Your eyes send a message to the brain saying they’re dry, the brain decides to fix it by causing you to tear. The problem with those tears is, they are not the proper composition and they don’t stay on the eye long enough, creating the dry eye cycle. So, how can we get the eyes to make the right tears? First, we begin by treating an underlying cause, Blepharitis. Until recently, the only treatment was to put drops in the eyes or use baby shampoo to clean our lids. To be clear, drops are still a vital part of dry eye treatment, but now, there is a new procedure that can be done along with our other current treatments that will help our eyes begin to create a “proper” tear. Blepharitis is a chronic inflammatory disease of the eyelids caused by an over growth of normal bacteria that live along our eyelids and eyelashes. The overgrowth causes a perfect environment for the bacteria to thrive. This causes crusting and creates a sticky layer known as biofilm. This traps debris and dead skin cells on the lids and lashes. The buildup will continue to grow over many years. This biofilm is what causes your symptoms and leads to the inflammation of our eyelids. Anyone can have blepharitis, but the risk and prevalence increases with age and environmental factors.
Finally, our environment has a great impact on our eye climate. We live in the desert and spend a majority of our time outside in the heat or inside with the air conditioning on. Add to this, the glare, blue light, small text, and bright screens of our electronic devices (computers, cell phones, tablets tv’s, etc…) and the new energy efficient fluorescent lights that are all around us at the office, at home and in the classroom. It’s no wonder dry eye is one of the most common complaints I hear about in my exam room. In fact, studies show one out of four children, experience clinical signs of dry eyes and complain of eye fatigue. I encourage you to schedule your dry eye evaluation so we can start the discussion and initiate a treatment plan for you and your family.