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5 Emerging Dry Eye Strategies for Your Vision?

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The world of eye care is an ever-evolving landscape of research, treatment strategies, and emerging technologies. Nowhere is this progress more prevalent than in dry eye care.

Dry eye is one of the most common ocular conditions affecting Canadians, so eye care teams across the country (and the world) are constantly looking for new ways to provide meaningful, long-lasting relief.

Thanks to the incredible advancements in dry eye technology, numerous strategies have been developed to bring patients like you the eye comfort you deserve. Not only are these tools helping us manage a range of dry eye symptoms, but they’re also helping us look deeper into what’s causing your discomfort so we can get to the root of the issue as quickly as possible.

Today, we’ll highlight some of the newest additions our dry eye clinic has to offer and go over what they can do to help you achieve comfortable vision. Book an appointment today if you believe these techniques could help alleviate your dry eye symptoms and let Okotoks Eyecare help you see life differently.

Diagnosing Dry Eye

A crucial step in any eye care strategy is diagnosing the issue accurately. Even though dry eye is a common issue and our team has years of experience managing it, thorough examination and an accurate diagnosis are essential to providing the care you need. This is why conducting a dry eye workup is needed to fully assess all aspects of your dry eye concerns.

We utilize these technologies to help us look deeper than your tear film; we need tools that can help determine your risk of dry eye even if you might not be experiencing symptoms. 

This is why we’re proud to offer TearLab Osmolarity testing and the IDRA Ocular Surface Analyzer as part of our comprehensive diagnostic process. We also include other diagnostic testing such as measuring inflammation in the eye as well as many other quantitative data

TearLab Osmolarity

Salt levels in your tears are a great indicator of dry eye syndrome, and we can analyze these levels using the TearLab Osmolarity device.

Osmolarity refers to the salt content in your tears, and having too much salt (hyperosmolarity) can indicate an unstable tear film caused by evaporative dry eye or aqueous tear deficiency. Because dry eye has similar symptoms to other eye conditions like allergic reactions and conjunctivitis, measuring your osmolarity is an effective way of examining your tear film and diagnosing dry eye syndrome.

To perform the test, your optometrist will gently place the device’s hygienic Osmolarity Testing Card on the margin of your eyelid to collect a tear sample. The device then measures your tear osmolarity and displays it as a numerical value. The higher the value, the more unstable your tear film is.

IDRA Ocular Surface Analyzer

The next diagnostic test well look at is the IDRA Ocular Surface Analyzer. This diagnostic multi-use device is a new innovative approach to provide a multitude of information about your eyes and tear film.

We’ve already talked a little about tears when we talked about the TearLab Osmolarity device, but your tears play a much more important role in managing your eye comfort.

Your tear film is a layer of tears that covers the surface of your eyes. It’s responsible for washing away dirt and dust particles, keeping your eyes hydrated, and protecting them from infection. The tear film does this with the help of 3 distinct ingredients:

  • Mucus, the innermost ingredient, helps adhere your tear film to your eye and spreads it across your eye surface evenly.
  • Water, the middle layer, keeps your eyes hydrated and protected from particles and bacteria.
  • Oil, the outermost layer, seals in your tear film and prevents it from evaporating too quickly.

If an issue affects the stability of these ingredients, it can lead to dry eye.

Using the IDRA Ocular Surface Analyzer, our team can accurately diagnose dry eye syndrome by measuring the oil and water ingredients of your tear film, tracking how quickly your tears evaporate, and by creating a 3D image of your meibomian glands to determine your risk of meibomian gland dysfunction (a leading cause of dry eye syndrome) we measure blink rate and effectiveness. 

Treating Dry Eye

Now that we’ve looked at some of the latest diagnostic technologies we have to offer, it’s time to look at how we can help manage your symptoms.

If you’ve been struggling with dry eye for a while, you might’ve already noticed the sheer volume of dry eye treatments available. 

Over-the-counter eye drops, heated masks, eyelid creams and ointments, specialty contact lenses, hygienic wipes; the list goes on and on. And while many products and strategies can help relieve dry eye symptoms, there are new in-office procedures that can effectively reduce dry eye symptoms.

Because we value personalized eye care solutions, we always take a detailed look at your eye care needs during our diagnostic process so we can create a strategy uniquely tailored to you. If you struggle with chronic dry eye, these innovative in-office treatments might be your first step towards long-lasting eye comfort.

Women undergoing IPL treatment for dry eye

Icon IPL Therapy

The first treatment we’re looking at is the Icon Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) therapy.

IPL therapy first became popular as a cosmetic treatment for loose skin, wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots. Researchers found that using pulsed lights to gently heat parts of your skin up to a certain temperature can stimulate collagen production and give your skin a healthier, more youthful appearance.

However, in recent years, eye care teams have been adopting IPL techniques to help address one of the most common causes of dry eye: meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). 

During an Icon IPL therapy session, we’ll use the handheld IPL device to heat clogged meibomian glands and encourage the flow of oil to your tear film. You may notice more comfortable vision after your first session, but we typically recommend 3 or 4 sessions to help you achieve enhanced results.

Icon IPL therapy takes minutes to complete and requires little to no downtime. You may notice minor side effects like some slight redness and swelling, but these are entirely normal to the healing process and should disappear within a few hours.

TempSure Envi Radiofrequency Treatment

Like IPL therapy, radiofrequency treatments first became popular as a cosmetic treatment for signs of aging. Over the past few years, though, radiofrequency treatments have been growing as an effective strategy for managing MGD-related dry eye, specifically the Tempsure Envi device.

During a session that only takes a few minutes to complete, the Tempsure Envi device uses monopolar radiofrequencies to melt blockages in your meibomian glands and encourage the healthy flow of oils to your tear film.

Patients have described the Tempsure Envi radiofrequency treatment as relaxing and comfortable, with no downtime needed to recover. You might experience some slight redness or swelling, but these symptoms are normal and should subside in a few hours.

For long-lasting results, we may recommend multiple treatments spaced a few weeks apart. 

iLux Dry Eye Treatment

Finally, let’s look at the iLux dry eye treatment.

Like other treatments on this list, this one is popular for treating MGD and stimulating the flow of oil to your tear film. However, it can also express your meibomian glands and remove built-up oil blockages inside your eyelids.

After using the safe and comfortable biocompatible pads to hold your eyelid in place, the handheld iLux device uses light to heat your meibomian glands gently. Once the device melts the blockages in your eyelids sufficiently, your doctor can add extra heat or pressure to remove clogs in your meibomian glands as needed. The treatment takes about 8 to 12 minutes per eye to complete, but you may notice results immediately after your appointment.

Depending on your symptoms, we can recommend additional sessions or different strategies to help maintain your eye comfort.

Visit Okotoks Eyecare & Learn More About Our Approach to Dry Eye

Comprehensive eye care is all about meeting your unique needs with personalized solutions and innovative technologies. 

Please visit our Dry Eye Diagnostics and Dry Eye Treatments pages for more information about our approach to dry eye, or book an appointment with our team at Okotoks Eyecare to get started on your path towards comfortable vision today. 

Written by Dr. Asim Prasad

Dr. Asim Prasad is a native Calgarian who earned his Bachelorís of Science degree in Vision Science and Doctor of Optometry degree from Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida in 2008. Before becoming an optometrist, Dr. Prasad earned a bachelorís degree in Environmental Science from the University of Alberta. After working in the environmental science industry for a short time, Dr. Prasad decided to pursue his true passion: optometry.
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