The diagnosis and treatment of dry eyes, or “ocular surface disease”

Patients who experience dry, gritty, irritated eyes that may also water regularly may not be sure why this is happening. For many patients, this condition is known as dry eyes syndrome or ocular surface disease. With the help of Dr. Shelin Tkatch of MD Wellness Solutions in Surrey, British Columbia, you can obtain a proper diagnosis of your condition and discuss possible treatment options.

What is dry eyes?

Dry eyes, now named ocular surface disease, is a condition that can cause the eyes to feel irritated and gritty. Many patients also notice that vision fluctuates through the day, and the sensation of dryness distracts them from work and play.

 Dry eyes disease can be caused by inadequate tear production, often associated with auto-immune disorders,  or by an abnormal tear film. Tears are normally made up of an oil layer, a water layer and a mucin layer.  The top oil layer of tears is critical to eye comfort and when it is inadequate, dry eyes result. Meibomian glands located in the eye lids are responsible for production of the oil layer of tears, while lacrimal glands make the water component and goblet cells make the mucin component of tears. Most cases of dry eyes are caused by dysfunction or atrophy of the meibomian glands. Risk factors for meibomian gland dysfunction include screen time, contact lens wear, eye surgery, rosacea and aging. The amount of time we spend on computer and phone screens directly impacts our tear film production. Blink rate decreases when using screens, and blinking is critical to tear production.  Dr. Tkatch will take a history and complete a physical exam, including use of technology to evaluate your tear quantity, quality, eye sensitivity and structure and function of your meibomian glands. Once a proper diagnosis is established, patients can talk to us about the best treatment option for their needs. Dry eyes relief might be a phone call away!

What can be done about dry eyes?

Dry eyes relief for ocular surface disease varies depending on the severity of the condition and the cause. Dr. Tkatch may recommend home eye care products, omega-3 eye supplements, or prescription medications. Sometimes a change in contact lens choice is necessary and Dr. Tkatch will refer you to an eye specialist to review your contact lens prescription. If inflammation or ocular rosacea is present Dr. Tkatch may recommend  Intense Pulsed Light treatments of the eyelids. IPL treatments to help decrease eyelid inflammation and decrease the demodex mite population of the lids and lashes. Demodex mites are present on lids and lashes for all of us, but for those who wear lash extensions or suffer from rosacea, they can become an infestation that then causes meibomian gland dysfunction. If meibomian gland dysfunction is identified , Dr. Tkatch will recommend eye lid debridement and thermal meibomian gland expression. Heating and then expressing the meibomian glands is an effective method of returning them to healthy function. Energy based therapies such as Intense Pulsed Light and Radiofrequency are highly effective for those with dry eyes syndrome. These procedures are available at our practice and can really help patients who are struggling with dry eyes syndrome and are looking for results.

How do I learn more about dry eyes syndrome and dry eyes relief?

Ocular surface disease is a condition that affects millions of Canadians. If you are struggling with dry eyes and have trouble finding solutions and treatments that work, we welcome you to book a consultation visit with our board-certified surgeon, Dr. Shelin Tkatch, to discuss your options. She is located at 313-2626 Croydon Drive in Surrey, BC, and can be reached by calling (604) 385-3838. She can assist patients in and around the surrounding communities of Richmond, Vancouver, Delta, Langley, and White Rock.