If your eyes frequently feel dry, red, irritated, or even watery (as counter-intuitive as it may sound), you may suffer from dry eyes. Dry eye syndrome is actually quite a common condition, affecting particularly the female, and up to 75% of those over the age of 65.
When the symptoms are mild, they can cause next to no problems; however, moderate and severe cases have been researched and shown to significantly reduce one’s quality of life! Whether that be through pain and irritation or reduced ability to focus on a given task, it can have a detrimental effect throughout every waking hour.
Most commonly, the problem stems from the overly rapid evaporation of the tears on the surface of the eyes, resulting in a salty and poorly-lubricated eye surface. Usually this is caused by the blockage of the oil glands within the eyelids - this can at times be caused by inflammation of the eyelids caused by surface bacteria or mites that live in the pores of the eyelashes. Such an inflammation would also frequently result in the presence of sleep, crusting of the lashes, or even eyelids matted shut in the morning.
Rarely, it can be caused by a lack of tears being produced, whether through a faulty tear gland, or through autoimmune diseases such as Sjögrens syndrome.
A full eye examination is usually done first to establish whether the symptoms you have are indeed a part of dry eye syndrome, and whether home treatment is sufficient, as in the case of most mild dry eyes, or if an in-office treatment will be indicated.
The in-office treatment itself involves the controlled heating of the eyelids, followed by the uncapping and rigorous expression of the blocked oil glands, which will enable them to carry out their normal function. Scrubs are also performed where indicated to address the surface bacteria or mites situation.
During the treatment, you may get some mild feeling of pressure and pinching or mild stinging, but there will be no pain involved. After the treatment it may feel a little raw for the remainder of the day, but should clear up by the next day.
The treatments may be required on a regular basis (3, 6 or 12 months depending on severity), but with proper ongoing home-based maintenance the symptoms could become significantly more manageable.
Our Blephasteam goggles will soften the oil glands and allow us to unblock the stagnated glands