What are the symptoms of dry eye?

Dry eye is a broad term describing a range of eye symptoms which include, redness, dryness, scratchiness, blurred vision, discomfort with contact lenses and watery eyes.

What causes dry eye?

While much research has been done and much more still ongoing, a consensus shows a relationship between Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) and Dry Eye. Meibomian glands are the lipid and mucin secreting part of the eye lid, these glands can be blocked or under-function leading to a drop in the amount of lipid and mucin in the tear which is crucial to stop the water in the tear from evaporating and creating the symptoms of dry eye.

What are the contributing factors?

While contributing factors are numerous and varied, stand out contributing factors are, eye strain from above recommended screen use, excessive airplane travel, lack of humidifiers at home, general lack of eye lid health and on occasion LASIK surgery can contribute towards this occurrence.

How is it treated?

Conventional and historic treatment involves regular application of heat pads and eye drops over the counter. While these are much simpler treatment, it places the burden of compliance with this daily treatment back on the patient with widely varying results.

Depending on the diagnostics that we perform there are different treatments of dry eye symptoms. By understanding the water-lipid-mucin ratio of your tears we can direct your treatment appropriately, from punctal plug insertion to treat over watery eyes to application of IPL to address the MGD causing your symptoms.

How does IPL work?

The IPL that is used at The Harley Street Eye Centre works in 2 ways, first, it applies heat to unblock blocked glands and secondly, the specific light used serves to stimulate the non-functioning or under-functioning glands to kick start again.

2 application are given over 2 weeks and symptom relief will gradually subside and last for between 18 months and 2 years. A 3rd top up is given at month 3 if needed depending on severity.

What will I experience?

We offer this treatment as a package, 2 consultations, 1 before we start and 1 after 6 months to track progress, 3 IPL applications (package includes 2 and the 3rd is free of charge if needed) before and after testing to take a base line at the start and a measurable quantifiable method to track patient objective patient improvement.

The effectiveness of the treatment is dependant of a specific protocol used: Your doctor will begin your IPL treatment by placing shields over the eyes to protect them from the light pulses.

Then a thin layer of cooling gel is applied to the treatment area and will deliver the pulses of light to the area underneath the lower lashes, this usually take approximately 10-15 minutes.

During the treatment you will feel a slight warm sensation, but no pain is involved, There are cases where patients experience some discomfort and redness in the treated areas. However typically this disappears within a couple of hours, with most patients resume their daily routine the very same day.