Dry Eye Disease

Dry eye disease, or ocular surface disease, is a very common condition that occurs when your natural tears and cleaning mechanisms don’t properly lubricate your eyes. 86% of the public experiences dry, itchy eyes, and even excessively watery eyes, that can impact their quality of life and ability to see the world clearly. At Fort Collins Family Eye Care, with a unique menu of diagnostic technology and advanced training Dr. Munson examines your ocular surface and meibomian glands to determine the cause of your dry eye symptoms. Root cause solutions and relief are noted within 30 to 90 days for compliant patients.

If you’re experiencing any symptoms of dry eye disease, visit Dr. Munson at Fort Collins Family Eye Care. Live your best life and enjoy the beauty of the world.

Dr. Munson and members of her nationally-recognized Advisory Board specialize in ocular surface disease and dry eye treatments. Their collaborative approach to ocular surface disease prevention and treatment is nationwide.


What is Ocular Surface Disease?

The ocular surface is a delicate structure and is vulnerable to potential environmental insults by the nature of its function and anatomic location. Disruption of the physiological integrity may or may not produce symptoms.

Ocular surface disease are chronic and progressive, making early intervention vital. Oftentimes, symptomatic patients will try to solve their perceived problems with self-treatment. However, these approaches may delay the accurate diagnosis of ocular surface disease and lead to progressive damage to the ocular surface, causing noticeable irritation, reduction of visual function, and even chronic tissue changes.

What is the Tear Film?

Your tear film protects your cornea. However, if your tear film is compromised in any way, particularly due to a lack of oil from your meibomian glands, it can disrupt your ocular surface and cause irritation. Your tear film itself is made of three layers: an inner mucin layer, a middle layer called the aqueous layer, and an outer layer, or the lipid layer. The outer layer, the lipid layer, is produced by the meibomian glands. The oil that the glands secrete prevents your tears from evaporating too quickly and protects your ocular surface.  

 

What Causes Dry Eyes?

There are many possible causes of dry eyes. During your appointment, Dr. Munson and her team of Wellness Heroes will use the latest technology to determine the cause of your dry eyes. Some of the causes of dry eyes are:

  • Age: Dry eyes are a part of the natural aging process because people often experience lower tear production as they age.

  • Medication: Certain medications including anti-depressants, decongestants, antihistamines, birth control, and numerous others have been linked to dry eyes. 

  • Gender: Because of hormonal changes during pregnancy and menopause, women are more likely to experience dry eyes.  

  • Environmental factors: Environmental factors such as dryness, wind, or smoke can cause tears to evaporate more quickly.

  • Contact lenses: Long-term contact lens wearers can develop ocular surface disease. Oftentimes, patients who experience contact lens intolerance are suffering from ocular surface disease. Dr. Munson may indicate contact lens rehabilitation for patients experiencing discomfort from meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) and ocular surface diseases.

  • LASIK: Patients who have had LASIK surgery are at higher risk of developing ocular surface disease. 

  • Allergies: Allergies can cause temporary dry eye symptoms. In fact, 40% of suspected eye allergy cases overlap with ocular surface disease.

  • Diabetes: 54% of diabetes patients have ocular surface disease.  

  • Rosacea: If you’ve been diagnosed with rosacea, your eyes are involved, and you may experience symptoms of dry eyes. Ocular rosacea causes red, itchy eyes.

  • Autoimmune illnesses: Some autoimmune illnesses such as, lupus rheumatoid arthritis, can dry out your eyes because inflammation can block your tear glands. 33% of patients with autoimmune disease have ocular manifestations.

  • Digital Vision Syndrome: Prolonged computer use and eye misalignment can cause dry eyes. To avoid this, you should take breaks from looking at computers, phones, and tablets.  

  • Meibomian gland dysfunction: Your meibomian glands are responsible for producing the oil that lubricates the outermost layer of your tear film and prevents your tears from evaporating.

  • Eyelid inflammation: Eyelid inflammation, also known as blepharitis, can cause dry eye symptoms.

request an appointment with Dr. Munson

what are the Symptoms of Dry Eye Disease?

Name *
Name
Phone *
Phone
  • Blurred or inconsistent vision

  • Contact lens discomfort and irritation

  • Dry, itchy, or gritty eyes

  • Red eyes

  • Stinging or burning sensation

  • Fluctuating vision

  • Light sensitivity

  • Watery eyes

  • Eye fatigue

  • Irritation with contact lenses

  • Frequent headaches when using a digital device for more than two hours a day  

 

Types of Ocular Surface Disease:

Biofilm:

Dry eye disease associated with biofilm are often related to abnormalities of the structure or function of the eyelids and the presence of eye mites (Demodex) and layers of biofilm, noted by the sheen of bacteria (infectious plaque) on the eyelid surface. Both of these are treatable with conservative in-office procedures such as eyelid exfoliation, surfactant cleansers, and debridement.

Obstruction:

Conditions that obstruct the function and expression of oil for the perocular tear film (POTF) from the meibomian glands may result in signs or symptoms of damage to the structures of the ocular surface. Non-invasive treatments such as thermal pulsation, manual expression, lid exfoliation, lid debridement, and supplemental homecare regimens will protect you from future gland loss and improve your overall comfort.

Tear Film:

Conditions that alter the production, composition, and distribution of aqueous moisture levels lead to damage of the cornea. Because of this damage and the risks of scarring, recurring insult and erosion, and infection, we recommend in-office amniotic membrane application, punctual occlusion, and combined anti-infective and ocular hydration strategies.

Inflammation:

Delayed intervention of root causes of ocular surface disease lead to topical and systemic pharmalogical interventions. Low patient compliance coupled with increased costs and risks of additional side effects delays treatment and often warrants aggressive combination therapy.

Misalignment:

Eye misalignment can also cause dry eye symptoms. To treat ocular surface disease as a result of misalignment, Dr. Munson will recommend therapeutic alignment lenses and vision performance training.

 

Ocular Surface Disease treatment:

Investigation of the components of the ocular surface must be performed for a complete treatment plan because there are numerous treatments available for dry eye disease. Dr. Munson will work closely with you to help determine which treatment is best for you based on the underlying cause of your ocular surface disease.

  • Eyelid exfoliation, surfactant cleansers, and debridement are all intended to remove any biofilm or mites to prevent future obstruction and further progression.

  • Eyelid hygiene: Eyelid hygiene is important for preventing dry eye symptoms in the future because it will help protect your meibomian glands and prevent inflammation.

  • Manual manipulation of the glands: By gently pressing on your eyelid margins, you can cause your meibomian glands to secrete the oil that prevents your tears from evaporating.

  • Medications: Certain medications such as cyclosporin, macrolide, lifitegrast, and corticoid steroid intervention may be indicated depending on the cause of your ocular surface disease.

  • Lifestyle changes: Some lifestyle changes such as an increased intake of fatty acids and better skin and eyelid hygiene may be recommended.

  • In-office treatments such as amniotic membrane application and punctual occlusion to protect your tear film.

  • Pelleve: Pelleve is a preventative treatment for meibomian gland function and gently heats the skin around your eyes from the inside out. The treatment enhances your natural collagen production and helps prevent under eye puffiness.

  • HydroEye: HydroEye is an oral supplement that treats dry eyes from the inside out by supporting the layers of your tear film.

  • LipiFlow: LipiFlow uses a thermal pulse technology on the meibomian glands to remove blockages and push the oils out of the glands.

At Fort Collins Family Eye Care, we believe that prevention is the best form of treatment. If you are experiencing any dry eye symptoms, schedule an appointment with Dr. Munson to take care of your ocular surface and prevent worsening dry eye disease. Our team of dedicated Wellness Heroes will work with you to make sure that you get the care you need to see all of the beauty that this world has to offer.

If you’re experiencing dry eye symptoms, we can give you some much-needed relief! Call Dr. Munson at Fort Collins Family Eye Care today at (970) 223-7150 or request an appointment online to treat your ocular surface disease.