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.
WHAT 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.
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