There are several types of Dry Eye, but Meibomian Gland Dysfunction and Blepharitis are some of the most common types that I see in my clinic on a daily basis. Both of these lead to symptoms of Dry Eye which include:
-scratch, sandy, or gritty eyes
-buildup and debris around the eyelashes
-sensitivity to light
-difficulty wearing contact lenses
To completely understand what is causing this, let me explain a bit about the anatomy of your eyes.
On your eyelids, you have tiny vertical glands called Meibomian Glands. These glands produce oil, and every time you blink, that oil is released into your tear film. This oil is responsible for keeping the liquid portion of your tears in your eyes for about 10 seconds in between blinks. If you do not release enough oil into your tear film, your tears will evaporate off too quickly leading to symptoms of Dry Eye.
Meibomian Gland Dysfunction causes these glands to stay clogged up, therefore not releasing oil into your tear film. This can often be fixed by following the protocol listed below.
Use a warm compress on your eyelids 1-2 times per day. You can purchase a heated eye mask from Amazon that you can place in the microwave or you can use a sock filled with rice or a wet towel. Place the compress in the microwave for about 30 seconds then place it over your eyelids and keep it in place for 10-15 minutes. Over time, the oil in your eyelids hardens and is harder to express. The warm compress helps your eyelids express the oil better when you blink.
Clean your eyelids daily. Make this part of your routine when you wash your face or shave. There are many products on the market that you can purchase that will help with this. The website WeLoveEyes.com has several choices for men and women, go to the website and use the discount code Collierville for 5% off any purchase. In the past, I recommended Baby Shampoo for this, but I have found it to be a little harsh on the eyes.
Take a high-quality Omega 3 supplement. For Dry Eye and Meibomian Gland Dysfunction, I recommend at least 2000 mg a day. My favorite brand of Omega 3 is Nordic Naturals. Nordic Naturals Omega 3 come from small, wild-caught fish and are minimally processed. They will not give you fish burps. The number one sign of a poor quality Omega 3 is fish burps. To determine the correct concentration look at the back of the bottle and add up the DHA and EPA in the Omega 3, that number should equal, 2000 or more. Ignore all of the other numbers.
If you follow this protocol for at least a month, you should see some improvement. If you are not seeing improvement you may have a more severe form, and this is what I recommend.
Add another supplement to your daily routine called Black Currant Seed Oil. This oil is an essential fatty acid that has anti-inflammatory properties and helps balance out your tear film. One of my favorites is from Fortifeye. Go to Fortifeye.com and put the discount code BW20 in to get 20% off. You can also purchase this from Amazon or other health food stores like Whole Foods or Sprouts.
Dr. Walley will prescribe Xiidra or Cequa, which is an anti-inflammatory eye drop that you take two times a day.
Start looking at your diet, stress levels, or hormones. It is likely that something in your body is contributing to the inflammation in your eyes. Addressing the inflammation in your body will reduce the symptoms of inflammation in your eye. Dr. Walley can discuss this in more detail with you.
As a last resort, some patients will require an in-office procedure called Lipiflow. This procedure uses heat to manually express the Meibomian Glands. It sounds bad, but it is actually a relaxing procedure and most people feel much better after the procedure. I do not currently offer this procedure, but Eye Speciality Group in Memphis offers it. It is not covered by insurance and costs about $800. If you would like more information about scheduling this procedure with them, let me know.
As always, if you have questions, feel free to reach out to me at 901-853-8180 or via email at email@example.com.