Dry eyes or dry eye syndrome (DES) is an ongoing condition that treatments may be unable to cure. But the symptoms of dry eye—including dryness, scratchiness and burning—can usually be successfully managed. Your optometrist may recommend artificial tears, which are lubricating eyedrops that may alleviate the dry, scratching feeling and foreign body sensation of dry eye. Prescription eye drops for dry eye go one step further: they help increase your tear production. If you wear contact lenses, be aware that many artificial tears cannot be used during contact lens wear. You may need to remove your lenses before using the drops. Wait 15 minutes or longer (check the label) before reinserting them. For mild dry eye, contact lens rewetting drops may be sufficient to make your eyes feel better, but the effect is usually only temporary. Switching to another lens brand could also help. Check the label, but better yet, check with your doctor before buying any over-the-counter eye drops. Your eye doctor will know which formulas are effective and long-lasting and which are not, as well as which eye drops will work with your contact lenses. To reduce the effects of sun, wind and dust on dry eyes, wear sunglasses when outdoors. Wraparound styles offer the best protection. Indoors, an air cleaner can filter out dust and other particles from the air, while a humidifier adds moisture to air that’s too dry because of air conditioning or heating. For more significant cases of dry eye, your eye doctor may recommend punctal plugs. These tiny devices are inserted in ducts in your lids to slow the drainage of tears away from your eyes, thereby keeping your eyes more moist. Doctors sometimes recommend special nutritional supplements containing certain essential fatty acids to decrease dry eye symptoms. Drinking more water may also relieve symptoms. If medications are the cause of dry eyes, discontinuing the drug generally resolves the problem. But in this case, the benefits of the drug must be weighed against the side effect of dry eyes. Sometimes switching to a different type of medication alleviates the dry eye symptoms while keeping the needed treatment. In any case, never switch or discontinue your medications without consulting with your doctor first. Treating any underlying eyelid disease, such as blepharitis, helps as well. This may call for antibiotic or steroid drops, plus frequent eyelid scrubs with an antibacterial shampoo. If you are considering LASIK, be aware that dry eyes may disqualify you for the surgery, at least until your dry eye condition is successfully treated. Dry eyes increase your risk for poor healing after LASIK, so most surgeons will want to treat the dry eyes first, to ensure a good LASIK outcome. This goes for other types of vision correction surgery, as well.
Our doctors will evaluate your eyes and discuss your visual goals to help determine if you are an appropriate candidate for LASIK, PRK or Cataract Refractive Technology. If you have appropriate goals and there are no contraindications for the procedure, we will recommend a pre-operative evaluation to determine suitability for refractive surgery. This evaluation includes: • Counseling on refractive surgery options • Eye dominancy testing • Review of eye history and refractive stability • Medical evaluation of the cornea and eye • Current Refraction Status If after the pre-operative evaluation, the decision is made to proceed with surgery, your information will be forwarded to the surgeon, a pre surgery consult with a surgeon will be scheduled. Post-operative management will be provided by our doctors, and includes multiple visits over a period from the date of surgery to include medical evaluation and management of the vision and corneal healing. Evaluation of any additional needs such as reading glasses, sunglasses, or enhancement laser procedures is also included.
When to Seek Medical Care In most cases, if you have continuing symptoms of pain, visual disturbance, or bleeding, you should go to an ophthalmologist (a medical doctor who specializes in eye care and surgery). In general, if you are not sure if you have a serious eye injury, call your ophthalmologist for advice. Calling your ophthalmologist may be helpful in the following circumstances: Chemical exposures: If you are not sure if the exposure is potentially serious, you have washed out your eye, and you have few symptoms, then your ophthalmologist may be able to help you decide whether or not you should be seen immediately. Subconjunctival hemorrhage: If you are not sure that you have this condition, your ophthalmologist may be able to help with the diagnosis. This condition does not require immediate medical attention. Continuing pain and decreased vision after an eye injury can be warning signs that require prompt medical attention. If you have an ophthalmologist, he or she may be able to take care of you in the office. Otherwise, go to a hospital’s emergency department. The following conditions should be seen promptly by an ophthalmologist or in the emergency department: Chemical exposures: If the substance was known to be caustic, immediate medical evaluation by either an ophthalmologist or in the emergency department is needed, regardless of symptoms. Acids and alkalis are the worst and require immediate attention. If the substance is not dangerous, such as soap or suntan lotion, a visit to the emergency department is not necessary, but a visit to the ophthalmologist’s office may be helpful to alleviate any remaining symptoms. When in doubt, seek medical attention. Lacerations: Cuts that affect the eyelid margins (where the eyelashes are) or the eyeball itself need immediate medical attention. Foreign bodies that are not removed with gentle washing should be evaluated by an ophthalmologist. Solar retinopathy: Evaluation by an ophthalmologist is necessary. This is one condition where there is little that can be done in the emergency department.
A visual field test measures how much ‘side’ vision you have. It is a straightforward test, painless, and does not involve eye drops. Essentially lights are flashed on, and you have to press a button whenever you see the light. Your head is kept still and you have to place your chin on a chin rest. The lights are bright or dim at different stages of the test. Some of the flashes are purely to check you are concentrating. Each eye is tested separately and the entire test takes 15-45 minutes. Your optometrist may ask only for a driving licence visual field test, which takes 5-10 minutes. If you have just asked for a driving test or the clinic doctor advised you have one, you will be informed of the result by the clinic doctor, in writing, in a few weeks. Normally the test is carried out by a computerised machine, called a Humphrey. Occasionally the manual test has to be used, a Goldman. For each test you have to look at a central point then press a buzzer each time you see the light.
Glaucoma is the generalized name for a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve of the eye, preventing the eye from sending accurate visual information to the brain. Glaucoma tests are designed to test your eyes for one of the key symptoms of the disease—increased eye pressure—however only a comprehensive eye exam can reveal whether or not you have glaucoma. Increased pressure inside the eye is often a key indicator of glaucoma, though not exclusively so. Eye doctors can use a number of tests for eye pressure, but will, by default, check for signs of glaucoma as part of a detailed examination of the retina—the light sensitive area at the back of the eye responsible for processing images. How Does Glaucoma Testing Work? A glaucoma test is usually part of a routine eye exam. Both types of glaucoma tests measure internal pressure of the eye. One glaucoma test involves measuring what happens when a puff of air is blown across the surface of the eye. (A puff test) Another test uses a special device (in conjunction with eye-numbing drops) to “touch” the surface of the eye to measure eye pressure. While increased eye pressure is a key indicator of the disease, it does not necessarily mean you have a glaucoma diagnosis. In fact, the only way to detect glaucoma is to have a detailed, comprehensive eye exam that often includes dilation of the pupils. So “true” glaucoma testing actually involves examining the retina and optic nerve at the back of the eye for signs of the disease.