Dry eye affects over 21 million Americans and is often under-recognized and under-diagnosed. July is Dry Eye Awareness Month and Ophthalmic Consultants of Long Island (OCLI) is encouraging men and women suffering from dry eye syndrome to visit their ophthalmologist to learn more about dry eye disease and the treatment options available.
According to Dr. Gerard D'Aversa of OCLI’s Mineola office: “Dry eye disease is a common condition in which the eye does not produce enough tears to keep the surface of the eye sufficiently lubricated. In its mild to moderate forms, it can impact vision and the ability to go about daily activities. In its more severe forms, dry eye disease can lead to permanent loss of vision.”
Dry Eye Disease Symptoms may include:
- Gritty Eyes
- Sore Eyes
- Blurred or Poor Vision
- Problems with:
- Watching TV
- Air Conditioning or Heating
- Dry or Windy Days
Dr. D'Aversa suggests visiting your eye doctor for an exam if you think you may have dry eye disease or if you regularly take allergy medications, antihistamines, decongestants, diuretics, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or blood pressure medications, as these may contribute to dry eye symptoms.
Prevent Blindness America offers the following tips to help avoid irritation from dry eye syndrome:
• Use a humidifier to keep natural moisture in the air.
• Avoid hair dryers, harsh winds, overly warm rooms, and cigarette smoke.
• When outdoors, wear goggles or sunglasses that wrap around the eyes.
• Use artificial tears, if directed by your doctor, especially in climates with low humidity, in air-conditioned environments, and in airplanes or cars when the heater or defroster is on.
• When using a computer, remember to blink often and give eyes a rest from staring at the screen.
• Apply a warm washcloth to soothe irritated eyes.
• Do not use harsh soaps or cleansers on or around the eye area.
Dry eye disease is the most common reason why patients visit their eye doctor. This disease often stems from a deficiency or degeneration in the oil layer of the eye’s natural tear film. The oily lipids serve as a protective layer so that the aqueous (water) layer of the eye’s tear film does not evaporate. OCLI has introduced a new, advanced in-office treatment, called LipiFlow®, which treats patients with blocked oil glands in their eyelids, called meibomian gland dysfunction. Unblocking the oil glands helps restore a healthy tear film. Treating dry eye with standard methods, such as eye drops, can gradually add up. According to a recent study, the average annual direct cost per patient was $678 for patients with mild dry eye; $771 for moderate, and $1,267 for severe dry eye.