Our Dry Eye Center of Excellence
Are you suffering from dry eyes? Relief is just around the corner.
Some patients think that dry eye is a really simple problem, but it can actually be far more complex. The causes can be multifactorial. Due to the numerous causes for dry eye, a comprehensive evaluation is necessary to determine the source of the problem. The Eye Center offers the latest advancements in diagnostic equipment so that we can properly establish an effective treatment protocol.
Do you have dry eyes? According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology up to 12 million Americans suffer from this disease called dry eye syndrome. People with dry eyes frequently experience burning and stinging of their eyes, their eyes often feel sticky, and their eyes are often red.
Under the leadership and direction of Dry Eye Expert, Dr. Pierre Alfred, our center of excellence team is comprised of highly skilled individuals focused on delivering first-rate care and relief to patients suffering from Dry Eye Disease.
Typically, when patients think of eye health, it often revolves around visual acuity and their risks for conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, or macular degeneration. However, what patients may not be aware of is that eye health also relates to the quality of their tear film which can lead to common complaints and dry eye symptoms such as redness, discomfort, and excessive tearing.
What are the Symptoms of Dry Eyes?
- For some people, the stinging, burning, redness and watering may seem like little more than a nuisance, but in fact, if left untreated, dry eye syndrome can lead to serious eye problems,
- Stinging or burning eyes
- Grittiness or scratchiness
- Stringy mucus in or around the eyes
- Discomfort when wearing contact lenses
- Blurred or Fluctuating Vision
- Light Sensitivity
- A feeling of a foreign body or sand in the eye
- Excess tearing
- Redness of the eye
- Heavy eyelids
- Increased eye irritation from smoke or wind
- Decreased tolerance of reading, working on the computer
Take the Dry Eye Self Test
How is Dry Eye Diagnosed?
Patients who visit our Dry Eye Experts Treatment Center receive a thorough medical evaluation that begins with a survey called a SPEED Questionnaire. The results from this questionnaire along with a medical examination helps our team facilitate disease detection and score the severity of the dry eye condition.
A state-of-the-art advanced diagnostic tool called a Keratograph is used for tear film analysis, oil gland imaging and corneal contour evaluation. This analysis provides information on how fast tears evaporate, the oil layer thickness and the water content of the tears. This information is critical to understanding the qualitative and quantitative aspects of the tear film while also providing measurements on which treatment effectiveness is monitored.
Dry eye testing with emphasis on the evaluation of the quantity and quality of tears produced by the eyes may include:
- Patient history to determine dry eye symptoms
- Speed questionnaire to determine severity
- External examination of the eye, including lid structure and blink dynamics.
- Evaluation of the eyelids and cornea using bright light and magnification.
- Imaging of oil glands, and corneal structural analysis.
- Measurement of the quantity and quality of tears for any abnormalities.
How is Dry Eye Treated?
A Look at Some Treatment Options Offered at The Eye Center.
Dry Eye is a multifactorial disease and each patient’s condition is unique, therefore, several treatment options must be considered. Some Dry Eye treatments control symptoms while others aim to correct the underlying condition that is causing the dryness.
Thermal Expression (Lipiflow and Tearcare)
Lipiflow is a procedure designed to treat the root cause of evaporative Dry Eye, blocked meibomian (oil) glands. This automated in-office 12 minute treatment provides a safe and comfortable combination of heat to the inner eyelids along with simultaneous gentle therapeutic massage to the outer eyelids removing blockages from the meibomian glands. Opening and clearing these blocked glands can allow them to resume the natural production of oils needed for a stable and healthy tear film.
TearCare is another form of heated expression of the oil glands. This procedure heats the outer eyelids and is followed by gentle manual massage. Our expert dry eye team creates an individualized approach to thermal expression of the meibomian glands utilizing these two technologies depending on the state of gland clogging.
Meibomian Gland Rejuvenation (IPL, LLLT)
Intense Pulse Light (IPL)
Intense Pulse Light (IPL) therapy with the FDA approved Lumenis Stellar M22 is offered through our dry treatment center. This IPL treatment is an in office procedure that takes only a few minutes to perform, whereby brief bursts of light at specific wavelengths are applied to the eyelid areas. IPL works to stimulate and rejuvenate (photobiomodulation) the oil gland cells. In addition, this treatment closes the abnormal blood vessels that secrete inflammatory mediator proteins responsible for chronic inflammation and damage to the meibomian (oil) glands.
Low Level Light (LLLT)
Low Level Light (LLLT) utilizing the Marco Equinox is also offered for those who may not be a candidate for IPL or who are better suited for this therapy. This unique safe noninvasive computer software controlled technology was developed by NASA. The treatment uses specially designed LED lights to gently warm up the eyelids to counteract the obstruction or dysfunction of the meibomian glands by unclogging and releasing the oils needed to keep the eyes healthy and moisturized.
Microblepharoexfoliation (MBE) removes excess bacteria, biofilm, and bacterial toxins which are the main causes of inflammatory dry eye and lid disease. This short procedure lasting 6-8 minutes uses a handheld device with rotational spinning of a medical grade micro-sponge to delicately and very precisely remove debris while exfoliating your eyelids.
Biologic Regenerative Therapies (PRP and Amniotic Membranes)
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is a cutting-edge advancement in Regenerative Medicine in which a person’s own blood is used to help rejuvenate their body. Platelets are an important part of a body’s healing system that stop bleeding and repair damaged blood vessels. They do this by secreting growth factors that attract new healing cells. These healing cells rebuild and restore the damaged tissue. Eye drops made from PRP can be used in patients with moderate to severe dry eye disease to heal and rejuvenate the ocular surface. By taking a person’s own blood and spinning it in a centrifuge, it is possible to separate out these amazing healing platelets from the blood and make eye drops with them. These eye drops containing separated platelets are very concentrated and can act as a powerful source of regenerative healing and rejuvenation.
One of the reasons PRP tears are not commonly offered as a dry eye treatment to patients is the complexity in creating the drops. Our Dry Eye Center of Excellence has simplified this procedure by employing a technique in which this procedure is done quickly and efficiently in our office in approximately 60 minutes, at which time the patient leaves with approximately three month’s worth of drops. The drops produced at our office are highly enriched in the healing growth factors important to healing the ocular surface and fighting the dry eyes and associated symptoms.
Amniotic membranes are another type of biologic therapy which can be applied to the eye in order to protect, repair, and heal a damaged ocular surface. It can accelerate the healing process and reduce patient discomfort. This therapy is made with amniotic membrane tissue. The membrane has been donated by healthy consenting mothers after C-section births who have been carefully tested prior to the donation process. The membrane produced in contact lens form can be used for dry eye disease related ocular surface breakdown, and many other ocular surface irregularities.