Dry eye syndrome occurs when the eyes lack the lubrication they need, due to a problem with either the quantity or quality of the tears or excessive evaporation of tears. While the most common symptoms of dry eye are chronically dry, irritated eyes, the condition can also take a toll on visual clarity. Read on as Dr. Ernest Kornmehl describes how.
How Dry Eye Interferes with Clear Vision
In addition to keeping the front of the eye comfortably moisturized, the tear film plays an important role in the visual system. The surface of the eye, called the cornea, is meant to be covered with a glassy smooth layer of water (and other elements, like oil and mucus, that make up the tear film). This layer should evenly cover the surface of the cornea and remain intact for a significant period of time (i.e., not evaporate too quickly).
Imagine the surface of the eye like a swimming pool that no one has been in — the glassy smooth water is easy to see through, all the way down to the bottom of the pool. But the second you disrupt the surface of the water by dropping something in the pool, the water becomes rough and it’s nearly impossible to see down to the bottom of the pool.
This is similar to what happens with dry eye — without the smooth layer of a healthy tear film coating the surface of the eye, the surface becomes rougher, disrupting visual clarity.
Finding Relief from Dry Eyes
Many people try to treat dry eyes by using over-the-counter artificial tears, to no avail. The problem is, artificial tears replenish the watery component of tears without replenishing the oily layer. Tears need to have an oily component in order to avoid prematurely evaporating off the surface of the eye.
People that don’t see relief from artificial tears have a problem with the glands that produce the oily layer of the tear film. Achieving relief from the uncomfortable symptoms of dry eye requires restoring the oily layer to the tears so they “stick” to the surface of the eye longer.
There are several ways to accomplish this, including using a treatment called the LipiFlow Thermal Pulsation System. With LipiFlow, Dr. Kornmehl uses a combination of gentle heat and manual massage to clear obstructed oil glands, stimulating them to produce the oils needed for a healthy tear film.
Relatively soon after treatment, the tears stop evaporating too quickly off the surface of the eyes, the eyes feel lubricated and comfortable, and visual clarity improves.
Contact Kornmehl Laser Eye Associates
For more information about the treatment of dry eye, please contact Kornmehl Laser Eye Associates today.