Dry Eye Symptoms & Treatment

what causes dry eye?

Lifestyle Eye Center is proud to offer specialized treatment for Dry Eye in the Walla Walla Valley. Our Dry Eye Specialist, Tara Evanger, OD, and staff, use the latest technology and research to treat dry eye symptoms most effectively. Contact our office today to find out how you can find relief from dry, itchy, eyes.

What is Dry Eye?

Most people have experienced some form of dry eye – which occurs when your tears are not providing adequate moisture to your eyes, causing discomfort. What most people don’t know is that the root cause of dry eye is most commonly because of inadequate oil production from glands in the eye lids called meibomian glands.

The meibomian glands produce the outermost layer of oil lubricant on the surface of our eyes. This oil layer is what keeps the tear film from evaporating so that our eyes are protected and comfortable.

Symptoms from dry eye are most often caused by Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD), which occurs when the glands are blocked or damaged and oil flow is blocked from the eyes. MGD is a chronic and progressive condition, and damage to the glands cannot be reversed. If left untreated, symptoms can worsen and may lead to vision loss.


Video from TearScience

Thankfully, if caught early, MGD can be treated, and further damage can be prevented. It is important that you have routine appointments with your Optometrist, who can detect MGD and begin a treatment plan.

Dry Eye Symptoms

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you might have Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD), and should talk to your Optometrist today.

Dry eye causes irritation and discomfort that can significantly effect your daily life. People with dry eye often experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Redness
  • Dryness
  • Excessive Tearing
  • Gritting or Burning Sensation
  • Foreign Body Sensation
  • Blurry Vision
  • Tired, Fatigued Eyes

Dry Eye Causes

The most common form of Dry Eye is clinically known as Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD). Dry Eye symptoms are most often caused by a dysfunction of the oil-producing glands in our eyelids, called meibomian glands.

A major cause of Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) is what is called “incomplete blinking”, or a low blink rate. Our bodies signal our eyes to blink as a mechanism to keep our eyes lubricated and moist. With each blink, oil is spread over the surface of the eyes creating a nice protective layer that keeps our tear film from evaporating. Many people are unaware that they are completing a “full blink”, or they are not blinking often enough. Overtime this can cause the oil to thicken, and the meibomian glands can clog and become damaged. This blockage of oil flow causes dry eye symptoms. Damage to your meibomian glands cannot be reversed, so it is important that MGD is treated as soon as possible.

Be aware of activities that are known for decreasing your blink rate: Reading, Watching TV, Driving, and other activities that require careful focus.

Other factors that cause dry eye are diet and unhealthy habits like smoking, dehydration, and recreational drug use.

MGD and Dry eye symptoms can also occur with the extended use of contact lenses, taking certain medications, and after eye surgery.

Dry Eye Treatment

Many treatments for dry eye only target the symptoms, rather than cause. Because MGD is a chronic and progressive condition, it is important that the root cause is treated as soon as possible. Do not ignore your dry eye symptoms – talk to your optometrist today.

There are several methods for treating MGD, and here at Lifestyle Eye Center we will work with you and your Optometrist to create a personalized treatment plan. We are proud to be serving the Walla Walla Valley as Dry Eye Specialist, and the only local clinic that offers LipiFlow – the latest technology proven to be the most effective treatment for MGD.

LipiFlow is the only FDA approved device for removing gland blockages and restoring gland function. The LipiFlow treatment applies heat and massage to the eyelids, clearing the blockage and restoring oil flow.

The procedure is painless and takes approximately 12 minutes. Patients can feel the heat and the gentle massage.

Do You have symptoms of Dry Eye and MGD?

Contact your doctor today to see if LipiFlow is right for you.