Dry Eye Management

Having dry eyes could just be the result of staring at a screen too long and may be manageable with some changes in lifestyle and the occasional eye drop. Chronic dry eyes, however, may be an indicator of a larger issue, commonly referred to as dry eye disease or dry eye syndrome. 

At Tonic Eye Care, dry eye management is one of our many areas of expertise. If you have been experiencing dry eye symptoms, our optometrists can provide industry-leading diagnostic testing and dry eye treatment. Whether you are managing dry eye disease or are experiencing dryness from other causes, we can help bring relief. 

What is Dry Eye?

Dry eye disease is a prevalent and often chronic condition that arises when your eyes either do not produce sufficient tears or when the tears evaporate too quickly. This imbalance can cause inflammation and damage to the eye’s surface, resulting in significant discomfort and vision disturbances. The condition can affect anyone but is more common in older adults and women, especially postmenopausal women.

 

 

Common Symptoms of Dry Eye - Tonic Eye Care

Common Symptoms of Dry Eye

People with dry eye disease may experience a range of symptoms, including:
  • A stinging, burning, or scratchy sensation in the eyes
  • Sensitivity to light (photophobia)
  • Redness of the eyes
  • A sensation of having something in the eyes (foreign body sensation)
  • Difficulty wearing contact lenses
  • Difficulty with nighttime driving
  • Watery eyes, which is the body’s response to the irritation of dry eyes
  • Blurred vision or eye fatigue

What Causes Dry Eye?

Dry eye disease can result from several underlying issues, generally categorized into two main types–evaporative dry eye and aqueous deficiency dry eye.

Evaporative Dry Eye

Evaporative dry eye occurs when your tears evaporate too quickly. It is often associated with inflammation of the meibomian glands, which are responsible for secreting oils that prevent tear evaporation. Conditions such as blepharitis, rosacea, meibomian gland dysfunction, and even environmental factors like wind and dry air can exacerbate this type of dry eye syndrome.

Aqueous Deficiency Dry Eye

Aqueous deficiency dry eye happens when the eyes do not produce enough aqueous fluid, the watery component of tears. Causes can include autoimmune conditions such as Sjögren’s syndrome, damage to the lacrimal glands, or simply aging.

Inflammation

Inflammation plays a significant role in dry eye disease, affecting both tear production and the health of the ocular surface. Chronic inflammation can damage the glands that produce tears and lead to a cycle of worsening dryness and irritation. This is why it is important to seek prompt medical assistance if you are experiencing dry eye symptoms.

Factors That Can Increase Risk of Dry Eye

There are many factors that can elevate the risk of developing dry eye disease, including:  
Causes Of Dry Eyes - Tonic Eye Care
  • Age: Older adults are more likely to develop dry eye due to reduced tear production.
  • Gender: Women, especially those who are pregnant, using oral contraceptives, or experiencing menopause, are at higher risk due to hormonal changes.
  • Medical conditions: Conditions like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and thyroid disorders can contribute to dry eye.
  • Environmental conditions: Exposure to smoke, wind, and dry climates can increase tear evaporation.
  • Screen time: Prolonged use of computers and digital devices can reduce blink rate and tear production.
  • Medications: Certain medications, such as antihistamines, decongestants, blood pressure drugs, and antidepressants, can reduce tear production.
Diagnosis Of Dry Eye - Tonic Eye Care

Diagnosing Dry Eye

Diagnosing dry eye involves a comprehensive eye exam and specific tests to evaluate the quantity and quality of tears. These diagnostic tests are minimally invasive and not overly uncomfortable. Some methods that we might use to diagnose dry eye include:

  • Schirmer Test: Measures tear production using a strip of filter paper placed under the lower eyelid.
  • Tear Breakup Time (TBUT): Assesses the stability of the tear film by timing how long it takes for dry spots to appear after blinking.
  • Ocular Surface Staining: Uses special dyes to highlight damage to the cornea and conjunctiva.
  • Meibomian Gland Evaluation: Examines the function of the meibomian glands to detect blockages or dysfunction​.

Dry Eye Treatments

Treatment for dry eye aims to restore or maintain the normal amount of tears in the eye to minimize dryness and discomfort and to maintain eye health. They might be as simple as prescribing eye drops for temporary relief, or light pulse treatments for more long-term management. 

Some common treatment options include:

  • Artificial Tears and Lubricants: Over-the-counter drops and ointments can provide temporary relief.
  • Prescription Medications: Anti-inflammatory drugs, such as cyclosporine (Restasis) and lifitegrast (Xiidra), can reduce inflammation and increase tear production.
  • Punctal Plugs: Small devices inserted into the tear ducts to reduce tear drainage and increase tear film.
  • Thermal Pulsation Treatment: Uses heat and pressure to unblock meibomian glands.
  • Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Therapy: Helps treat meibomian gland dysfunction by reducing inflammation and improving gland function
Dry Eye Treatment - Tonic Eye Care
Dry Eye Management - Tonic Eye Care

What to Expect During Your Eye Exam

When you visit Tonic Eye Care for dry eye management, you can expect a thorough evaluation, beginning with a discussion of your symptoms, medical history, lifestyle, etc. You will take a visual acuity test, then go through some specific testing for dry eye such as a tear film analysis or meibomian gland assessment.

Your optometrist may use dilating drops in your eyes, so it is important to arrange safe transportation home from your appointment. Dilation drops cause blurred vision and may cause a headache, so we recommend waiting at least 2 hours for your vision to return to normal before operating a vehicle. 

The Importance of Regular Check-Ups

Regular eye exams are crucial for early detection and management of dry eye disease. Routine visits allow your optometrist to monitor the condition, adjust treatments as needed, and prevent complications such as corneal damage and vision loss. Even if your symptoms are mild, regular check-ups can help maintain your eye health and improve your quality of life​.

Toronto Dry Eye Specialist

Choosing the right clinic is essential for effective dry eye management. At Tonic Eye Care, our team is dedicated to providing professional and personalized care using the latest advancements in dry eye treatment. We are committed to helping you achieve optimal eye health and comfort. Book an appointment today to meet with an optometrist and return to comfort and clarity.