We talk to Kent Napier, expert optometrist at Visique Total Vision in Hamilton about Dry Eye Syndrome.

WHAT IS DRY EYE SYNDROME (DES)?

In med­ical speak, it’s a mul­ti­fac­to­ri­al dis­ease caused by long-term lack of suf­fi­cient lubri­ca­tion and mois­ture on the sur­face of the eye. This can be due to inflam­ma­tion, high tear film evap­o­ra­tion or low tear pro­duc­tion. In more basic lan­guage, it means all sorts of dif­fer­ent rea­sons could have con­tribut­ed to your tear ducts not work­ing prop­er­ly, or it could be some­thing else entire­ly mak­ing the sur­face of your eye very dry.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

Watery eyes can be a symp­tom of DES as your body over­com­pen­sates to com­bat the prob­lem. You may also expe­ri­ence dry, scratchy, or itchy eyes, blurred vision, a burn­ing sen­sa­tion or sen­si­tiv­i­ty to bright light, cold wind or air con­di­tion­ing. There might be some dis­charge or crust­ing around your eye­lids in the morn­ing too. It sounds triv­ial, but it can be real­ly unpleas­ant and utter­ly debil­i­tat­ing.

Dry eye syndrome, how to treat dry eye syndrome, eyesWHAT CAUSES DRY EYE SYNDROME?

DES can be part of the nat­u­ral age­ing process (espe­cial­ly dur­ing menopause), a side-effect of some med­ica­tions (includ­ing the oral con­tra­cep­tive), or the result of liv­ing in a dry or windy cli­mate. Peo­ple who have under­gone cataract surgery, laser eye treat­ment or wear con­tact lens­es some­times suf­fer with it too. If you have arthri­tis, asth­ma, gout, dia­betes, or if you are over 40 years old, you may also be prone to DES. It can also be symp­to­matic of some dis­eases includ­ing lupus, rheuma­toid arthri­tis, and Sjögren’s syn­drome.

WHAT’S THE BEST TREATMENT AVAILABLE?

At Visique, we have one of the few IPL machi­nes in the mid-North Island to treat DES. This has been a game chang­er for suf­fer­ers. Pre­vi­ous­ly, treat­ment could be slow and labo­ri­ous, and could take a long time to be effec­tive. This break­through equip­ment is rel­a­tive­ly new to our indus­try, and our patients have real­ly ben­e­fit­ed from the extreme­ly high suc­cess rate of IPL treat­ment.

Each ses­sion takes about 15 min­utes. A series of flash­es of light are applied to your low­er eye­lids and cheeks while you wear pro­tec­tive gog­gles. Although the flash­es are extreme­ly bright and feel warm on your skin, there is no pain or sig­nif­i­cant dis­com­fort. It won’t affect your abil­i­ty to dri­ve after the treat­ment. The fre­quen­cy of the treat­ments will be advised by your dry eye spe­cial­ist.

We also look at oth­er treat­ments such as nutri­tion, lubri­cants, pre­scrip­tion med­ica­tion and at home ther­a­py, depend­ing on your sit­u­a­tion.

WHAT ARE MY NEXT STEPS TO GET DIAGNOSED?

Make an appoint­ment with one of our spe­cial­ists at Visique Roto­tu­na, Visique Rose Optometrists or Visique Total Vision of free, com­pre­hen­sive clin­i­cal assess­ment of your eyes and the symp­toms you are expe­ri­enc­ing. Your spe­cial­ist will then deter­mine a tai­lored treat­ment plan for you.

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Visique Roto­tu­na: Roto­tu­na Shop­ping Cen­tre, Hor­sham Downs Rd, Roto­tu­na North, Hamil­ton 3210. rototunaoptometrists.co.nz

Visique Rose Optometrists: 38 Lake Rd, Frank­ton, Hamil­ton 3204. roseoptom.co.nz

Visique Total Vision: 443 Grey St, Hamil­ton East, Hamil­ton 3216. totalvision.co.nz

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