We are using our eyes more than ever and our habits are contributing to eye issues, such as eye fatigue and discomfort. Computers, cell phones, smoking, contact lenses, eye makeup, false lashes, many oral medications, environmental allergens, hormonal changes, CPAP use, LASIK, rosacea, autoimmune conditions, and chemotherapy are some of the stressors that disrupt tear film quality.
Proper eyelid positioning and closure, tear film quality and quantity are very important to maintain the normal surface of the eye. Many people are unaware that they do not fully close their eyes when blinking or sleeping. This results in the cornea, the clear part of the eye, not being fully coated and as the cornea is very sensitive, it sends pain signals. Artificial tear ointment and taping the lids shut at night may be helpful. In the day, intentionally closing the eyes fully for 20 seconds periodically is also helpful, as well as regular lubrication with preservative free artificial tears. The preservatives can further irritate the eyes and should be avoided.
Computer and cell phone use have resulted in a significant increase in dry eye syndrome, particularly in younger people. When staring at computers, the normal rate of blinking is reduced, and the eyes are strained and irritated.
The 20-20-20 rule may be helpful to reduce some of this strain. After 20 minutes of screen time, look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
The tear film is very complex. It is made of three layers and has both antimicrobial and moisturizing properties. When the tear film is disturbed, the quality of vision goes down and many people experience burning, tired, tearing, redness. Artificial tears may be helpful but in more complex cases, other interventions are required.
Many therapeutic treatments are available to improve the quality of tear film. They include proper protection of the bacterial balance of the eyelids with hypochlorous acid sprays, antibiotic use, and different modes of heat therapy to improve the functioning of the meibomian glands in the lids. Meibomian glands create the fatty part of the tear film, which keeps the tear film stable and not evaporating too quickly.
IPL (intense pulsed light) has been used for years by dermatologists and has been proven to be very effective in managing the redness from rosacea. It has also been shown to be very effective for treating dry eye disease, which is often part of rosacea. Swollen, red, puffy lids, prominent vessels, lash loss,and styes are all signs of poor meibomian gland function. A series of 3-4 treatments and then one every 6 months are often very helpful to managing this complicated problem.
At Inner Glow AestheticsMD Dry Eye Clinic, Dr. Shternfeld is a Board-Certified Ophthalmologist, with over 20 years’ experience managing Dry Eye Syndrome. We offer comprehensive treatment – from recommending a good skincare and at-home eye care routine, incision/drainage of styes, professional grade eyelid margin cleansing with a specialized device to IPL and meibomian gland expression.
Please call 860-999-4865 to schedule an appointment. Insurance is accepted for eye exams. IPL and eyelid margin cleansing treatments are not covered by insurance.