There is a range of different conditions that can affect our eyes and stop them from functioning properly. Two of the most common are dry eye syndrome and blepharitis. Despite being experienced by most people at some point during their lifetime, most patients have very little knowledge about them.
Our dedicated and experienced eye care professionals can treat both of these conditions here at our Jacksonville and Gainesville, Florida offices. In the meantime, here is what you need to know about dry eye and blepharitis.
Dry eye syndrome, which is sometimes just referred to as dry eyes, affects most people at some point during their lifetime. In most cases, it goes away of its own accord, but a number of patients go on to suffer chronically with repeated episodes followed by periods with no symptoms at all. Dry eye syndrome occurs when the eyes either no not make enough natural tear film, or it evaporates too quickly and causes the eyes to dry out.
Some of the symptoms of dry eye syndrome include eyes that are: Itchy, Gritty, Sore, Red, Blurry, Sensitive to light, Watering more than usual, Stiff and feel hard to move around. You may find yourself blinking more often to try and encourage tears to form and lubricate your eyes.
There are a variety of risk factors that are believed to contribute to the development of dry eye syndrome. You are more likely to experience dry eye syndrome if:
You are over the age of 50
You wear contact lenses
You drink alcohol
You take certain medications (including some antidepressants and blood pressure drugs)
You have blepharitis (see below)
You spent a lot of time in air-conditioned or artificially-heated environments
You work at a computer screen for long periods of time
You use a mobile device for excessive periods
Fortunately, there are a number of different things that can be done to help alleviate the symptoms associated with dry eye disease. Initially, we will look at various lifestyle factors to see if these will help relieve your condition. Quitting smoking, cutting back on alcohol consumption and taking regular breaks from screen time are all straightforward steps that can reduce the likelihood of dry eye.
The first treatment that is usually recommended is artificial tears. These are placed into the eyes numerous times each day to help keep them lubricated. You may also be prescribed a prescription eye drop that is designed to reduce inflammation associated with dry eye and will encourage your body to produce natural tear film. Steroid eye drops have been found to be effective at reducing symptoms too, and it may be a case of trial and error to find the most appropriate eye drops for you.
If eye drops aren’t providing enough relief from your dry eye symptoms, we may recommend punctual plus. These are tiny, sterile devices that are inserted into the tear drainage ducts in order to prevent moisture from draining too quickly. Lipiflow is another possible option where all other treatments have failed. This electronic pulsation system applies warm, pulsed pressure to the eyelids to open them and stimulate the glands so that anything that may be clogging them is released.
Blepharitis is a fairly common long-term eye condition, yet surprisingly very few people have heard of it. It is characterized by swollen, red and itchy eyelids and can be irritating and uncomfortable for the person experiencing it. It isn’t usually serious but is often accompanied by dry eye syndrome which can make it difficult for the sufferer to wear contact lenses.
Blepharitis can occur at any age, but it is more common in young children and people over the age of 50. Many patients experience repeated episodes followed by periods where they don’t have any symptoms. It is also more commonly seen in patients who suffer from skin conditions such as dermatitis, rosacea and acne.
There are numerous symptoms associated with blepharitis, many of which appear in conjunction with one another. These include the following:
A gritty feeling in the eyes
Flaking or crusts around the roots of the eyelashes
Red eyes or eyelids
Eyelids sticking together, particularly in the morning when you first wake up
There is currently no known cure for blepharitis, but fortunately, managing the condition is usually quite straightforward and provide you commit to the routine needed, it is fairly easy to keep it under control. The first thing that you will be recommended to do it so establish a daily eyelid cleaning routine. You may be prescribed a lotion/ointment for his, although in most cases, using basic soap and water is sufficient.
If your blepharitis is quite severe, we may prescribe you antibiotic ointment or eyedrops. You may also be given artificial tears to help combat any dryness that you are experiencing. As a final resort, we may invite you in to have your eyes professionally cleaned by our experienced team. This may involve the Lipiflow procedure commonly associated with dry eye syndrome as this will help to clear any obstructions in the glands responsible for tear film production, and any associated bacteria or debris.