Do You Have Dry Eye?

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Do You Have Dry Eye?

Do You Have Dry Eye?

Dry Eye | Whitten Laser Eye | Richmond Charlotte Hall Washington DCDry eye is the most common reason to visit the eye doctor.  Over 300 million people worldwide suffer from some degree of “keratoconjunctivitis sicca.”  Symptoms range from sensitivity to light, redness and blurry vision.

Both young and old can be affected, though the chances of getting dry eye increase with age.

During your vision correction evaluation, we will be looking for signs of dry eye.  Treatments are available for most cases.

Symptoms of Dry Eye

Our natural tears are spread across the surface of the eye with every blink.  Our tears function 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.

The cornea is full of nerve endings and is one of the most sensitive parts of the body.  If you have ever scratched your cornea, the pain is memorable.

Other symptoms of dry eye include:

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

Making the Diagnosis

Though there are dozens of “causes” leading to dryness, most fall into one of these two categories.  

  1. Decreased tear production
  2. Increased tear evaporation

The most common cause of dry eye is a condition called Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD).  Miebomian gland dysfunction causes your tears to evaporate more quickly.

Just as oil floats on water, the Meibomian glands secrete an oily substance which floats on the surface of your tears.  This oily coating slows down the evaporation rate of the tears.

We use the LipiScan system to diagnose Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD).  With this FDA approved tool, we are able to visualize unhealthy and malfunctioning glands.

We can also use special staining techniques and the Shirmer test to evaluate dry eyes.  Corneal cells of the cornea will stain when dried.  The Shirmer test is an objective method to measure tear production.

Dry Eye and Vision Correction

Any degree of dry eye should be remedied before considering a vision correction procedure.  Dry eye can affect the results of your surgery and cause difficulties with healing if not corrected before surgery.

During your vision correction consultation for LASIK, we will discuss any concerns with you and how this can be treated before your procedure. To schedule a consultation for vision correction, or to simply treat your dry eye symptoms, call 301-825-5755.

Mark Whitten, M.D.
Vision Correction Surgeon
LASIK & Cataract

Shilpa Rose, M.D.
Vision Correction &
Dry Eye Specialist





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