Dry eye is a common condition that affects as many as five million Americans and is one of the most common ocular complaints in the US. If you wear contact lenses or are over the age of 50, you have an increased risk of suffering from dry eye.
According to Dr. Rafael Trespalacios, Medical Director at the Brevard Eye Center, more than a few factors can converge to create the condition.
“Prolonged screen time (computer, phone or television), seasonal allergies, cooler (winter) air with less moisture, indoor heating, ceiling fans and certain medications all can contribute to dry eye,” he said.
Taking a Deeper Look
Meibomian glands in the eyes are the miniscule glands that line the portion of the eyes that touch when the eyelids are closed (blinked) and secrete oil that protects the film of tears covering the eye’s surface from drying out.
This film of tears is vital for cleansing the eye by eliminating foreign objects, providing oxygen and nutrients to the eye’s outer tissues, and reducing friction with the eyelid, he explained.
The film is formed of an outer lipid layer and an inner liquid layer. The outer lipid layer prevents water evaporation from the liquid layer. Dry eye disease develops when the glands that produce these lipids dysfunction, explained Dr. Tres, and get clogged with dirt or makeup.
Meibomian Gland Disorder (MGD) is fairly common and can cause the following symptoms:
■ Stickiness/ Crustiness
■ Light Sensitivity
■ Eye Redness
■ Foreign Body Sensation
■ Blurred Vision
Now, there is a simple, effective and painless way to treat MGD and its available right here on the Space Coast. “Our state of the art LipiFlow® procedure works to extract dirt and pathogens from the lids, providing real relief after a very short procedure time” Dr. Tres said.
The LipiFlow® Thermal Pulsation System heats the glands then gently massages them to loosen the oil trapped within the glands. The automated treatment helps clear the gland obstruction and restore function. This comfortable and effective massage is done while resting in a chair in our office.
Dr. Tres was the first in Brevard and one of the first in the U.S. to offer this groundbreaking procedure. Office treatments are completed in about 12 minutes and can be performed on the same day as patient evaluation. Relief from the symptoms of dry eye is realized among a majority of patients within six to eight weeks of the initial treatment.
Patients considering cataract surgery typically have some level of MGD and should also consider treatment for the condition before surgery.
What Do Meibomian Glands Look Like?
“I have lived with dry eye for about 10 years. I used artificial tears several times a day with minimal relief. I take a fish oil supplement twice a day. My dry eye is worse in the evening. I often have to close one eye at night when reading on my IPad. Using artificial tears throughout the day is inconvenient. I have had the LipiFlow procedure done twice. The first time the relief lasted well over a year. I am very pleased with the results. I rarely have to use artificial tears now. The excessive tearing has subsided. I no longer have to close one eye to read at night. I would highly recommend the LipiFlow Procedure,” said Lisa Boyter, a LipiFlow patient.
Dr. Tres also advises a few easy additional steps to ensure treatment effectiveness:
LID SCRUB – to clear the gland openings.
BRUDER MASK – this eye compress mask helps stabilize the tear film, improves oil gland function and slows evaporation. Users microwave the mask for 20-25 seconds and apply nightly before bedtime for 8-10 minutes.
KLARITY-C EYE DROPS – these drops work to help keep eyes lubricated, increase tear production and improve tear film instability and ocular surface staining. These drops may also help treat inflammation.
SLEEP MASK – when we sleep, our eyes do not shut completely and can, in turn, dry out overnight (especially if we’re sleeping with the fan on). Using a sleep mask helps the eyes retain moisture and protect the eyes from drying out.
VITAMINS – eye health vitamins formulated to help people with occasional dry eye produce more natural tears and a greater level of lubrication to relieve associated eye discomfort and irritation.
“Our aim is to heal and whenever possible, cure or fix your eyes, and in the process help you ‘fix your eyes’ on what really matters most in life,” said Dr. Tres.
DR. TRESPALACIOS, known as “Dr. Tres” by his patients and team, completed his bachelor of science in biology and microbiology at UCF, attended the University of South Florida School of Medicine, and went on to become a board-certified ophthalmologist with distinctions throughout his medical and surgical training.
Dr. Tres is one of very few ophthalmologists to pursue further fellowship training and specialize in a particular area of surgical eye care – he chose to dedicate an extra year of study to cataracts and consultative ophthalmology. Dr. Tres and his practice have a long list of “firsts” for Central Florida.
In addition to being one of the first surgeons in the world to perform a bladeless laser corneal transplant, he is also the first and most experienced surgeon fully credentialed and prepared to implant the iStent Microglaucoma Device, the world’s smallest medical device. He is also the first to introduce the CataLāze option to Central Florida, which includes a new intraoperative laser-guided positioning system for the most precise cataract surgical outcomes available.
As the medical director at The Brevard Eye Center, he has earned a reputation for excellence and was selected by respected colleagues in the field of cataract and LASIK surgery as one of the best doctors in the country. He is also presently an associate Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Central Florida College of Medicine. With the dedication and support of thousands of visually restored patients behind him, Dr. Tres and his team have brought his formula for excellence to the community that helped start his career.
Brevard Bye has treatment facilities in Melbourne, Suntree and Merritt Island. For more information, visit online at www.brevardeye.com or call 321-984-3200.