What’s the difference between having dry eyes and having Dry Eye Syndrome? It’s a great question. And as more and more Americans are dealing with chronic dry eye, it’s a question worth answering.
“If your eyes don’t produce enough tears and/or they don’t make the right type of tear, we call that dry eye. When this becomes chronic and is not just an occasional occurrence, that’s when it is termed Dry Eye Syndrome,” said Dr. Farshid Ighani, board certified ophthalmologist and founder of Ighani Eye Care.
The technical term for this irritating eye condition is Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD), and it is the leading cause of chronic dry eye.
The meibomian glands are found in the upper and lower eyelids. Their job is to secrete oil onto the surface of the eye, which helps keep your tears from evaporating too quickly. MGD is a blockage of those glands, so they don’t secrete enough oil. When tears evaporate too quickly, the result is dry eyes.
Why So Much Dry Eye?
Dry Eye Syndrome is more common today than ever before. While your dry eye issue could be allergy-related, most experts agree that screen time (computers, smartphones, video gaming, television) is likely to blame for increased dry eye symptoms in the vast majority of cases. These activities can interfere with quality and quantity of blinks, which results in – you guessed it – dry eye.
What are the Symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome?
Not all people with Dry Eye Syndrome experience the same symptoms or all of the symptoms, but the most common symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome include:
- Burning or stinging
- Gritty feeling
- Foreign body sensation (like an eyelash or grain of sand is stuck in the eye)
- Eye fatigue
- Painful to wear contacts
- Excessive tearing (oddly enough)
Excessive tearing with dry eye might sound odd. But your eyes make more tears when they are irritated by dry eye. It’s sort of a defense mechanism. The problem is, the tears your eyes make when dealing with Dry Eye Syndrome are lacking the oil needed to keep them from evaporating too quickly. It’s a frustrating cycle!
How is Dry Eye Syndrome Diagnosed and Treated?
At Ighani Eye Care, we will perform diagnostic testing and a complete exam that will help us pinpoint the source of your unique situation. “This is an important diagnostic step because chronic dry eye symptoms are similar to those of allergies and even some eye infections,” said Dr. Brian Anding, board certified ophthalmologist at Ighani Eye Care.
Beyond warm compresses and prescription eye drops (Restasis and Xiidra), we are able to offer another advanced treatment for our patients living with chronic dry eye: Punctal Plugs. These tiny devices are inserted in the ducts in your lids to slow the drainage of tears away from your eyes, keeping your eyes more moist.
I Care. You’ll See
More than a tagline, this is a promise. It’s a commitment made to each patient we are honored to serve. From eye exams, dry eye treatment and eye disease management to LASIK and modern cataract surgery, we want to be your trusted eye care provider in every season of life. When you walk through the doors at Ighani Eye Care, you’ll feel the difference. You’ll feel like part of the family. Because in our eyes, you are.
If you think you or someone you love may be dealing with Dry Eye Syndrome, come see us. It would be our honor to serve you. Schedule an appointment today.