Dry eye is one of the most common eye problems and affects millions of people. However, the symptoms of dry eye are often misunderstood and under treated. Many people with dry eye do not think that their eyes feel dry – often they are complaining of too much tearing or watery eyes. Another common symptom of dry eye is blurry vision with computer use, or towards the end of the day – people often feel that they have to blink or “refocus” their vision.
Dry eye is a bad name for this condition. (If fact, this condition has many names and can also be called blepharitis, meibomianitis, or ocular roseacea.) The best name for this condition is dysfunctional tear syndrome – because the functional problem is that the tear quality is very poor.
We have two types of tears, a watery tear produced in the tear glands (on top of the eyeball), and an oily tear made in the eyelids. Some people have too little of the watery tears made in the tear glands, and this is referred to an aqueous tear deficiency, and this can be genetic, or due to inflammatory problems (like Sjogrens disease) or due to medication. However, the most common problem causing dry eye symptoms (gritty eyes, a foreign body feeling, blurry vision, eye irritation, blurry vision) is due to a dysfunction of the oil glands of the eyelids, called the Meibomian glands.
Many people mistakenly think that dry eye is a minor problem, and they shouldn’t bother their doctor with these issues. Other people see their eye doctor with dry eye symptoms and they are told that it is “just dry eye” and to use over the counter tear drops and not to worry about it.
At our office, we realize that dry eye is a serious condition and can often decrease one’s quality of life. We take a full medical history, including your medications, and any past dry eye treatments. We aim to aggressively treat dry eye problems using medications including steroid eye drops, Restasis, punctal plugs, and Omega 3 fatty acid supplements.
We also have access to the latest treatments in dry eye therapy, aimed at improving the oily tears made in the meibomian glands. These treatments include Meibomian gland probing, which opens the blocked oil glands and allows tears to flow more naturally. A video describing this technique can be seen here.
We are also one of the first eye doctors in Baltimore to have access to Lipiflow. Lipiflow is a brand new technology which uses warmth and gentle pressure to open the blocked meibomian glands and often resolves dry eye symptoms shortly after one treatment.
More information about lipiflow can be found that their website.
There are also multiple patient testimonials.
We are also able to make autologous serum in our office. Autologous serum eye drops are used for patients who have not been able to get relief from their dry eye symptoms from traditional therapies, and continue to suffer from dry eye problems. Autologous serum eye drops are made from your own blood. The blood is spun in a centrifuge and the serum (the white part of the blood) is mixed with preservative free tears to make autologous serum eye drops. This can be a very effective.
Please feel free to call our office with any questions about dry eye therapy, and to make an appointment with Dr. Levinson for an evaluation.