The main cause of dry eye is blepharitis, a chronic inflammatory disorder of the eyelids.
The Meibomian Glands lie between our eyelashes and secrete the oil outer layer of the tear film which is crucial for tear stability. Disruption to the function of these glands is the leading cause of dry eye.
Our tears consist of 3 layers, which together are known as the tear film. This film protects the cornea, the clear window of the eye, and is essential for maintaining excellent vision. Dry eye is a reduction in the ability of the eye to produce or maintain adequate tears.
Dry Eye Disease can also be associated with general medical conditions such as Sjogren’s Syndrome, Rosacea, Arthritis, Diabetes and Thyroid Dysfunction. It may also be a side effect of oral medications or the result of an allergy. After about conjunctivitis, dry eye disease can persist for up to one year.
Treatment options for dry eye
Assessment, and therefore treatment, of the dry eye, includes a thorough eye examination and medical history which will determine the cause. Treatment always involves the use of artificial lubricating eye drops, but in addition, sometimes topical antibiotics, oral antibiotics or topical steroid drops are needed.
Other treatments include intense pulsed light therapy which can significantly improve dry eye symptoms. If your dry eye is related to blepharitis or rosacea, then you may be suitable for a course of IPL treatment. Blepharitis results in the formation of vascular abnormalities on the eyelids and IPL are used to treat vascular lesions as it is selectively absorbed by the haemoglobin of abnormal vessels and destroys them by thrombosis. The treatment involves an initial assessment by an ophthalmologist and then a course of 3 cycles. It will provide symptomatic relief, reduction in the use of artificial lubricating drops and improve the quality of Meibomian gland secretion.