Dry Eye Disease is the most common ocular condition present worldwide. Its symptoms and signs are wide and vary but it affects everything from ocular comfort and health to the clarity and consistency of vision. Dry Eye Disease has been a field in eye care up until recently that was largely ignored and poorly understood. In the last few years much information has become available and along with it better targeted approaches to treatment. Classic dry eye treatment was to haphazardly hand out samples of artificial tears or place punctal plugs (plugs that clog the eyes drainage structures and trap tears on the eye) due to a lack of the ability to really discover why it was occurring Our practice has become an Advanced Dry Eye Treatment Center due to the early adoption of the best technology available for the treatment and management of this condition. Each individual entering our practice has imaging completed on major glands that help produce the tears and are screened for dry eye. We not only have the ability to help those with Dry Eye Disease currently but by screening all our patients hope to prevent those without symptoms from developing more advanced and in some cases irreversible stages of the disease with proactive care.
Blue Ridge Eye Care's Dry Eye Specialists:
Dr. Katherine Henning, O.D. Dr. J. Nathan Williams, O.D.
Below is a list of our major diagnostic equipment pieces utilized during a more indepth Dry Eye Disease evaluation: (This information can also be found on our “Equipment” Tab along with the many other instruments our practice offers)
Each of your eyelids are lined by large oil glands called meibomian glands. These glands are responsible for producing the oily layer (One of the three layers of your tears) of your tear film. Commonly these glands can become blocked and in some cases irreversibly damaged leading to an unstable tear film and eventually Dry Eye Disease. This new technology allows our practice to scan your glands at every examination to ensure we catch disease at its earliest stage and safeguard your vision in the future.
If the meibomian glands (the oil glands located in your eyelids) are found to have obstruction or damage further evaluation of your eyes and glands will be recommended. If your doctor feels intervention is required to save the glands and protect your eyes from dry eye disease or to improve your already existent eye disease, Lipiflow will likely be a major key in this therapy. Lipiflow is the most effective and only FDA approved instrument to wholesomely and safely treat the eyelids by extracting the material trapped within the meibomian glands. The device fits over the eye much like a contact lens and applies heat to the inside of the eyelid while also applying a comfortable but effective amount of pressure to the outer eyelid.
TearLab is an instrument used frequently in Dry Eye Disease management. It gives the doctor information on if and how well a treatment is working. The instrument essentially gives an accurate measurement of how “salty” the tears are (It measures Osmolarity). In dry eye disease generally speaking the patient either has too few tears or tears that are unstable- in either case the tears spend less time on the eye and evaporate more rapidly. When the watery layer of the tears evaporates it leaves salt behind. Because of this we know the higher the salt concentration the worse the quality of the tears and the worse the Dry Eye Disease.
Inflammadry is a tool used during a more indepth Dry Eye Disease evaluation. It allows your Doctor to determine how much inflammation is present on the eye. This is used to track improvement following treatment and determine if certain treatments are applicable to your individual disease presentation.