Lek. Katarzyna Molęda-Gładysz
What is it?
Nowadays, Dry Eye Syndrome (DES) is the most common chronic ophthalmic ailment among the patients. It is multifactorial, chronic and incurable disease of tears and the surface of the eye. Usually its course is gentle, and at the beginning it may even be asymptomatic. DES is also associated with long-term wear of contact lenses and underwent laser treatments of refractive surgery and cataract surgery.
What is DES all about?
The symptoms of the DES are: blurred vision, discomfort manifesting itself as dryness or feeling sand or foreign body under the eyelids, burning, itching and redness of the eyelid rims. Typical are also recurrent inflammations of the surface of the eye (often recognized as allergy), as well as of the rims of the eyelids in the form of sties and chalazia.
The DES occurs in two primary forms:
- the form associated with excessive desiccation of tears (tear film)
- the form associated with the disorder or insufficient secretion of tears.
The form associated with the excessive desiccation occurs in more than 70% of the known cases. The major cause of it is the dysfunction of sebaceous glands (Meibomian glands) located at the rim of the eyelids.
Treatment of the Dry Eye Syndrome
The basis for setting an appropriate therapy is a thorough diagnostics, determining the cause of the dry eye, as well as targeted and systematic treatments. There are two possible treatment options for the DES:
- in-home therapies - hygiene of the eyelids' rims (warming, massaging and washing of the rims of the eyelids) and application locally of prescribed moisturizers and anti-inflammatory medicines in the form of drops, gels and ointments, as well as, in some cases, also a general treatment
- therapeutic procedures performed in an outpatient dry eye clinic - warming of eyelids' rims with the use of Blephasteam glasses, squeezing out secretions with tweezers, probing Meibomian glands openings using Maskin technique, placing lacrimal plugs in lacrimal points (they stop the outflow of tears from the conjunctival sac), as well as diagnosis and treatment of demodex (demodicosis).
The purpose of the treatment is to preserve the comfort of life. Unfortunately, recommended hygiene treatment of the eyelids' rims may at the beginning cause problems. For this reason, it is necessary to attend further check-up visits in the dry eye clinic, which are needed to verify the effectiveness of the followed recommendations and to modify existing treatment, if there is a need to do so.