Though it is not talked about enough, dry eye syndrome is a serious medical condition that is estimated to afflict 100 million people globally, including millions of Americans. With the central role that vision plays in our professional and personal lives, dry eyes can have a serious impact on quality of life, earning potential, and even interpersonal relationships. If you are suffering from dry eyes, it’s time that you received the help you deserve. At Witchita Vision Institute in Witchita, KS, we know that LipiFlow can help you reclaim your vision and your life.
Looking to Get Rid of Dry Eye? How LipiFlow Can Help
Many dry-eye sufferers believe that the only possible relief for their condition is to keep buying and endlessly re-applying eye drops. Today, those suffering from dry-eye syndrome have more options than ever before, including treatments utilizing the revolutionary LipiFlow treatments. Before we get into how LipiFlow works and how it potentially can help you, we first need to understand what dry eye syndrome is and how it is caused.
What Is Dry Eye Syndrome?
Simply put, dry eye syndrome is exactly what it sounds like, with sufferers experiencing persistent dryness of the eyes. However, dry eye syndrome also manifests itself in a number of other symptoms, including:
- Blurred vision
- Fluctuating vision
- Sensations of burning or stinging
- Discharge emanating from the eye
- A feeling of “grittiness” in the eye
- Eye fatigue
- Sensitivity to light (photophobia)
- Feeling like a foreign body is in the eye when it is not (foreign body sensation)
A Serious Medical Condition That Needs to Be Treated
While none of the symptoms above are anything to be taken lightly and can each individually have a serious impact on your quality of life, job performance, and even safety (for example, while driving), too often we treat dry eyes as something that we just need to “push through” or “try not to make a big deal about.”
No one understands this better than Dr. Patel at Witchita Vision Institute. Dr. Patel knows from experience that chronic dry eye syndrome is underdiagnosed and even more under-treated, too often leaving sufferers to struggle with inadequate self-help and over-the-counter remedies like eye drops that, if they do anything at all, can only temporarily relieve symptoms without addressing the underlying cause.
Dry Eyes Impact Many Essential Activities
Though sometimes brushed aside as something that just needs to be put up with or isn’t worth complaining about, chronic dry eyes can have a very real impact on a number of essential activities that we must perform virtually every day. These activities include, but are hardly limited to:
- Using a computer
- Working (in all manner of professions)
- Operating machinery
- Watching TV
- Using a smartphone
- Interacting with others
The Debilitating Effects of Dry Eyes
Some individuals, unfortunately, may be reluctant to see a healthcare professional about their chronic dry eyes because they fear not being taken seriously. Not so with Dr. Patel and the Witchita Vision Institute. Dr. Patel understands the impact that dry eyes can have on every area of your life, and dry eyes can be particularly common in our windy Witchita region. In fact, let’s take a look at some of the many causes of dry eye syndrome, which do include wind!
What Causes Dry Eye Syndrome?
In order to legitimately address your chronic dry eyes and not just mask over the symptoms, it is important to know what is causing your particular case. While many people assume that dry eyes simply are caused by a lack of tear production, the causes of dry eye syndrome vary widely. In fact, most cases of dry eyes are caused not by a lack of tear production but because the tears that are produced evaporate too quickly. This is caused by problems with the tears themselves.
Evaporative Dry Eye Syndrome
Sometimes, eyes get dry not due to a lack of tear production but because the tears evaporate too quickly. This is called evaporative dry eye syndrome. Remarkably, given some of our societal assumptions about the causes of dry eyes, nearly 90% of all cases of chronic dry eyes are due to evaporative dry eye syndrome.
Evaporative dry eye syndrome occurs when tears lack certain essential components. To understand this, let’s take a look at what tears are made of and what tears do. Often thought of as simply saltwater, tears actually have a somewhat complex and delicate composition that allows them to perform their various vital functions in the vision system. Essentially, tears consist of three components, each of which is essential to their proper functioning.
The Aqueous Layer
First, and most obviously, tears contain a layer of water, known as the aqueous layer. This layer is responsible for providing nourishment and protection to the cornea, the eye’s outermost layer of protection. While it might be assumed that dry eyes are a result of deficiencies in the aqueous layer, this is not necessarily so.
The Lipid Layer
In fact, evaporative dry eye syndrome is most frequently due to a problem not with the aqueous layer but with the layer of oil known as the lipid layer. The lipid layer not only lubricates the cornea in the same way that oil lubricates moving parts in an engine, but it also prevents tears from evaporating too quickly. Too few lipids in the tears can result in tears evaporating at too rapid a rate, leading to chronic dry eyes.
The lipids for tears are produced by the eyes’ meibomian glands. Sometimes, a lack of lipids in the tears can be due to a blockage of these glands.
The Mucin Layer
The third layer of tears, known as the mucin layer, contains essentially mucus, which is responsible for helping tears to adhere to the eye.
How Do I Figure Out What Is Causing My Dry Eyes?
Addressing the symptoms of your chronic dry eyes means getting to the root cause or causes thereof. Thankfully, some remarkable advances in medical technology recently have made that possible.
TearLab Osmolarity Test
The remarkable TearLab Osmolarity test allows Dr. Patel to test the salt concentration of your tears using only a tiny 50 nanoliter sample! After Dr. Patel quickly and painlessly retrieves the sample from your eyelid margin and then uses the TearLab to analyze your tears’ composition and determine your Osmolarity Score.
What Is an Osmolarity Score?
The Osmolarity Score is used to gauge the severity of your dry eye. This is essential in determining the appropriate treatment regimen. However, the Osmolarity Score does not necessarily identify the cause of your dry eyes. To assist in that, Dr. Patel utilizes the LipiView Ocular Surface interferometer.
LipiView Ocular Surface Interferometer
The cutting-edge LipiView Ocular Surface Interferometer uses the latest in medical technology to break down not only the composition of your tears–including the concentration of those vitally important lipids–but also other factors that potentially play a role in eye dryness. In fact, the amazing LipiView captures and analyzes over one billion different data points in an effort to identify potential cause or causes of your dry eyes.
Not only does the LipiView help identify whether you suffer from evaporative dry eye syndrome by determining whether your tears possess the appropriate concentration of evaporation-preventing lipids, but it also detects information that will help in developing the appropriate treatment for your individual situation. Witchita Vision Institute is proud to be the first practice in the entire state of Kansas to offer the cutting-edge LipiView tear analysis.
No Contraindications and No Adverse Side Effects
Perhaps best of all, the LipiView Ocular Surface Interferometer is completely safe for all patients because it amazingly has no contraindications and no adverse side effects. This gives you the confidence to know that you can safely and comfortably get to the root causes of your dry eyes without risking any complications.
Witchita Vision Institute Will Get to the Bottom of Your Dry Eyes
At the Witchita Vision Institute, Dr. Reena Patel utilizes the latest in ocular medical technology to get to the root causes of your dry eyes, paving the way for an effective treatment regimen. By scientifically analyzing a wide range of factors, Dr. Patel leaves no stone unturned. The wide-range of factors analyzed by Dr. Patel include:
- Tear duct functioning
- Tear production
- Meibomian gland performance
- Blinking habits
- Eyelid position
- Tear film concentration
How Can LipiFlow Treat My Dry Eyes?
Just as the Witchita Vision Institute is proud to be the first practice in Kansas to offer the amazing LipiView Ocular Surface Interferometer, we are equally excited to be the first practice in Kansas to offer the cutting-edge LipiFlow treatment for evaporative dry eye syndrome.
For the nearly 90% of dry-eye sufferers whose condition results from evaporative dry eye syndrome, LipiFlow treatment offers amazing new hope not to just mask over the symptoms but to address the root cause of chronic dry eyes. LipiFlow treatment helps dry-eye sufferers to re-attain and maintain an appropriate balance of lipids in their tears.
How Low Lipid Levels Impact Quality of Life
When the lipid levels in our tears are too low, the tears evaporate too quickly, meaning they fail to adequately perform their vital role of protecting and nourishing the eye. Even though everyone knows the important role that the vision system plays in virtually all of our day-to-day activities, it is easy to overlook the essential role that tears play within the vision system.
Dry eyes are not something for us to simply deal with. Chronic dry eye syndrome is a serious medical condition that should be addressed as soon as possible. After all, failure to address chronic dry eye can lead to greater problems long-term, not to mention missing out on important quality of life in the short term.
You Owe It to Yourself to Address Your Dry Eyes
Chronic dry eye syndrome is nothing to be ignored. Our vision plays a central role in pretty much every aspect of our lives, from our work to our personal lives. Vision is even essential to our safety and the safety of those around us, such as when driving or operating heavy machinery. Additionally, failure to address dry eye syndrome in a timely manner may lead to worse health consequences down the road.
That’s why you owe it to yourself to quit trying to push your chronic dry eyes into the back of your mind and to do something about it today. Dr. Patel has helped numerous patients reattain a quality of life that they thought they had lost for good. Let Dr. Patel help you, too. Contact Witchita Vision Institute in Witchita, Kansas today to see what Dr. Patel can do for you and your dry eyes!