Diagnosing and Treating Dry Eye Disease

A quiet revolution is occurring in the field of eye care, namely the diagnosis and treatment of Dry Eye Disease (DED). Spurred by new research, specific treatments and changes in our patients’ lifestyles, this once largely-ignored disorder is of great interest to ophthalmologists and patients alike.

DED is a very common condition affecting millions of Americans. Estimates vary widely but between 8-30% of adults are affected. Symptoms include:

  • stinging, burning and redness
  • scratchy feeling as if there is something in the eyes
  • excessive tearing
  • discomfort and pain
  • difficulty reading or using an electronic device for prolonged periods

Recently recognized is the effect of DED on reading and computer work.  Sometimes called ‘Computer Vision Syndrome’, the lack of tears and ‘good tears’ causes eyestrain and loss of productivity.

Also, we are seeing more and more individuals with long-standing vague pain in and about the eyes. Patients were frustrated going from doctor to doctor looking for relief. Now we recognize that many of these people have previously undiagnosed DED.

The good news is that treatment can be highly successful. The mainstay of treatment is specific medications in eye drop form, including Restasis and the newcomer, Xiidra. Also, of great interest is the use of Omega-3 supplements. These must be of a very specific type in the re-esterified triglyceride form, NOT available in drugstores. Artificial tears are used for minor symptoms.

Ophthalmologists recognize that a variety of eyelid problems often play a very important role in DED. Treatment directed at these problems, e.g. blepharitis and Meibomian Gland Dysfunction is critical to the success of treatment.

The doctors at the Coastal Jersey Eye Center highly recommend visiting your eye care provider if you’re experiencing these problems.

February 1, 2018

Are You Seeing Red?

Bloodshot eyes: they’re unpleasant to look at and even more irksome to suffer through.

What causes this sudden change in color – and the occasional itchy or watery sensation – are actually the tiny blood vessels under the eye’s surface, which get dilated or inflamed by external irritation.

While not harmful, bloodshot eyes are an irritating experience for many. Luckily, most home or over-the-counter treatments work well at treating the irritation. But what about those cases where home or pharmacy remedies just won’t do? What happens if the redness or discomfort outlasts the home treatment?

That’s where the advice of a dedicated eye care professional can help. Only a proper licensed eye doctor can provide medical diagnosis and prescription medication to combat a more severe case of red eyes.

To find out if you need to seek out the help of an Ophthalmologist, consider these points:

  • You have bloodshot eyes and are seeping with encrusted mucous. (In this case, an infection may be present.)
  • You are experiencing pain or tenderness in or around the eyes.
  • You have developed an unusual sensitivity to light.
  • You have a fever or overall sickness.
  • You or your loved ones have been exposed to pink eye (conjunctivitis.)

Next time you have bloodshot eyes, take a moment to consider whether the symptoms are more severe than usual. While many physicians can diagnose eye infections, only your Ophthalmologist has the capability for a more detailed evaluation.

January 2, 2018

Protecting your children's eyes during the holidays

The holiday season is here, and for parents of young children that means a return to the annual toy-shopping frenzy.

Before you start notching items off your gift list, take a moment to consider safety precautions that might save an eye and a whole lot of headache.

First, the facts. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 251,000 children under the age of 12 were taken to the emergency room for toy-related injuries last year. The study found 44 percent of those injuries were to the head and eye area.

We all know how big our kids’ eyes get when they finally unwrap that toy they’ve waited all year for. It’s important to protect those eyes from preventable hazards. All it takes is a little discretionary shopping.

Consider toy guns and other play weapons. Between 2010 and 2012, researchers at Stanford University found a 500 percent rise in children’s eye trauma related to airsoft and pellet guns.

From scratches of the cornea to much more serious and potentially blinding injuries, toys like darts, slingshots and even drones can cause a host of eye injuries.

That’s why it’s imperative to understand the risk of toy weapons before filling up your shopping cart with potentially dangerous gifts. The American Academy of Ophthalmology is urging parents to avoid buying toys with sharp or projectile parts, such as toy guns.

Also, be on the lookout for laser toys that do not have a Code of Federal Regulations compliance statement, as they may also cause eye injuries. When it comes to sports items, make sure children have protective eyewear with polycarbonate frames and lenses. These are shatterproof and offer much more protection.

December 4, 2017