Do you suffer from Dry Eye Syndrome in the Largo, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, or Tampa Area?
More than 6.8% of the U.S. population— over 16 million people of all ages — suffer from Chronic Dry Eye Syndrome. It is estimated that less than half (45%) of those suffering from dry eye know it or have been properly diagnosed.
A comprehensive eye exam by a board-certified ophthalmologist at The Eye Institute of West Florida can reveal the stage and severity of your condition.
What is Dry Eye Syndrome?
Dry Eye Syndrome (DES), also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca, refers to the clinical signs and symptoms that occur when the surface of the eye is not nourished by a healthy tear film or layer of lubricating tears. This can occur when the quantity or quality of the tears is deficient.
A complex recipe of ingredients is responsible for maintaining the health of our ocular surface, our eyes’ comfort, and our clear vision. When the specific balance of these components is disturbed by any one of many predisposing factors, Dry Eye Syndrome can result.
If unrecognized by your eye care provider, or if left untreated, Dry Eye Syndrome can result in chronically irritating symptoms, increased risk for infection, and decreased quality of vision.
Symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome
Symptoms may vary for each person depending on the cause, severity, and stage of the disease.
Early Symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome can include:
- An irritating stinging, burning, or scratchy sensation
- A gritty or sandy sensation in your eyes
- Fluctuations in the quality of vision
- Eye “fatigue” with prolonged reading, computer or television use
- Excessive watering of the eyes with tears that don’t lubricate
- Sensitivity to light
- Discomfort in contact lenses
As Dry Eye Syndrome worsens, the associated symptoms may change. Patients may no longer notice the physical effects of dry eye, like burning, due to the subtle nerve damage that is a consequence of chronic dry eye syndrome. Previously watery eyes may become devoid of any tears at all. Fluctuating vision may give way to the consistently blurry vision that is not improved with changes in glasses or use of over the counter eye drops. Eyes may become persistently red or produce a mucous discharge. Recurrent scratches, erosions, or infections may also develop.
Think you may have dry eyes?
Make an appointment at (727) 581-8706.
Diagnosing Dry Eye Syndrome
A comprehensive eye exam can reveal the stage and severity of your condition. Our team reviews your entire medical history, including an assessment of other medical conditions and medications, as well as environmental contributors.
A variety of non-invasive tests may be utilized to assess the quality and quantity of your tears.
- Schirmer tear testing: quantifies the rate of tear production.
- Corneal staining: special dyes to assess the quality of tears and the condition of the ocular surface.
- “Tear Break-up Time”: measures the stability of the tear film.
- Tear Film Osmolarity: measures the osmolarity of tears to help in the diagnosis and treatment of dry eye syndrome.
- Laboratory tests may be used in more severe cases to look for underlying medical conditions that can cause chronically dry eyes.
It is estimated that approximately 55% of people who suffer from Dry Eye Syndrome have been misdiagnosed or are undiagnosed.
Treatment of Dry Eyes
Since the underlying causes of dry eye have often been present for many years, the treatment of dry eye syndrome is not an overnight process. Treatment plans are highly individualized and no two cases are alike. A long-term course of therapy is needed in most cases.
Treatment options may include:
- Artificial Tears and Lubricants
- Environmental Modification
- Anti-Inflammatory medications
- Eyelid Disease Management
- Tear Duct Plugs
- Nutritional Supplements
- Autologous Serum Drops
- Intense Pulse Light (IPL)
At The Eye Institute of West Florida, we take a comprehensive look at treatment to be sure you receive the individualized care you deserve.
Choosing your Tampa Bay Dry Eye Specialist
Relieve unnecessary discomfort or potential damage to your vision.
Allow a specialist at The Eye Institute of West Florida to diagnose and treat your dry eyes. Our team of board-certified and fellowship-trained ophthalmologists specialize in conditions that affect the cornea, including dry eyes.
Dr. Vasilios Diakonis and Dr. Steven Kane are available at our Largo, Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater offices. They can work in partnership with your current eye care provider, family doctor, and other medical specialists to provide you the highest level of treatment for this condition.
Call (727) 581-8706 for an appointment.