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Dry Eye Center

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Learn about Dry Eye and Treatment Options

As Dry Eye experts, we offer specialized attention through our Dry Eye Center. We understand your frustration with the limitations of traditional therapies and are committed to bringing you the best technology available to treat this uncomfortable disease – so that you can enjoy the greatest possible relief.

We can determine the cause of your symptoms and apply therapy appropriate to your specific needs that may make your daily discomfort a thing of the past.

What is Dry Eye?

Dry Eye Book

View or Download our Guide to Dry Eye

Dry eye is a complex, multifactorial disease process that affects the eye’s ability to produce healthy lubrication for the ocular surface. Dry Eye is a long-term chronic disease that takes years to develop and may worsen if left untreated.

Dry eye is a complex, multifactorial disease process that affects the eye’s ability to produce healthy lubrication for the ocular surface.

Tears are necessary for maintaining the health of the front surface of the eye and for providing clear vision. Dry eye is a common and often chronic problem, particularly in older adults.

With each blink of the eyelids, tears spread across the front surface of the eye, known as the cornea. Tears provide lubrication, reduce the risk of eye infection, wash away foreign matter in the eye and keep the surface of the eyes smooth and clear. Excess tears in the eyes flow into small drainage ducts in the inner corners of the eyelids, which drain into the back of the nose.

Dry eyes can occur when tear production and drainage is not in balance. Tears are a mixture of different ingredients, but primarily oil and water. If either ingredient is not present in appropriate amounts, we experience symptoms of dryness.

People with dry eyes either do not produce enough tears or their tears are of a poor quality.

Inadequate amount of tears. Tears are produced by several glands in and around the eyelids. Tear production tends to diminish with age or as a side effect of certain medicines. Environmental conditions, such as wind and dry climates, can also decrease tear volume due to increased evaporation. When the normal amount of tear production decreases or tears evaporate too quickly from the eyes, symptoms of dry eye can develop.

Poor quality of tears. Tears are made up of three layers: oil, water and mucus. Each component protects and nourishes the front surface of the eye. A smooth oil layer helps prevent evaporation of the water layer, while the mucin layer spreads the tears evenly over the surface of the eye. If the tears evaporate too quickly or do not spread evenly over the cornea due to deficiencies with any of the three tear layers, dry eye symptoms can develop.

Lipid (oil) layer: lubricates and prevents evaporation.
Aqueous (water) layer: nourishes and protects the cornea
Mucin layer: adheres tears to the eye
Meibomian glands: create the lipil (oil) layer of the tear film, a blockage can lead to evaporative dry eye

 

What are the symptoms of Dry Eye?

Dry eye is something that is not “cured” with artificial tears. Artificial tears are generally a component of treatment, however, they do not impact the underlying cause of dryness.
Dry eye is rarely cured permanently, ongoing management is necessary.

If you suffer from any of these symptoms from time to time you may benefit from a visit to our Dry Eye Clinic.

  • Dryness
  • Discomfort and irritation
  • Grittiness or feeling of a foreign body in the eye
  • Burning or stinging sensation
  • Tearing
  • Redness
  • Discharge
  • Tiredness
  • Itching
  • Vision disturbance
  • Sensitivity to light

 

There are two kinds of Dry Eye?

Evaporative Dry Eye

Evaporative Dry Eye accounts for 86% of all dry eye cases is caused by blockages in the Meibomian glands located in your eyelids

This condition of obstructed glands is known as Meibomian Gland Dysfunction(MGD). These glands are responsible for creating the lipid(oli) layer of tears. When the glands aren’t working as they should, you don’t have enough tear film oil.

Your tears- which lubricate your eyes and keep them comfortable-evaporate too quickly. An insufficient oil layer can cause your tears to evaporate 4-16 times faster.

Aqueous Deficient Dry Eye

Aqueous Deficient Dry Eye occurs when the lacrimal glands do not create a sufficient amount of aqueous (water) to keep the eyes moist.

How do we determine if you are suffering from Dry Eye?

In our Dry Eye Clinic we will conduct a series of evaluations and determine the likely causes of your Dry Eye Symptoms. LipiView takes extremely detailed images of your eye’s tear film.

The tear film can be clearly seen as an array of colors that are  reflected when a light source is directed towards the front surface of the eye. Readings are instantly calculated and displayed on the LipiView monitor.

Normal Vs. MGD Diagram

What causes Dry Eye?

Dry eyes can develop for many reasons, including:

AGE. Dry eyes are a part of the natural aging process. The majority of people over age 65 experience
some symptoms of dry eyes.GENDER. Women are more likely to develop dry eyes due to hormonal changes caused by pregnancy, the use of oral contraceptives and menopause.

MEDICATIONS. Certain medicines, including antihistamines, decongestants, blood pressure medications and antidepressants, can reduce tear production.

MEDICAL  CONDITIONS. People with rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and thyroid problems are more
likely to have symptoms of dry eyes. Also, problems with inflammation of the eyelids (blepharitis),  inflammation of the surfaces of the eye, or the inward or outward turning of eyelids can cause dry eyes to develop.

ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS. Exposure to smoke, wind and dry climates can increase tear evaporation resulting in dry eye symptoms. Failure to blink regularly, such as when staring at a  computer screen for long periods of time, can also contribute to drying of the eyes.

OTHER FACTORS. Long-term use of contact lenses can be a factor in the development of dry eyes.
Certain eye surgeries can contribute to dryness.

We have a variety of treatments available for you here at our Dry Eye Clinic.

    • Therapy
    • Blinking Instructions
    • Drops and Medications
    • Treatments
      • BlephEx ®… The first and Only Doctor Eyelid Cleaning Procedure to help Maintain Clean and Healthy Lids.
      • LipiFlow Thermal Pulsation System is a significant technological shift managing vaporative dry eye. Applying a combination of directed heat and pulsatile pressure, many find a single treatment effective in relieving the blockage of their Miebomian glands.
      • Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) treatment is light applied to the skin to treat inflammation by stimulating the body’s natural healing process.

Where We Are

2800 3rd St.
Rapid City, SD 57701
605-341-2000