Champaign Eye Professionals – OptiLight
Dry eye disease affects millions of people around the world. This condition isn’t just inconvenient; it can negatively impact your life in a variety of ways. Thankfully, treatment for dry eyes in Champaign, IL, is available at Champaign Eye Professionals. With the help of Optilight, our professionals can help restore clear and comfortable vision in persons who suffer from dry eye disease.
What is Dry Eye Disease?
Dry eye disease, sometimes called dry eye syndrome or simply “dry eyes,” is a chronic eye condition that is related to the underproduction of tears. Tears aren’t just for happy times or sad times. They play an essential role in keeping your eyes lubricated. When this lubrication is insufficient, the condition known as dry eye disease develops.
There are two kinds of dry eye disease, which are evaporative dry eye and aqueous tear deficiency.
With evaporative dry eye, an underlying disorder called meibomian gland dysfunction is most often the cause. This is a dysfunction where insufficient oil is produced for the tears.
Aqueous tear deficiency is a condition where there is a lack of aqueous layer in the tears. Essentially, enough tears are not being produced to sufficiently lubricate the eyes.
Optilight by Lumenis treats dry eye disease caused by meibomian gland dysfunction, which is the most common cause of this condition.
What Are Tears Made Of?
Tears are made of three layers which are the oily layer, the watery layer, and the mucous layer. All three work together to keep your eyes lubricated. When there is a problem with any of these three layers, dry eye disease can develop.
- The oily layer keeps tears from being evaporated too quickly.
- The watery layer delivers essential nutrients to the eyes and helps the tears spread over the eyes.
- The mucous layer helps to make the tears adhere to the surface of the eyes.
Is Meibomian Gland Dysfunction Genetic?
While meibomian gland dysfunction is not wholly genetic, there is a genetic component. What this means is that if you have meibomian gland dysfunction in your family, you may not automatically develop dry eye disease because there are other factors involved. It also means that a person with no genetic history of meibomian gland dysfunction can develop dry eye disease, again, because of the lifestyle factors that can contribute toward this condition.
The bottom line is that if you do happen to know that dry eye disease runs in your family, it’s wise to get testing done since there would be a higher risk of developing it. If meibomian gland dysfunction is present, your eye doctor in Champaign, IL, can offer some preventative tips to help keep your eyes—and eyesight—as healthy as possible.
Risk Factors For Meibomian Gland Dysfunction
In addition to genetics, there are other risk factors for meibomian gland dysfunction.
Astoundingly, your environment can actually cause cellular changes in your meibomian gland. Excessively dry environments alter the ratio of lipids to proteins in the meibum oil, which ultimately can lead to a depletion of the amount of working meibomian glands. Environmental stress can also alter the thickness of the meibum, making it thicker and causing the tear film to become weaker.
Certain prescription medications can impair the function of the meibomian glands. Examples include topical glaucoma medication, topical epinephrine, and isotretinoin, which is a commonly used acne medication that’s been linked to the development of meibomian gland atrophy.
As women age, estrogen balances change, and this often causes a decrease in certain fluids, including those involved in the production of tears. Older women, or those undergoing hormonal changes, are in a higher risk group for developing meibomian gland dysfunction.
What Are The Symptoms of Dry Eye Disease?
Some of the symptoms common to dry eye disease are:
- red, irritated eyes
- itchy eyes
- scratchy sensation, as if sand is in the eyes
- overly-watery eyes
- blurry vision
- chronic eye fatigue
- sensation of needing to blink often
- inability to successfully wear contact lenses
- stringy mucous in the corners of the eyes
Note that you may not have all of these symptoms, as they vary among individuals.
OptiLight Treatment in Champaign, IL
When you are treated for meibomian gland dysfunction with OptiLight in Champaign, IL, you will have about four separate sessions, each between two and four weeks apart. These sessions can be completed during your lunch hour, as they only last between ten and fifteen minutes.
Your optometrist will use OptiLight to deliver pulses of light below the eyes. This treatment increases tear break-up time, rids the area of excess Demodex mites and bacteria, decreases inflammation, and improves the function of the meibomian gland.
OptiLight is a non-invasive treatment and is applied on the skin below the eyes. The whole time, your eyes will be covered with protective shields. A thin layer of gel will be applied to the skin where the light will be shone.
As the light hits the skin, you may notice a slightly warm sensation. This is normal. The treatment is extremely gentle, and many patients find that the treatment is actually quite relaxing.
Once the treatment is complete, you can return to your usual activities, including the application of makeup, if desired.
After the 2nd or 3rd session, patients start to notice an improvement in their dry eye symptoms.
Preparing For Your OptiLight Appointment
Before your first OptiLight appointment, avoid:
- tanning beds for at least a month prior to the appointment
- the use of skin brightening creams, agents, or serums for at least a week prior to your appointment
- getting Botox for at least three months prior to the appointment
- taking doxycycline, isotretinoin or tetracycline in oral form for at least three months prior to the appointment
Your optometrist in Champaign, IL will let you know if there are any other important preparations you need to make before your first OptiLight treatment.
Don’t suffer from dry eye disease in Champaign, IL, because treatment is now available with OptiLight. Contact us today to learn more about this non-invasive, pain-free treatment for dry eye disease caused by meibomian gland dysfunction.