Dry Eyes: Myth or Manic
It is estimated approximately 16 million adults have diagnosed dry eye disease. However; that number is probably a tiny number compared to the actual amount for people who suffer from dry eye disease but have not yet diagnosed. The simple fact of the matter is that traditionally dryness has neither been quantifiable or expressed as a large concern by most eye care professionals. And that has led to a lot of myths concerning dry eye disease and has resulted in the symptoms of dryness either being misdiagnosed, or belittled and left untreated. My goal in this article is to name those myths and dispel them!
Myth #1: Its benign or non-threatening
Traditionally, the standard of care for most eye doctors has been to treat any dry eyes they encounter with some eye drops during the date of the exam and without any additional follow up. Although it is true that rarely does Dry Eye Disease (DED) cause sight threatening complications, it can compromise the quality of vision. This can ultimately leave the patient with less-than-optimal vision but can also cause other secondary symptoms such as redness, itching, pain, and discomfort wearing contact lenses.
Additionally, a corneal study completed by the American Journal of Ophthalmology found that moderate to severe dry eye disease can incite a reduction in quality of life similar to those that undergo regular dialysis treatments, those that suffer from angina, and those that have disabling hip injuries. Although rarely responsible for causing blindness, Dry Eye Disease is anything but benign.
Myth # 2: “It’s not Dryness, It’s Allergies”
One of the first questions I often ask my patients is, if they have had any new itching, burning, or dryness. And on cue, most will simply say something along the lines of “it’s just my allergies”. Hey I get it, we live in a beautiful town with beautiful trees plants all around us, however; the pollen is a real problem and allergies are a real thing. However; when it comes to the eyes, far too often dryness is often misinterpreted as allergies. The truth of the matter is that generally the symptoms many often associate with allergies are often dryness related, and thus the symptoms are either mistreated or not treated at all. To make matters worse, the method of action for many allergy medications is to actually dry things out, including the eyes which ultimately causes the dry eye disease to get worse leaving the patient confused and uncomfortable. Simple testing during your regular eye exams can help to truly diagnose the problem and treat it appropriately.
Myth # 3: It’s Not Treatable
Unfortunately, due to lack of time, interest, and a simple lack of understanding of the disease itself; the traditional mode of treatment for most clinicians was to give the patient eyedrops and move on without additional treatment options or follow up. However; our technology and education on the matter has grown extensively and now we all have options! Although over the counter lubricant eye drops is still the basic initial treatment no matter the severity of the disease or symptoms, we now have a better understanding of the mechanical dynamics and importance that healthy tears have on the overall health of the eyes. This new found understanding allows for better, more specific eye drop therapies, as well as additional therapy options available. One such option that we have in our office is the Mibo Thermoflo Treatment or “MiboFlo” for short. The Miboflo is an in office dry eye treatment that is geared directly to combat the complications that arise from Meibomian Gland Dysfunction or MGD. Miboflo delivers consistent emissive heat to the meibomian glands which in turn softens and liquifies the hardened and immobilized oils trapped in the glands. Combined with a thorough and gentle ocular massage, the liberated oils and lipid secretion create an enhanced tear film with improved corneal wetting reducing the signs and symptoms of ocular surface disease. By improving meibomian gland function and maintaining eyelid health, MGD can be overcome and maintained, ultimately improving and limiting dry eye disease in a sustainable and medication free approach.
So, if you find yourself with similar symptoms as described in this article, give us a call and let us set up a Dry Eye Evaluation for you. Based on your testing results, we will create a personalized treatment plan for you. You no longer need to endlessly suffer, you now have options, and we are here to change your life for the better.