Dry Eye Clinic
“Dry eye is a multifactorial disease of the ocular surface characterized by a loss of homeostasis of the tear film, and accompanied by ocular symptoms, in which tear film instability and hyperosmolarity, ocular surface inflammation and damage, and neurosensory abnormalities play etiological roles.”
What is Dry Eye?
Dry eye is a common and chronic condition that occurs when insufficient tears are produced or these tears are not of ideal quality. Generally, a dysfunction of the tear film is what causes dry eye.
The three layers that make up our tear film are:
- The mucous layer helps spread the tears evenly across the eye’s front surface.
- The aqueous layer is the most significant part of the tear film and is made up of the water-like element of the tears. This layer helps to lubricate and protect the eyes from any debris.
- The lipid layer prevents the tears from evaporating too quickly. This layer is produced by the expression of the meibomian glands that run along the top and bottom eyelids.
Our optometrists will evaluate your tear film to determine the severity of your dry eye and the associated symptoms.
Common Dry Eye Symptoms
Symptoms of dry eye are dependent on the person. People may struggle with one or more symptoms and may experience them consistently or sporadically.
Some of the typical dry eye symptoms are:
- Itchy eyes
- Sore or tired eyes
- Grittiness or foreign body sensation
- Excessive watering
- Fluctuating vision
Our doctors have a particular interest in the treatment of dry eyes. We strive to provide an enjoyable experience that relieves everyone from stubborn dry eye symptoms. Without treatment, dry eye symptoms can often persist and potentially worsen.
What Causes Dry Eye?
Several factors can cause dry eye. We are dedicated to addressing all the contributing factors to your symptoms while we work together to create a customized treatment plan for your needs. Our goal is to achieve ocular homeostasis.
Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) is the most common cause of dry eye. Meibomian glands express oil each time we blink; without proper function, our tears evaporate more quickly. With our in-office testing, we can determine how efficiently your glands function and the quality of oil produced. Our Dry Eye Technicians will use this information to determine the best course of treatment specifically for you.
Other factors that contribute to MGD include:
Certain medications, such as antihistamines, antidepressants, acne medication, hormone replacement therapy, and oral contraceptives, can reduce the production of tears.
Underlying Medical Conditions
Certain medical conditions such as Rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, thyroid dysfunction, Lupus, Rosacea and Sjogren Syndrome can increase the risk of developing dry eye symptoms.
Typically, we blink about 15 times per minute. When concentrating, especially with digital screens, our blink rate decreases to 3 to 4 times per minute. This can lead to less oil being expressed from the meibomian glands and increased tear evaporation.
Diet & Hydration
Alcohol and caffeine are diuretics that can cause decreased tear production. Also, dairy and gluten irritate our gut health and can cause ocular inflammation. Diet alone is sometimes insufficient to provide enough Omega 3 fatty acids to improve tear quality and supplementation is required.
Climate & Environment
Dry, dusty, and windy environments can accelerate the evaporation of tears. It can also cause an overproduction of an eyelid mite (Demodex folliculorum). These cause inflammation and worsening of symptoms.
Dry Eye Treatments
Our patients receive comprehensive testing before treatment. With this testing, it allows us to establish the root cause and provide options yielding the best results. Several in-house or at-home treatment options can prove beneficial for managing dry eye symptoms. At Optical Studio, we provide both.
Whether you want to make the most out of other treatments you’re receiving, or you want to suppress your dry eye symptoms before they get too extreme. There are a variety of options you can do to support your eye health.
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)
Intense Pulsed Light, or IPL, helps with dry eye conditions by reducing inflammation, often caused by facial and/or ocular rosacea or telangiectasias, allowing the meibomian glands to function properly.
Radiofrequency, or RF, helps with dry eye conditions by tightening the skin around the eyes and warming up the oil to a more malleable consistency in the meibomian glands for improved expression with each blink.
Lipiflow Thermal Pulsation System
Lipiflow helps with dry eye conditions by removing the stagnant and thick oil from the meibomian glands through the action of thermal pulsations provided by the applicators inserted underneath the eyelids.
Dry Eye Clinic
Meet our Technician
TeyahDry Eye Technician & Medical Aesthetician
I grew up in Raymond and enjoyed playing many sports, especially basketball and rugby. After high school I continued my athletics and education at the University of Alberta, playing rugby and studying Kinesiology. Unfortunately, due to a few too many knee injuries I stopped playing sports, and took a break from school trying to figure out my true passion. In that time I found the Medical Aesthetician program in Calgary, and fell in love with the industry. I grew up with horrible skin, so I instantly was super passionate about skin and making people feel more comfortable in their own! After completing the course, with honours, I worked at a Medical Spa in Calgary, and loved every minute of helping people reach their skin goals. I moved back to Lethbridge area in September of 2022 and I started my journey here at Optical Studio. We have been merging eyes and aesthetics ever since, and I couldn’t be happier! Since then I have earned my Ocular Hygienist Certificate and attended Canada’s premiere Dry Eye Conference. When I’m not at work you can find me adventuring with my dog, spending time at the family farm or cooking something wild!