate treatment options for you. Treatment options include IPL, RF and iLux®. These options are quick, efficient, gentle and comfortable and done in our Eye Spa and require no downtime. Watch our video. Watch our video.
- Intense Pulsed-Light (IPL) Therapy: Lumenis IPL Treatment addresses the root cause of dry eye disease by targeting the inflammation of the eyelids, reducing redness, and stimulating healthy oil gland function. By targeting the meibomian oil glands, we can improve your symptoms and slow down the progression of your chronic dry eyes. Watch our video.
- IPL stimulates collagen growth and helps improve the skin’s texture, reducing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and dark circles while tightening the skin. These treatments are customized to your skin type and condition.
- Our Optometrists may recommend combining IPL treatments with other dry eye therapies such as Radio Frequency (RF) or ILux to clear out blockages in the meibomian glands and improve gland function.
- Radio Frequency (RF): Radiofrequency treatments (RF) help to unclog the meibomian oil glands in your eyelids. This low energy helps to improve the function of the oil gland to release their natural oils into the tear film. Watch our video.
- RF stimulates collagen growth and helps improve the skin’s texture, reducing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, crow’s feet around the eyes, and dark circles while tightening the skin. Due to the skin tightening effects of RF, this procedure can be used as an option for a non-surgical lid-lift (blepharoplasty) treatment for saggy eyelids.
- Our Optometrists may recommend combining RF treatments with other dry eye therapies such as Intense Pulse light treatment IPL to target the inflammation of the eyelids, reducing redness, and stimulating healthy oil gland function.
- iLux®: A light-based heat therapy that gently warms the inner and outer lid to a safe therapeutic temperature unblock the meibomian oil glands in your eyelids to help secrete these natural oils into the tear film, preventing the tears from evaporating. Watch our video.
- Our Optometrists may recommend combining ilux treatments with other dry eye therapies such as Intense Pulse light treatment to target the inflammation of the eyelids, reducing redness, and stimulating healthy oil gland function.
- If you suffer from Blepharitis, we can help. Read our blog on our BlephEx treatment
- Learn more about punctal plugs treatment option.
- For more advanced cases, our Optometrists may recommend Scleral contact lenses to help provide a moisture barrier which prevents tear evaporation.
- Vitamins to specifically help dry eyes are a great addition to any of the foregoing treatments.
What We Recommend
Testing at our Eye Centre in Calgary
Our Optometrists at Eyedeology will recommend a Dry Eye assessment to review your signs and symptoms using a dry eye questionnaire and several quick and painless tests which include assessing the cornea (the front surface of the eye), the conjunctiva (the white and pink tissue of the eyes), and the upper and lower eyelids. These tests will grade the severity of your Dry Eyes and possible treatment options. This assessment is not covered by Alberta Health Care but may be submitted to any extended insurance you have. Please inquire with your insurance provider.
Alberta Health Care covers some aspects of your Dry Eye appointments with our Optometrists. However, additional costs associated with preliminary testing, recommended products, in-office treatments and scans are not covered. We will be happy to provide you with a copy of the receipt for your healthcare spending account. Our eye doctors will review the options with you during your assessment. Our goal is to treat the signs and symptoms of your Dry Eye Disease so your eyes can feel their best.
Frequently Asked Questions
We recommend seeing your Optometrist in Calgary for any eye conditions including dry eyes. We have the equipment and technology to help diagnose and provide treatments you with treatment options for your dry eyes. This will help you to manage any signs and symptoms related to dry eyes condition
While there are 3 types of dry eye disease, it is best to have a dry eye assessment done. Based on the evaluation, our Optometrists will discuss your findings and together we will determine the ideal treatment plan for you. Dry eye treatments in Calgary can include artificial tears, medicated eye drops, blood-derived eye drops, Omega 3 fatty acids, heating eye masks, lid hygiene, Ilux, Intense Pulsed Light Therapy (IPL), and Radio Frequency (RF).
Our Optometrists recommend coming in for a dry eye assessment at our Eyedeology dry eye clinic in Calgary. Once we evaluate your type of dry eyes, together we will determine the ideal dry eye treatment plan for you based on your evaluation and your lifestyle.
Dry Eye Disease is multifactorial and has an increase risk with age and is more prevalent in females. Risk factors include: hormonal changes; certain medical conditions such as autoimmune diseases, diabetes, Sjogren's syndrome, thyroid; certain medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, hormone replacement therapy, antidepressants, preservatives in eye drops, birth control, high blood pressure and acne treatments like accutane; contact lens wear; laser eye surgery; wind, smoke and dry climate; chronic dehydration; alcohol use; smoking and vaping; vitamin A deficiency; eyelid problems and improper blinking; and screen time.
It is best to consult with your insurance provider to know if various dry eye treatments in Calgary are covered as each plan is different. Dry eye treatments that may be covered include medicated eye drops, blood-derived eye drops, ilux, Intense Pulsed Light Therapy (IPL), Radio Frequency (RF).
Dry eyes is a disease. We can help make your signs and symptoms manageable with various in office and at home based therapies. Compliance is important to see a difference in your results.