Dry Eye Exam in Houston, TX
A common condition that affects the eyes is dry eye syndrome. If you have this condition or you’re experiencing its symptoms, you will need to undergo a diagnosis before treatment. Dry eye exam is a common diagnostic exam for dry eye syndrome.
Continue reading to learn more about dry eye syndrome and dry eye exams in Houston, Tx.
Dry Eye Syndrome
Dry eye syndrome or disease is a condition that occurs when you don’t have enough tears to provide adequate lubrication for your eyes. Dry eye syndrome may occur if you don't produce enough tears or when your tears evaporate too quickly.
Dry eyes can lead to inflammation or damage of the eye's surface, itching, burning, stinging or scratchy sensation, watering or blurred vision, sensitivity to light, and eye redness.
Types of Dry Eye Disease
There are different types of dry eye syndrome, and they are caused by a variety of problems that disrupt the healthy tear film. The tear film has three layers which are the fatty oils, aqueous fluid, and mucus. These three layers help to keep your eyes lubricated, smooth and clear. If there’s any problem with any of these three layers, it can lead to dry eye syndrome.
The different types of dry eye disease include:
Aqueous deficient dry eye
This is when your eyes are unable to produce sufficient tears. The lacrimal glands are the tear glands located above each of your eyeballs. The lacrimal glands supply tear fluid that's wiped across the surface of your eye each time you blink. The tear fluid or tears produced by the lacrimal gland are called the aqueous tears and they make up the middle, watery layer of your tear film.
Problems with the lacrimal gland can prevent it from producing sufficient aqueous tears. Some autoimmune conditions can cause the lacrimal gland to be inflamed, thereby preventing it from producing sufficient aqueous tears.
Evaporative dry eye
This is a condition whereby your tears evaporate too quickly. Meibomian gland dysfunction is the most common cause of this condition. The small glands on the edge of your eyelids are called the meibomian glands. These oil glands produce oil, which is an important part of tears.
They produce oil for the outer layer of the tear film that keeps tears from drying up or evaporating too quickly. A problem with the meibomian gland can make it not work properly. Hence, it can produce oil to keep the tears from drying up too quickly. This causes tears to dry up or evaporate too quickly.
Mixed dry eye
This is aqueous tear deficiency and tear instability. It is the combination of aqueous deficient dry eye and evaporative dry eye. It is a condition whereby your eyes don’t produce enough tears, and your tears evaporate too quickly.
How common is dry eye?
Dry eye syndrome is a common condition that usually occurs in older people. It affects millions of people around the world, with over 16 million Americans developing dry eyes. Dry eye is more common in Asia than in North America and Europe.
Women, people who are older than 50 years old, who wear contact lenses, who usually use computers, and people with low vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids are at higher risk of developing dry eye syndrome.
Who should have a Dry Eye test?
You should have a dry eye test if you’re experiencing symptoms of dry eyes, which include:
- Burning or stinging sensation in your eyes
- Scratchy feeling in your eyes
- Mucus secretion in or around your eyes
- Eye redness
- Watery eyes due to irritation of the eyes
- Sensitivity to light
- Blurred or changed vision.
- Difficulty driving at night
- Difficulty wearing contact lenses
You should visit a reputable eye clinic to get a dry eye test if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms.
What to Expect at a Dry Eye Exam in Houston, TX
At your appointment, your eye doctor will start by looking at your eyes and asking you some questions about your symptoms. Your eye doctor will also ask about your medical history and previous treatments. Inform your doctor about any medications and supplements that you’re taking.
Your eye doctor will look carefully at your eyes using bright light and special instruments. The surface of your eyes will be carefully examined. You will be asked to blink to check for any abnormality.
Next, your eye doctor will conduct various dry eye tests to measure the volume of your tears, the quality of your tears, and how long it takes for your tears to dry up.
Diagnosis and Dry Eye Tests at Pupila Family Eye & Ear Care
At Pupila Family Eye & Ear Care, we conducted comprehensive diagnosis to have a full understanding of the nature of your eye condition before developing a suitable treatment plan. We understand that the eyes are very delicate. Hence, we conduct comprehensive eye tests to ensure that we have a full picture of your eye health.
We also conduct a comprehensive review of your medical history to know the likely cause of your condition.
You will be asked various questions about your symptoms and the previous treatments you’ve had.
You may be asked if you have a history of eye diseases, surgeries, allergies, or medical conditions that may affect your eyes.
You may be asked if you smoke or if you’re usually around people who smoke.
You may be asked about how often you wash your face and eyelids and the products you use.
You will also need to provide a list of the medications that you’re currently taking and have recently taken.
All these will help us have a clear understanding of your eye health and problems.
Eye Exam in Houston, TX
Our eye doctor will carefully and thoroughly check your vision to understand the nature of your eye problem and to also provide you with an accurate treatment plan. We also assess your visual acuity both with and without corrective lenses.
We will test for dry eyes and certain eye diseases using various eye tests. We will look for signs of dry eye disease. With these tests, we are able to gather sufficient information to understand your eye health and the problems with your eyes. Finally, we will develop a suitable treatment plan and issue a prescription that will help improve your eye health and vision.
Tests that Diagnose Dry Eye in Houston, TX
A single test is not enough to diagnose dry eye disease. A series of eye tests are usually conducted to diagnose dry eye.
The tests that are usually conducted for the diagnosis of dry eye include:
The Schirmer test
This test is done to check your tear production. During the test, a tiny piece of paper is placed along the edge of your eyelid and left in place for several minutes. When your eye produces tears, it wets the paper. After several minutes, your doctor will take the paper and measure those tears by looking at how wet the paper is. If it takes too long for the paper to get wet, it means that your tear production is low.
Slit lamp exam
This test is used to check the amount of tears produced by your eyes. During the test, your doctor will shine a light into each of your eyes and then examine your eyes and eyelids using a microscope.
This test is used to check how quickly your tears are evaporating and also to check the surface condition of your eyes for any damage. During the test, special eye drops with dye in them will be placed in your eyes. The dye in the eye drops allows your doctor to see how fast your tears are drying up and also shows if you have any damage to the surface of your eye.
Tear breakup time (TBUT) test
This test is also used to check how quickly your tears dry up. Your doctor puts dye into your eye and then uses a microscope to see how long your tear film remains stable. The amount of time between your last blink and when the first dry area shows up on your cornea is measured.
Holistic Treatment Options for Dry Eyes in Houston, TX
Treatment of dry eyes is aimed at improving your symptoms and soothing your eyes, improving your eyesight, and avoiding damage to the surface of your eyes.
Some treatments focus on treating the underlying cause. Others focus on improving your tear production and stopping your tears from drying up too quickly.
A single treatment may not work. Hence, you may need to try multiple treatments to find the one that works best for you.
There are various holistic treatment options for dry eyes. These include:
If your symptoms are mild, your doctor may recommend that you start with home remedies.
Home remedies for dry eye include:
Avoid environmental triggers
Avoid anything that can make your symptoms flare up. Things that could trigger your symptoms include smoking cigarettes, air vents blowing directly toward your face, wind, and allergens. You should avoid these triggers and safeguard your eyes by wearing sunglasses when outdoors.
Use a humidifier
If your home has very low humidity levels, it can make your dry eye symptoms worse. Using a humidifier can help improve dry eyes.
Place a warm compress over your eyes.
Placing a heat mask for eyes on your eyes for about 10 minutes can help ease your symptoms. It can also help your meibomian glands to produce more oil for your tears.
Rest your eyes
Using a computer for long hours can affect your eyes. Take frequent breaks when using a computer. Blink as often as possible when staring at computer screens to help with tear production.
Take vitamin B and omega-3 fatty acid supplements.
Vitamin B and omega-3 fatty acid deficiencies can increase your risk of developing dry eye syndrome. If you have deficiencies in these nutrients, you should get these supplements from a pharmacy, as they can help improve tear production. Consult with your doctor first before taking these supplements.
Therapeutic Contact Lenses
Therapeutic contact lenses can help improve dry eyes, protecting and lubricating your eye surface. Lenses are available in several forms.
Soft bandage lenses
These lenses protect the eyes and help heal any damage to the cornea.
Rigid scleral lenses
These lenses come into contact with the white part of the eyes. They help to protect and lubricate the eyes. They also help to correct vision.
Medical Treatments for Dry Eyes in Houston, TX
Medications used for the treatment of dry eyes include:
Medications to reduce eyelid inflammation
Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to help reduce eyelid inflammation. Antibiotics for dry eyes are usually available as oral medications. Some are available as eye drops or ointments.
There are many different types of eye drops for dry eyes. These include:
These eye drops help to lubricate and soothe the eyes temporarily. Some contain oil that helps to prevent tear evaporation.
Topical cyclosporine A
These eye drops are used to treat inflammation in the tear glands. It is to be used daily until you see improvements. Your doctor or pharmacist will direct you on how to use it.
Lifitegrast eye drops
These eye drops are also used to treat inflammation in your tear glands.
Eye drops made from your own blood (autologous blood serum drops)
If you have severe dry eye symptoms that don't respond to other treatments, your doctor may recommend eye drops made from your own blood. A sample of your blood is collected and processed to remove the red blood cells. The red blood cells are then mixed with a salt solution.
Cholinergics (pilocarpine, cevimeline) can help increase tear production in your eyes. They are available as pills, gels, or eye drops.
Varenicline (Tyrvaya) nasal spray
This medication is delivered via a nasal spray to increase basal tear production.
If home remedies and medications don’t work, your doctor may recommend medical procedures such as:
This procedure helps to keep tears from leaving your eyes. During the procedure, a plug will be inserted into the tear drain in your lower eyelid. This allows more tears to remain in your eyes. A temporary punctal occlusion will first be conducted to see if your dry eye improves. If it improves, then a permanent punctal occlusion will be conducted.
Thermal pulsation therapy
This procedure is used to treat an unstable tear film due to meibomian gland dysfunction. Your eyelids will be gently massaged and warmed to help your meibomian glands produce oil.
Intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy
Pulses of light are used to melt the thick substances blocking your meibomian glands to open up your meibomian glands so oil can flow freely through them.
Does dry eye go away?
Depending on the cause, dry eye can go away on its own or may require treatment. It is advised to visit an eye doctor to check your eyes if you’re experiencing symptoms of dry eyes.
What is the cost of dry eye treatment?
The cost of dry eye treatment depends on various factors. The specific kind of treatments you’re having, the expertise of the provider, and other associated costs will determine the total cost of dry eye treatment. You can expect the cost of your treatment to be anywhere from $800 to $2,000 or more.
Some dry eye treatments may be covered by insurance, which can help reduce the cost of your treatment.
How painful is dry eye?
Dry eye is not typically painful, but it can be uncomfortable.
Are eye drops for dry eyes safe?
Most eye drops for dry eyes are safe. Consult with your eye doctor first before using eye drops.
What is the last stage of dry eye?
The last stage is the most severe stage. In this stage, your symptoms become worse. You may experience inflammation of the eye surface and increased eye redness and dryness. Also, the communication between the tear-producing glands and the ocular surface will be severely disrupted.
Pupila Family Eye & Ear Care: Best Place to get Dry Eye Exam in Houston, Tx
If you’re located in Houston and you’re experiencing symptoms of dry eyes, we encourage you to get a dry eye exam at Pupila Family Eye & Ear Care.
Pupila Family Eye & Ear Care is a reputable clinic in Houston where you can get diagnostic and therapeutic treatments for eye problems. Whatever problems that you’re having with your eyes, we can help find a lasting solution.
We conduct various eye exams to understand your eye health and issues with your eyes. We utilize specialized equipment and a carefully planned procedure to have a comprehensive understanding of the status of your eyes and then develop a suitable treatment plan for you.
Contact us today or Book an Appointment for your dry eye exam in Houston, Tx.