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Heat Therapy for Dry Eye Syndrome

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Heat Therapy for Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry eye syndrome is a common condition that occurs for a variety of reasons. The leading cause of dry eye is meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), which affects the essential oil layer of the eye’s tear film and causes the tears to evaporate too quickly. Mild to moderate cases of dry eye causes discomfort, while severe dry eye can result in permanent damage and scarring of the cornea.

More than 85% of patients who visit their eye doctor due to dry eye symptoms are diagnosed with meibomian gland dysfunction. MGD is chronic and the symptoms generally worsen when left untreated.

Fortunately, a certain procedure, called meibomian gland expression, uses heat to unblock glands in the eyelids to relieve the itchy, gritty feeling caused by MGD.

What Is Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD)?

The meibomian glands are located along the outer edges of your upper and lower eyelids, where they produce complex oily fluid that stabilizes the tear film and slows the evaporation of your tears. This is an essential function, as tears ensure your cornea lubricated for comfortable and clear vision.

When the meibomian glands don’t function properly or are blocked, the oil layer of your tear film isn’t thick enough to keep your eyes moist. In addition to the rapid evaporation of tears, this creates greater friction between the cornea and eyelids, resulting in eye irritation.

What Is Meibomian Gland Expression?

Just like the pores in our skin, the tiny meibomian glands can be blocked with thickened oil residue. Meibomian gland expression is a procedure that unblocks the gland by squeezing out a tiny amount of oil from the glands. This also allows your eye doctor to determine how to best open the glands permanently.

The process is not only a method for diagnosing MGD, but also a therapy that can remove the blockage and reduce MGD symptoms.

How Does It Work?

Meibomian gland expression involves gently expressing and squeezing out the oils of the glands by applying pressure to the eyelids.

The eye doctor uses tiny forceps or paddle-like instruments to compress the lower and upper eyelids. The doctor may also apply a warm compress before the expression of the gland for the smooth secretion of the hardened oils that clog the glands.

Depending on the severity of your MGD, your doctor may suggest other types of heat therapies or treatment.

Other Heat Therapies for Dry Eye

Intense Pulsed Light

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) heats the skin around the eye area and dislodges the oil build-up. This treatment targets the source directly – the blood vessels that surround the glands. Once this occurs, the glands can once again secrete the oils naturally, resuming their moisturizing effects.

LipiFlow

LipiFlow is a device that applies warm and gentle pressure directly to the meibomian glands, liquefying the blockage. Your eye doctor will then be able to remove the blockage from the area, flushing out any dead cells, leaving your glands clear and comfortable.

The Bruder Mask

The Bruder Mask is a heated compress that sits over your eyes, almost like a large, soft beauty mask. The mask is made up of many tiny beads which, when warmed, release heat. This heat gently opens the oil glands and helps restore the oil secretion back into the eyes.

Meibomian gland expression promotes healthy secretion of oil to the eyes’ surface and provides excellent long-term results. All successful meibomian gland expression treatments decrease dry eye symptoms by increasing the glands’ quality of oil production. Usually, a single session is sufficient, but many people benefit from regular treatments.

If not treated early and properly, meibomian gland dysfunction can cause severe damage to your eyes and vision. Contact our optometric team to learn more about meibomian gland expression and attain the dry eye relief you seek.

Our practice serves patients from Round Rock, TX, Pflugerville, Cedar Park, and Georgetown, Texas and surrounding communities.
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Punctal Plugs

If you suffer from dry, burning, irritated or itchy eyes, you may have dry eye syndrome. Dry eye syndrome is a condition where your eyes either don’t produce enough tears or produce low-quality tears that can’t keep your eyes adequately hydrated. Sometimes the meibomian glands, which produce the oily layer of your tears, found inside your eyelid don’t function properly or are blocked, causing your tears to dry out.

If your tear ducts are blocked, your eye doctor may suggest punctal plugs.

What Are Punctal Plugs?

Punctal plugs are small devices that are inserted into the tear ducts — the puncta — of the eyelids. Another type of plug is inserted into the tear duct, the canaliculus, at a deeper level.

Puncta are small openings in your eyes that drain tears. The plug, which is about the size of a grain of rice, prevents fluid from flowing from the eyes. This ensures that the maximum amount of tears remain on the eyes at all times, resulting in less itching, burning, and redness.

Two Types of Punctal Plugs

Temporary/dissolving plugs

Temporary/dissolving plugs are made of a material, such as collagen, that the body absorbs over time. These plugs can last anywhere from a few days to several months in the eye. After refractive surgery, such as LASIK, temporary plugs are frequently used to keep the eye moist. They can also be used to test out punctal plugs to see if they provide dry eye relief.

Semi-permanent plugs

Semi-permanent plugs are composed of medical plastic, such as silicone or acrylic, that lasts longer. These plugs are made to stay in the eye for years. Your eye doctor can remove them, if necessary.

Another sort of semi-permanent punctal plug is inserted in the canaliculus, which is a deeper section of the tear duct. Once in the eye, these plugs are completely invisible.

How Are Punctal Plugs Inserted?

Your eye doctor will first inspect your eye to determine the optimum type and size of plug for your eyes.

Anesthesia may be used to numb your tear ducts. However, in some cases, you may not need to have your eyes numbed. As the punctal plug is inserted into your eyelid, you may feel some pressure.

After the plugs are inserted, you should be able to resume your normal activities at once.

When and How are Punctal Plugs Removed?

How to remove the plugs and when will depend on which plugs are inserted.

To remove silicon plugs from the tear ducts, your eye doctor will use forceps to gently pull the plugs out. Another option for removing these plugs is to use a saltwater solution to flush them out. The plugs are forced out of the tear ducts and into the nose or throat during this procedure.

Surgery is usually required to remove plugs that are deeper in the tear duct (in the canaliculus).

For most people, punctal plugs don’t cause any problems. However, if you have any eye pain, itchiness, or fear you have an infection, contact your eye doctor right away. The eye doctor will examine your eyes and remove the plugs if necessary.

Are Punctal Plugs for You?

Consult your eye doctor if artificial tears or other eye drops have failed to relieve your dry eye symptoms. If blocked tear glands are the culprit, your doctor might advise you to try punctal plugs. For more information regarding punctal plugs contact Aspire Vision Care today!

Our practice serves patients from Round Rock, TX, Pflugerville, Cedar Park, and Georgetown, Texas and surrounding communities.
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What is MiBo Thermoflo?

Nearly millions of people around the globe are suffering from chronic dry eye syndrome—and the number is only growing.

One of the most common complaints we get from patients is dry eye syndrome. It occurs when eyes are not properly lubricated due to insufficient tear production, blocked glands, or unbalanced tear composition. If you’re suffering from red, irritated, and scratchy eyes, MiBo Thermoflo can offer you the relief you seek.

What is Mibo Thermoflo?

The MiBo Thermoflo is a therapeutic device that delivers consistent and comfortable heat to the meibomian glands in the eyelids. These glands produce the vital oil for the tears, and the heat helps to unblock the glands to allow the easy flow of oils from the eyelid into the tears. The oils in the tears help improve the tear film and to preserve tears by limiting tear evaporation.

What to Expect During MiBo Thermoflo Treatment

To help manage dry eye symptoms, MiBo therapy uses thermoelectric radiation. The MiBo eye pads emit a therapeutic temperature of 108 degrees, which helps to liquefy the oils in your tears and also unblocks the oil-producing glands in the eyelids, enhancing the function of the meibomian glands.

If you wear contact lenses and makeup, you will be asked to remove them before starting the treatment to ensure proper heat absorption. An ultrasound gel will be applied to the MiBo eye pads, which will be placed on your eyelids. While your eyes are closed, you may feel a slight pressure as your eyelids are massaged with the eye pads. The session usually lasts for about 8 minutes per eye.

Once the MiBo procedure is completed, your eye doctor will inspect your glands. To ensure that your glands are clear and secreting clear lipids, they may need to express the meibomian glands.

MiBo Thermoflo Is A Safe Alternative to Other Treatments

Studies have found MiBo Thermoflo to be effective in treating meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) and other ocular surface problems. It is less invasive than other treatments for dry eye problems and is low risk for corneal distortions, a common complication with other eyelid therapies.

If you suffer from dry eye syndrome or other ocular surface diseases, MiBo Thermoflo may be an effective treatment option. Contact Aspire Vision Care to learn more and to schedule to your appointment.

Our practice serves patients from Round Rock, TX, Pflugerville, Cedar Park, and Georgetown, Texas and surrounding communities.
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Vitamins and Foods That Relieve Dry Eye Syndrome

Approximately 16 million Americans have dry eye syndrome. Symptoms of dry eye—other than the obvious eye dryness—include grittiness, burning, irritation and difficulty reading or looking at a screen for long periods of time. Studies have shown that certain foods help the eyes stay properly hydrated.

Specific vitamins, fatty acids and trace elements are good not only for our overall health but also for our tear film.

Omega Fatty Acids For Dry Eye

Omega fatty acids are responsible for forming the stabilizing oil layer in the tear film. If this outer layer of the lubricating film is disrupted, it can lead to dry eye symptoms like burning, redness and itchiness. In addition, omega fatty acids have an anti-inflammatory effect.

Foods high in omega fatty acids include:

  • Fish. cod, mackerel, salmon, trout
  • Meat. red meat, pork liver
  • Oils. canola oil, rapeseed oil, sunflower oil, walnut oil,
  • Other animal products. cheese, eggs

Vitamins for Dry Eye

Below is a list of vitamins that help with dry eye and boosts general eye health.

  • Vitamin A (retinol) helps protect the surface of the eye. Vitamin A deficiency, which usually occurs in developing countries, can cause an increase in dry eye. By adding foods rich in Vitamin A, like carrots, pumpkins, apricots, spinach, tomatoes, dairy products and liver, you can prevent the development of this condition.
  • Vitamin B2 protects your eyes from cell damage. It is found in broccoli, avocados, dairy products and whole-grain products.
  • Vitamin B6 is needed for a healthy tear film. Foods such as kale, potatoes, goose, mackerel, salmon and sardines contain high doses of vitamin B6.
  • Vitamin B12 is also important for lubricating the eyes. It’s typically found in mackerel, beef liver, calf’s liver and pork liver. It is also found in dairy products and eggs, though in smaller amounts.
  • Vitamin C protects against oxidative stress and plays an important role in maintaining a functioning tear film. It can be found in peppers, broccoli, rosehip, acerola berries and brussels sprouts.
  • Vitamin E is necessary to protect your eyes against cell damage as well as dry eye. This vitamin is prominently found in sunflower oil, mackerel, wheat germ oil, peppers, spinach, mangos and redcurrants.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin

Lutein and zeaxanthin are antioxidants that help cells function correctly and stay healthy. They help prevent many chronic eye diseases, including dry eye syndrome. Foods rich in these antioxidants include leafy greens like romaine lettuce, kale and spinach. They are also available as supplements.

Zinc for Eye Health

Zinc plays an important role in keeping your eyes healthy. This mineral is responsible for getting vitamin A from your liver to your retina and produces melanin, a pigment that protects your eyes. Dairy, whole grains, nuts, sweetcorn, peas and lentils are all excellent sources of zinc.

Drink Water to Hydrate Your Eyes

Lastly, drink water. While it may seem obvious, many of us forget to drink enough water. Staying hydrated can help improve eye comfort and is vital for your kidneys, bowels and radiant-looking skin.

Eating healthy and staying hydrated helps to ensure your eyes get the vitamins and minerals they need. So go ahead and protect your vision, improve eye health and relieve your dry eye symptoms by adding these nutrients to your diet. However, remember to always consult your eye doctor before taking any supplements.

Contact Aspire Vision Care to learn more and to explore our effective and lasting treatments to relieve your dry eyes so you can live your best life.

Our practice serves patients from Round Rock, TX, Pflugerville, Cedar Park, and Georgetown, Texas and surrounding communities.
Dry Eye Appointment
You Have Dry Eye? Call 512-399-4626
Read More About Dry Eyes
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TrueTear for Dry Eye Treatment

TrueTear®, by Allergan, is a drug-free, drop-free solution that temporarily increases tear production in adult patients. This technological device emits tiny pulsations of energy that prompt your eyes to produce their own tears, offering significant relief to those with severe dry eyes.

TrueTear is made for home use and can be purchased by prescription only. Speak with our optometric team to learn how this device can help alleviate dry, itchy and irritable eyes, and vastly improve the quality of your life.

How Does TrueTear Work?

The tiny pulsations of energy emitted by TrueTear induce neurostimulation — a natural response that leads your eyes to produce their own tears. The device stimulates a nerve in the nasal cavity and sends out signals to the brain, which, in turn, send nerve signals to the tear glands to temporarily increase tear production.

For it to work, the TrueTear tip needs to contact the nerves located under the bridge of the nose. Just insert the tip all the way to the top part of the nose, or as far as is comfortable. You will know you’re stimulating the correct spot once you feel a tingling sensation in your nose and your eyes begin to emit tears. In certain people, tearing happens almost immediately, though it really depends on one’s individual anatomy and tear deficiency.

The TrueTear is user-friendly, as it is made up of just a few parts and only two buttons. Moreover, it offers a free app that can be seamlessly paired with your smartphone to better monitor the usage of the device.

How Does TrueTear Feel?

People typically report a tingling or tickling sensation, though it really depends on the level of strength of the energy pulsations. It is generally not uncomfortable or painful.

How Often and For How Long Do I Need to Use TrueTear?

The amount of time you use the device can vary. The TrueTear device has a built-in timer allowing for a maximum of a single 1-minute use for each cycle. To further prolong its use, simply start another cycle and use it until you feel tears coat the surface of your eye, though not beyond 3 consecutive minutes. After that, wait 1 hour before re-inserting the device into the nose.

TrueTear can be used for a total of 30 minutes per day. For most patients, we recommend they use TrueTear at least twice a week.

How Long Can I Use One Tip and How Do I Clean It?

The tip must be replaced every 48 hours, as it contains a hydrogel that dries out after two days of use. Moreover, make sure to use the tip before the expiration date printed on the packaging.

To clean the device, use an alcohol pad to gently wipe the disposable tip, but be careful to steer clear of the hydrogel areas.

All About the TrueTear App

Trifocal Lens for Cataract Surgery Patients 1280x480 640×480The free app, which can be easily paired with your smartphone, helps you track your device usage and battery level, as well as learn new ways of using TrueTear. The app also allows you to get assistance in the event that you encounter any problems with the device. Moreover, environmental conditions that can affect your eyes are displayed in the app, which includes humidity, temperature, pollen count, and pollution index.

Ask us about how TrueTear can alleviate your dry eye condition and enhance your quality of life. our optometric team and the caring and knowledgeable staff at Aspire Vision Care are always here to help patients experience the best vision care and treatment possible.

Our practice serves patients from Round Rock, TX, Pflugerville, Cedar Park, and Georgetown, Texas and surrounding communities.
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You Have Dry Eye? Call 512-399-4626
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Scleral Lenses for Dry Eye Syndrome

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Scleral Lenses for Dry Eye Syndrome

Those with dry eye syndrome (DES) suffer from eyes that feel dry, itchy, uncomfortable, irritated and at times very painful. Eye drops and artificial tears can deliver relief but are no more than a temporary solution. Eventually, patients with chronic dry eyes seek out more durable methods of treatment.

Scleral lenses are an excellent solution due to their large shape, unique features, and customized fitting for each patient. Though generally used to treat corneal irregularities and refractive errors, scleral lenses can also provide immense relief to dry eye patients.

Scleral lenses tackle three factors simultaneously: they provide vision correction, they protect the eye, and they serve a therapeutic purpose by lubricating the eye. Scleral lenses decrease pain, discomfort, eye redness, and itchiness while providing sharp, clear vision.

What Are Scleral Lenses?

Cornea With Scleral Lens 1280×853Scleral lenses provide relief and visual rehabilitation to patients with dry eyes and corneal irregularities. These custom designed lenses vault over the cornea and rest on the sclera while avoiding the cornea. The liquid reservoir between the lens and the cornea provides a continuous moist environment that protects the cornea and provides relief for those with dry eyes.

Because these lenses are oxygen permeable, they provide the wearer with better comfort and a healthy cornea. In fact, their ability to transmit oxygen reduces eye problems, such as dry eyes, caused by diminished oxygen transmission to the cornea, which is common among most soft lens’ brands or hard (non-GP) lenses.

If you have Dry Eyes and are interested in scleral lenses, our optometric team can help. Experienced in fitting scleral lenses for dry eyes and other corneal conditions, Aspire Vision Care serves patients from all over Round Rock, TX, Pflugerville, Cedar Parkand Georgetown, in the state of Texas.

Why Scleral Lenses Offer Relief to Those with Dry Eye Syndrome

Contact Lenses You Can Wear With Dry Eyes

Traditional soft contact lenses are not an option for those with dry eyes, as the lenses sit right on the cornea, which can be very irritating for dry eye patients. Moreover, they tend to act as sponges, soaking up the moisture from the surface of the eye. Wearing soft contact lenses can, therefore, prove to be virtually unbearable for the dry eye patient.

Scleral lenses, on the other hand, are comfortable since they vault over the cornea and rest on the sclera, thus avoiding the sensitive cornea.

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Scleral Lenses Provide Continuous Eye Hydration

The zone between the surface of the cornea and the scleral lens is filled with a saline solution. This acts as a constant source of hydration for the eye and provides ongoing relief for the dry eye patient.

Scleral Lenses Soothe and Protect the Cornea

People with dry eyes tend to have sensitive corneas that are prone to injury. The simple act of blinking can irritate the eye or even injure the cornea due to the mechanical friction of the eyelids on the cornea. Scleral lenses prevent damage to the cornea by shielding the patient’s eyes from the friction caused by blinking and protecting it from any external irritants or dust.

If you struggle with dry eye syndrome and have been looking for a more effective treatment method beyond eyedrops and artificial tears, ask our optometric team about scleral lenses. We will patiently assess and explain your condition to you, and will perform a specialized, scleral lens custom-fitting to ensure that you receive the best fit for optimal visual clarity and comfort.

Call Aspire Vision Care today to schedule your consultation today.

Our practice serves patients from Round Rock, TX, Pflugerville, Cedar Park, and Georgetown, Texas and surrounding communities.
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You Have Dry Eye? Call 512-399-4626
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