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Dry eye syndrome is the most common reason that patients visit an eye doctor. Over 300 million people worldwide suffer from some degree of dry eye, or “keratoconjunctivitis sicca.” Both young and old can be affected, but the chances of getting dry eye increase with age.

Though there are dozens of underlying factors for dryness, most fall into one of these two categories.

  1. Increased tear evaporation: The most common cause of dry eye is a condition called Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD), which causes your tears to evaporate more quickly. Just as oil floats on water, the Meibomian glands secrete an oily substance that floats on the surface of your tears. This oily coating slows down the evaporation rate of the tears. MGD results in secretions that are too thick and cannot be expressed or secretions of poor quality.
  1. Decreased tear production: Our natural tears are spread across the surface of the eye with every blink to keep the cornea smooth, moist and clear. The corneal surface is responsible for about 75% of the overall focusing power of the eye. This explains why most vision correction procedures aim to make favorable changes in the surface of the cornea. This also explains why a dry cornea, no longer smooth and moist, can blur your vision. If you have ever scratched your cornea, the pain is memorable. The cornea is full of nerve endings and is one of the most sensitive parts of the body. This is why dry eye can be so uncomfortable.

Symptoms of Dry Eye

Symptoms of dry eye may include:

  • Redness
  • Itching
  • Heavy, achy eyes
  • Blurriness
  • Grittiness
  • Light sensitivity
  • Tearing

Dry Eye Treatment & Diagnosis

Treatment for dry eye is available for most cases and is critical if you are considering LASIK or another vision correction procedure. Dry eye can negatively impact the results of your surgery and cause:

  • Inaccurate measurements when you are evaluated for prescription eyewear (glasses and contacts), cataract surgery, or vision correction.
  • Difficulties with healing if not corrected before surgery.
  • Wearing contact lenses to be almost impossible.

If you have dry eye related to MGD, we offer LipiScan and LipiFlow to accurately diagnose and treat your condition.

  • LipiScan (Diagnose): FDA approved tool that allows us to visualize unhealthy and malfunctioning glands.
  • LipiFlow (Treat): FDA approved for the treatment of dry eye syndrome caused by meibomian gland dysfunction.  

Other Treatment Options:

  • We can use special tests, such a staining technique (cells of the cornea will stain when dried) and  Schirmer's test to measure tear production and evaluate dry eyes.
  • Types of omega 3 fatty acids, punctal plugs, artificial tears and artificial tear gel treatments have also improved dry eye.

To schedule a consultation for vision correction, or to simply treat your dry eye symptoms, click here.

Study Shows Dry Eye Improvement

As reported in Cornea, 105 patients with dry eye disease were studied for 12 weeks.  Half of the patients received 12 weeks of omega-3 fatty acids (PRN Dry Eye Omega Benefits) while the “placebo” half received safflower oil. The group that received the omega-3 fatty acids showed an improvement in multiple parameters related to assessing dry eye:

  • Tear osmolarity
  • Tear break-up time (TBUT)
  • Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI)
  • MMP-9
  • Corneal Staining
  • Schirmer test
  • Omega 3 index

Many improvements presented as early as six weeks, with patients having decreased symptoms of dry eye, including burning, tearing and redness.

About Dry Eye Omega Benefits (PRN)

The actual supplement used for the study is manufactured by PRN (Physician Recommended Nutriceuticals).  Dry Eye Omega Benefits provides a unique “re-esterified” combination of EPA and DHA fatty acids that may add to the bioavailability of the fatty acids.

We are impressed with the results of the “re-esterified” omega 3 supplements and believe the chemical composition is superior to other omega 3 supplements in the ability to improve the tear film and help dry eyes.  

Moreover, the “re-esterified” omega 3 supplements may have numerous benefits when taken before and after refractive eye surgery or cataract surgery.