Keene, New Hampshire
Dry Eye Evaluation
Improve your overall eye health
Dry Eye Evaluation
Dry Eye Evaluation, Keene, NH
Do you often experience a scratchy, burning sensation in your eyes? Does your vision occasionally blur or seem cloudy? If so, you may be suffering from a condition called dry eye syndrome. If you have dry eye, it’s important to seek professional care to prevent complications that could affect your eye health and vision. At New England EyeWorks in Keene, New Hampshire, Dr. Barton Higley and Dr. Nicole Leo are here to help you find relief and improve your overall eye health.
What is dry eye syndrome?
Dry eye syndrome (or dry eye disease) is a common and uncomfortable condition that happens when your eyes don’t produce enough tears or when they evaporate too quickly. Tears are essential for maintaining eye health, as they lubricate your eyes, protect them from infection, and wash away foreign particles. When you don’t have enough tears or the right type of tears, your eyes become dry and uncomfortable, leading to dry eye disease. This could progress over time if left untreated.
What are the symptoms of dry eye disease?
Dry eye symptoms can range from mild to severe and may include:
- Eye discomfort or pain
- A burning or stinging sensation in the eyes
- A feeling of grittiness or the presence of sand in the eyes
- Blurred vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Increased tear production (watery eyes)
Along with causing discomfort, dry eye disease can also lead to more serious issues like corneal ulcers, infections, and scarring.
What causes dry eye disease?
If you have dry eye, it’s crucial to get a personalized evaluation to effectively treat it since there are various reasons why people develop this condition. We’re here to help you discover the underlying causes and provide the best care possible.
Meibomian gland dysfunction
Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) is a condition that happens when the meibomian glands in the eyelids become clogged or blocked. These glands produce an oil that keeps…
More about MGD
…our eyes lubricated and prevents tears from evaporating. When these glands are blocked, the production of this oil decreases, causing an imbalance in the tear film and resulting in dry eye symptoms.
MGD is a common cause of dry eye disease, especially for those with a history of blepharitis or eyelid inflammation. Symptoms of MGD include eye discomfort, redness, a gritty feeling, and a burning or stinging sensation. In severe cases, MGD may lead to thickened eyelid margins and the formation of meibomian cysts (chalazion).
Blepharitis is a common condition that can make your eyelids red, itchy, and inflamed. It can also make the eyelashes clump together or turn inward, causing irritation and possibly infection.
More about blepharitis
Several factors can cause blepharitis, such as bacterial infection, overgrowth of eyelid bacteria, or an allergic reaction. It can also occur due to blockage in the oil glands of the eyelids, leading to dry eye disease. Inflammation from blepharitis can damage the oil glands, reducing the production of tears that keep the eyes lubricated. This results in dryness and irritation, worsening the cycle of blepharitis.
Blepharitis and dry eye disease can sometimes be caused by tiny mites called Demodex. Demodex mites are very common and usually harmless. But when they multiply on your eyelashes…
More about Demodex mites
…they can trigger inflammation in the eyelids, resulting in symptoms like redness, itching, and a gritty sensation in your eyes. This inflammation can even damage the oil glands in your eyelids, leading to dry eye disease.
Some cosmetics ingredients can irritate the eyes, causing dryness, redness, and itching. These include preservatives, fragrances, and certain dyes. Cosmetics may also contribute to blepharitis by clogging oil glands…
More about cosmetics
…leading to bacteria growth and inflammation. Another way cosmetics can cause dry eyes is by blocking tear ducts, resulting in dryness and irritation from built-up tears.
Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that causes the skin to become red, inflamed, and sensitive. Rosacea can affect the eyes in several ways…
More about Rosacea
…such as causing blepharitis, or inflammation of the eyelids, and dry eyes. When the skin around the eyes becomes inflamed, it can block the oil glands that produce tears, leading to dry eyes. In some cases, the inflammation can also disrupt the eyelids’ proper functioning, leading to styes and other eye infections.
Women are more likely to experience dry eye due to hormonal changes caused by pregnancy, the use of oral contraceptives, and menopause.
Digital eye strain
Long-term use of computers or other digital devices can cause dry eye symptoms because people blink less when staring at screens.
It’s common for most people aged 65 and older to have dry eye symptoms.
Some medical conditions, like rheumatoid arthritis and Sjogren’s syndrome, can cause dry eye disease.
Dry eyes can also be caused by environmental factors such as wind, sun, and air conditioning.
Dry eye can occur as a side effect of some medications, such as antihistamines and antidepressants.
Dry eye evaluation in Keene, NH
At New England EyeWorks, our doctors use advanced diagnostic technology to assess patients for dry eye disease. If we detect signs of dry eye during your eye exam, we’ll bring you back in for a dry eye evaluation, which is a separate appointment.
During the evaluation, we’ll perform tests to find out what’s causing your dry eye and determine its severity. Tests may include:
- LipiScan: LipiScan is a non-invasive procedure that helps our eye doctors analyze the health of your meibomian glands. LipiScan plays an important role in diagnosing and treating the symptoms of dry eye syndrome.
- TearLab: TearLab is a small handheld device that measures the salt concentration in the tears (or osmolarity). In people with dry eyes, the salt concentration of the tears is often higher. The TearLab system can detect this increase and help us make a diagnosis.
Treatment for dry eye disease
For dry eye disease, we tailor treatment plans to address the root causes. Our goal is to help you maintain healthy eyes, relieve dryness and discomfort, and safeguard your vision. Options for treatment include:
- Treating oil glands
- Punctal plugs
- Autologous serum eye drops
- Regener-Eyes® eye drops to increase lubrication and hydration
- Blinking exercises or proper eyelid hygiene
- If an infection is causing the issue, low-dose antibiotics may also be prescribed.
We also offer the following treatments for dry eye in our Keene office:
Schedule a dry eye evaluation in Keene
Experience the relief you deserve from dry eye syndrome! At New England EyeWorks, our dedicated team offers effective, personalized dry eye treatments. Whether your symptoms are mild or severe, we’re here to help restore comfort and optimize your eye health. Schedule a dry eye evaluation at our Keene clinic today!