What is dry eye?
A very big part of having healthy eyes is healthy tear production. The eyes are constantly lubricated by a coat of tears, which is divided into three main components:
- Oil layer (front)
- Water layer (middle)
- Mucin layer (back)
Our tear film is sealed by this very important oil layer, which helps reduce evaporation of the water part of our tears.
The bulk of our tears are composed of water, which helps to keep the front surface of our eyes moist and cleanses our eyes from foreign particles that may enter.
Our tears are bound to the front of the eye (cornea) evenly and firmly by this mucin layer, which also provides nourishment.
Dry eye disease is usually related to a deficiency of one of these layers, and the two main types of dry eyes are aqueous tear deficiency (a problem with the water layer) and evaporative dry eye (a problem with the oil layer).
Meibomian Gland Dysfunction
Meibomian Gland Dysfunction is one of the most common eye conditions. Meibomian glands sit at the end of the eyelid and secrete an oily substance (called meibum) into the tear film, and this comprises the oily layer in our tear film. Dysfunction of these glands occur when these oily secretions become too thick and start clogging up. If the glands become consistently blocked over a period of time, they can no longer secrete oil in a healthy way therefore causing Evaporative dry eye (deficiency in the oily layer of our tears).
There are many common and irritating symptoms of dry eye including:
- Eye redness
- Eye watering
- Stinging, burning or scratchy sensation
- Stringy mucus in or around your eyes
- Sensitivity to light
- A sensation of having something in your eyes
- Blurred vision or eye fatigue
- Difficulty focussing on screens
Warm Compresses can be applied to the eyelids to relieve the symptoms of dry eye in Meibomian Gland Dysfunction and Blepharitis, the heat loosens harden oils that clog the glands in the eyelids.
At Image Eyewear we offer an in office heat therapy treatment with the Blephasteam eyelid warming device. The treatment involves wearing heat goggles for 10 minutes and manual expression of the oil glands by your Optometrist. Treatment frequency will vary between patients; your Optometrist will discuss a treatment plan with you.
We also off a take home heat compress treatment – the Eyegiene Insta-Warmth System. This system combines a soft mask with disposable warm packs for localized heat therapy to the eyelids.