About Dry Eye Syndrome
Dry Eye Syndrome is a common problem that can affect anyone but is more common as we get older. Our eyes are considered dry when our tears are not able to keep the front surface of our eye, the cornea, wet or lubricated.
To stay healthy, the cornea needs to be constantly kept wet by a healthy tear film. There are three layers to the tear film; if the film layers are not balanced or the eye does not produce enough tears, this is called Dry Eye Syndrome. People with Dry Eye Syndrome can experience and an itchy, scratchy or burning sensation to the eyes. Other symptoms include red eyes, stinging of the eyes, episodes of increased tears, decreased or blurry vision, foreign body syndrome, sensitivity to light, sharp pain, dull aching, mucous discharge and crusting in the morning.
How can we help?
Once the Doctor confirms Dry Eye Syndrome we are able to outline a treatment plan to help to provide relief. Treatment plans include the use of warm compress applications, over the counter or prescription artificial tears to lubricate the cornea, prescription eye drops to reduce inflammation, omega (fish oil) supplements.
If the above treatments are not providing enough relief or are not desired by the patient, there is an additional treatment option. This option is called Intense Pulse Light Therapy (IPL).
What is Intense Pulse Light Therapy (IPL)?
Dr. Chun is one the few doctors in the Pittsburgh area able to offer this treatment option. Dr. Chun uses a Palomar StarLux System to provide this “light-based therapy.” The IPL has long been used in the treatment of Rosacea (red or pink patches of broken blood vessels and small red bumps on the skin). The procedure is extremely safe.
When treating dry eyes, the IPL procedure requires no anesthesia, sedation or preoperative testing. The IPL procedure takes approximately five to ten minutes. Your eyes will be covered with protective shields and a thin layer of ultrasound gel will be placed on the treatment area. The IPL will treat your lower forehead and upper cheeks on both sides of your face.
The treatments work to unclog inflamed or non-working glands that produce the oil part of your tears. Once the oil begins to flow again, it mixes into and is added to the tear film that covers your cornea. The presence of the oil helps to keep your tears from drying up or evaporating quickly subsequently reducing or eliminating dry eye symptoms.
Patients often feel an improvement after their first treatment; however, Dr. Chun recommends 4-5 treatments scheduled 4-6 weeks apart for maximum results. Once the treatments are completed, results typically last about a year. Patients may then need one to two treatments as maintenance to keep their oil glands open.
Following the treatment patients should not experience changes to their vision, redness or discomfort to their eyes. Patients can drive and resume normal activities immediately following treatment. Patients will want to avoid direct sunlight by wearing a hat, sunscreen, and/or sunglasses when outdoors.
To learn about the many advantages of this treatment option, call our office for a consult!