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Dry Eye

The Link Between Dry Eyes and Depression

The Link Between Dry Eyes and Depression 640×350Depression is a serious illness that impacts a person’s mood and emotional well-being. It creeps into all areas of a person’s life, and can become life-threatening if left untreated.

Not only does depression impact mental health; it can manifest as physical symptoms, too, like insomnia, chronic pain and inflammation, weight loss or gain and heart problems, among others. These physical problems can worsen depressive thoughts — sometimes leading to a vicious cycle.

Interestingly, many patients with depression also suffer from severe dry eye symptoms. The question is, how are these two conditions related?

What is Dry Eye Syndrome?

Dry eye syndrome, also known as dry eye disease, is a chronic condition that results from inadequate lubrication of the eyes. Ocular hydration is crucial when it comes to keeping your eyes healthy and your vision clear. Your tears are responsible for maintaining this necessary hydration, and in healthy eyes fulfill their unique mission each time you blink.

Your tear film is made up of three layers, consisting of oil, water and mucus. If any of these layers become compromised, inadequate tear quality or insufficient tear quantity can result and lead to a host of uncomfortable dry eye symptoms.

The most common dry eye symptoms include:

  • Dry eyes
  • Red or irritated eyes
  • Itchy eyes
  • Gritty eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Blurry vision

Can Depression Cause Dry Eye (or Vice-Versa)?

This is what researchers are trying to find out.

In a March 2022 study published in JAMA Ophthalmology, researchers examined the link between depression and severe dry eye symptoms. The study followed 535 dry eye patients for an entire year.

After a year, the patients who tested positive for depression had more severe dry eye symptoms than the patients who didn’t have depression. Their symptoms were measured based on the Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI), Brief Ocular Discomfort Index and composite dry eye disease sign score.

Additionally, severe depression was associated with more severe dry eye symptoms at baseline, six months, and one year.

The study concluded that depression was associated with more severe dry eye symptoms, which suggests that among patients with moderate to severe dry eye syndrome, those with depression may be likely to have more severe dry eye symptoms.

The researchers said further research is needed to learn exactly why people with depression have more severe dry eye symptoms than those without depression.

Could the sometimes debilitating symptoms of dry eye syndrome actually cause depression and anxiety?

A 2016 dry eye study published in Nature concluded that chronic discomfort and pain from dry eye symptoms can negatively affect the cognitive processes, sleep, mood and mental health. The researchers urged eye doctors to be aware of the higher incidence of dry eye syndrome in people with depression, whatever the underlying cause.

Can Antidepressants Cause Dry Eye Symptoms?

Yes. Antidepressants have been shown to increase dryness in the body, including the eyes. These medications work by blocking signals between nerve cells, which can result in insufficient tear production and dry eye syndrome.

If you’re taking an antidepressant, be sure to inform your eye doctor during your consultation.

How We Can Help

At i2iOptometry Dry Eye Center in Laguna Beach, we recognize that some of our patients that come in with dry eye symptoms may be suffering from depression.

We’ll diagnose the cause of your dry eye symptoms and offer the most effective dry eye treatments to give you the relief you’re searching for.

Contact us today to schedule a dry eye assessment and take the first step towards regaining your quality of life.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Michael D. Cook

Q: Who is affected by dry eye syndrome?

  • A: While dry eye syndrome is most common in adults over 50, it can occur at any age. The following factors can increase your risk of dry eye:
    – Aging
    – Hormonal changes
    – Medical conditions such as Sjogren’s syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis
    – Prolonged screen time
    – Living in a dry, dusty or windy environment
    – Eye allergies
    – Blepharitis or meibomian gland dysfunction
    – Certain medications, such as decongestants, antihistamines, antidepressants, hormone replacement therapy
    – Vitamin A deficiency

Q: How can you reduce your risk of dry eye?

  • A: While some dry eye risk factors can’t be avoided completely, making some lifestyle changes can help. Practice these recommended tips:
    – Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air
    – Wear wraparound sunglasses outdoors to protect your eyes from harsh winds
    – Take frequent screen breaks and blink often while using your digital device.
    – Quit smoking
    – Use lubricating eye drops
    – Consume a healthy diet including omega 3 and drink plenty of water.
    – Have regular eye exams

What’s The Link Between Dry Eye and Accutane (Acne Medication)

Teen with severe acne wearing maskAccutane, generically called isotretinoin, is an oral medication that is widely prescribed to treat severe acne that hasn’t responded to other treatments.

Although this drug often does a great job of reducing acne, it has several potential side effects that can affect many bodily systems, including the eyes.

Isotretinoin and Dry Eyes

Isotretinoin works by decreasing the size of the oil glands that secrete oil onto the skin. By reducing the production of the facial oils, the pores become less clogged and the amount of acne diminishes.

As the medication travels through the bloodstream, it also penetrates the eyelids’ meibomian glands, which produce the oil for tears.

These meibomian glands, which line the inner portion of the eyelids, play an important role in keeping the eyes hydrated and healthy by secreting oil to stabilize the tear film. When Accutane suppresses their function, the oil layer in the tear is inadequate, allowing excessive tear evaporation. As a result, the eyes dry out.

A 2012 study published in JAMA Dermatology analyzed the ocular effects of isotretinoin and concluded that taking it places patients at a significantly higher risk of experiencing a range of adverse ocular effects.

Common ocular conditions that were associated with this acne medication were dry eye syndrome, blepharitis, conjunctivitis, photosensitivity, contact lens intolerance and papilledema.

The researchers found that the ocular conditions resulted from changes to the cornea, eyelids, retina and meibomian glands. Additionally, the drug was found in the tear film and caused increased ocular irritation.

The good news is that these effects are often temporary, and resolve within a few months after completing treatment. One study, published in Optometry and Vision Science (2015), however, found that 1% of patients developed permanent meibomian gland dysfunction after taking isotretinoin.

 

How a Dry Eye Optometrist Can Help

Some dermatologists will refer their patients to an optometrist for a dry eye evaluation before prescribing isotretinoin to treat acne. If the patient already has signs of ocular surface disease or is taking other medications that interfere with tear production, the doctor may decide against prescribing isotretinoin.

We can help by thoroughly assessing your ocular condition to help your dermatologist determine the best acne treatment for you, as well as help you manage your dry eye symptoms.

If you or a loved one is currently taking or has taken isotretinoin and is experiencing symptoms of dry eye syndrome such as eye irritation or burning eyes, we can offer lasting treatment and solutions.

To schedule your dry eye consultation or learn more about our services, call i2iOptometry Dry Eye Center today.

 

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Michael D. Cook

Q: Should I use lubricating eye drops while taking acne medication like isotretinoin?

  • A: Lubricating eye drops may be an appropriate treatment for medication-induced dry eye syndrome However always consult with your optometrist before purchasing drops from the drugstore. The huge range of choices in your local pharmacy can be hard to navigate alone, and not all eye drops will be right for you. We can help guide you to the best eye drops for your condition.

Q: What are the common symptoms of dry eye syndrome?

  • A: Common symptoms of dry eye syndrome include watery eyes, gritty eyes, burning or painful eyes, red and irritated eyes, mucus around the eyes, the inability to wear contact lenses, sensitivity to light and blurred vision. The frequency and severity of these symptoms can range greatly from patient to patient, and treatment will depend on the underlying cause of your symptoms.

Our practice serves patients from Laguna Beach, Irvine, Tustin , and Costa Mesa, California and surrounding communities.

Blinking Exercises for Dry Eye

Blinking Exercises 640×350Did you know that the average person spends around 7 hours a day looking at a screen? The glare and reflections from computer, smartphone, and tablet screens can reduce blink rates by as much as 60%. When we concentrate intensely we tend to blink less, which can, in turn, lead to dry eye syndrome.

Symptoms of dry eye syndrome include red and dry eyes, irritated eyes, blurred vision, painful or stinging eyes, light sensitivity and mucus around the eyes.

Blinking helps keep our eyes healthy and comfortable. With every blink, the ocular surface is cleaned of debris and lubricated, so less blinking means more irritation and dryness.

Below are a few blinking exercises to help you ensure that your eyes remain lubricated and refreshed throughout the day.

Blinking Exercises

Blinking exercises are simple to do and can be seamlessly integrated into your daily routine. These exercises should be done a few times an hour. Try alternating between the 2 exercises below.

1. Close-Pause-Pause-Open-Relax

  1. Without squeezing, gently close your eyes.
  2. Pause and keep your eyes closed for 2 seconds.
  3. Gently open your eyes and relax them.
  4. Repeat 5 times

2. Close-Pause-Pause-Squeeze-Open-Relax

  1. Without squeezing, gently close your eyes.
  2. Pause and keep your eyes closed for 2 seconds.
  3. While keeping your eyes closed, squeeze your eyelids together slowly and gently.
  4. Gently open your eyes and relax them.
  5. Repeat 5 times

The Importance of Fully Blinking

It’s important to fully blink to completely lubricate your eyes. If you’re only partially blinking, it can render your dry eye symptoms worse.

To find out whether you are fully blinking, just look at your eyes in the mirror. If they feel dry or appear red, or if you see a horizontal stripe of red blood vessels across your eyes, then you have been partially blinking.

If you’ve incorporated blinking exercises into your routine but are still experiencing eye irritation, you may have dry eye syndrome. We can diagnose the underlying cause of your symptoms, and offer a variety of dry eye treatments to alleviate any discomfort. Schedule an eye exam with i2iOptometry Dry Eye Center today to receive effective, long-lasting relief.

i2iOptometry Dry Eye Center serves dry eye patients from Laguna Beach, Irvine, Tustin , and Costa Mesa, California and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Michael D. Cook

Q: What is dry eye syndrome?

  • A: Dry eye syndrome is caused either by insufficient tears or poor tear quality. Every time you blink, you leave a thin film of tears over the surface of your eyes. This helps keep your vision clear and your eyes healthy. If your tears don’t keep the surface of your eye moist enough, you will experience dry eye symptoms. Some medical conditions, certain medications, dysfunctional glands, allergies and environmental irritants can all cause dry eye symptoms.

Q: What are the symptoms of dry eyes?

  • A: Symptoms of dry eye include irritation; a gritty, scratchy or burning sensation; blurred vision; excessive tearing; and/or a feeling of having something stuck in the eye.

7 Ways to Wish Dry Eye ‘Goodbye’

7 Ways to Wish Dry Eye Goodbye 640×350There’s no reason to suffer through the uncomfortable, sometimes debilitating symptoms that can accompany dry eye syndrome. Living with chronically dry, red and irritated eyes can affect your productivity and overall enjoyment of life.

That’s why we’ve put together 7 of our top tips for relieving dry eye syndrome.

1. Stay Hydrated

The tears are mostly made up of water, supplied by the tear glands. People need to drink enough liquid to maintain a stable tear film, so if your body isn’t sufficiently hydrated, your eyes won’t be able to produce sufficient tears and will suffer the consequences.

Keep your water bottle at arm’s reach throughout the day. You can even sip on juices, broths and dairy or plant-based milk to keep your body and eyes properly hydrated. Many health authorities recommend drinking between 2-3 liters of hydrating fluids per day.

If your eyes have been feeling dry or irritated, try limiting your alcohol intake because it is a diuretic.

2. Use Artificial Tears

Artificial tears aren’t just great for making your eyes feel more comfortable; they also have protective properties that can prevent ocular surface damage from occurring or worsening.

The tricky part is choosing the correct drops for your specific condition.

By assessing your eyes, your eye doctor can determine what’s causing your eyes to be dry and recommend the most appropriate drops. There are numerous types of artificial tears on the market, and what may work for a friend or relative may not be the best option for you.

3. Up Your Omega-3 Intake

A healthy tear film consists of three layers: water, oil and mucus. An imbalance in any of these components can result in tears that evaporate prematurely. To ensure that your eyes can produce enough of the oils that stabilize your tears, include the recommended daily intake of Omega-3’s in your diet. You can take a supplement and/or eat foods like fatty fish, seeds and nuts.

*It’s best practice to speak with your healthcare provider before making any changes to your diet or introducing a new supplement to your routine.

4. Wear Sunglasses

Sunglasses not only reduce your glare symptoms and provide important UV protection but also effectively offer relief from dry eyes. Dry eyes are vulnerable to irritation from light winds that can dry out the eye’s tear film.

Whenever outdoors, wear a pair of protective wraparound sunglasses to minimize the effects of wind and seal out dirt and debris that can be carried in the breeze. For severe cases of dry eye syndrome, ask your optometrist about specific lenses or eye drops to provide even more relief from dry eyes.

5. Use a Humidifier

When the air around you is too dry, it pulls the remaining moisture from your tears, leaving your eyes feeling parched.

Humidifiers combat the dryness in any indoor environment by replenishing moisture in the air. Whether at work or home, use a humidifier to offset dryness, especially if you are using a fan, heater or air conditioner in the room.

6. Try Warm Compresses

Warm eye compresses are a great way to relieve symptoms of mild to moderate dry eye syndrome.

The gentle heat from a compress helps to soften any hardened oils that may be clogged in the little oil glands that line the eyelashes. Your oil glands will work more efficiently to deliver tear-stabilizing oils to your eyes’ surface once the glands aren’t blocked. Your eye doctor will instruct you on how to easily prepare a warm eye compress at home.

7. Visit Your Dry Eye Optometrist

Your [eye doctor] offers a range of successful options to treat your dry eyes to ensure you always have clear vision and comfortable eyes. Call your dry eye optometrist to have your eyes thoroughly evaluated and treated for long-lasting relief. There is a wide range of in-office treatments that can alleviate symptoms of dry eye syndrome and help your eyes feel refreshed.

To learn more about our dry eye services and schedule a consultation, call i2iOptometry Dry Eye Center in Laguna Beach today!

i2iOptometry Dry Eye Center serves dry eye patients from Laguna Beach, Irvine, Tustin , and Costa Mesa, California and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Michael D. Cook

Q: What are other symptoms of dry eye syndrome?

  • A: Aside from redness and dryness, dry eye syndrome can also cause watery eyes, stinging or burning, stringy mucus, blurred vision, grittiness, light sensitivity and difficulty wearing contact lenses. Symptoms can range from mild to debilitating, and from occasional to chronic.

Q: Does dry eye syndrome need to be treated?

  • A: If left untreated, dry eye syndrome can cause eye inflammation, corneal ulcers or abrasions and even vision loss in severe cases. Dry eye syndrome also puts a person more at risk of developing eye infections. If you have any symptoms of dry eye syndrome, contact us for a tailor-made treatment plan.

7 Common Questions About Dry Eye Syndrome, Answered

Millions of people around the world live with a chronic eye condition called dry eye syndrome (DES). Although DES is quite common, many people don’t know much about it — and that’s where we come in.

Here are answers to 7 of the most commonly asked questions about dry eye syndrome.

1. What is Dry Eye Syndrome?

DES occurs when your eyes chronically lack hydration. The tears in your eyes are responsible for keeping them feeling fresh and your vision clear. When your tear production is disrupted, or the quality of your tears is insufficient, your eyes may feel dry and irritated. DES is most frequently a result of poor functioning of the glands in the eyelids, which produce essential oils for the tears.

2. What are the Symptoms and Causes of DES?

The main symptoms of dry eye syndrome include:

  • Red, painful eyes
  • Dry, irritated eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Burning or stinging sensation
  • Foreign body sensation
  • [Mucus] around the eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Itchy eyes

Dry eye syndrome can be caused by several factors, including genetics and environment. Specific causes include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Aging
  • Certain medications
  • Eye allergies
  • Dysfunction of the glands in the eyelids
  • Hormonal fluctuations and hormone replacement therapy
  • Refractive surgery
  • Extended screen usage
  • Exposure to windy or dry climates
  • Infrequent or incomplete blinking
  • Polluted air

3. What are Risk Factors for Developing DES?

You are more likely to develop dry eye syndrome if you:

  • Are female
  • Are pregnant
  • Are above the age of 50
  • Have allergies
  • Have thyroid dysfunction
  • Are very deficient in Vitamin A
  • Have an autoimmune disorder, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Spend several hours per day in front of a digital screen
  • Smoke
  • Live in a place with poor air quality, such as large cities

4. Can DES Go Away On Its Own?

It really depends. If your dry eyes are caused by an external irritant or allergen, your symptoms will likely improve once the irritant is removed. Some people may only experience symptoms of dry eye syndrome in a dry climate, during allergy season, or after prolonged screen use (when people blink their eyes much less frequently), for example.

5. Is DES Permanent?

Although there are ways to manage and treat DES, it is considered a chronic condition. In many cases, symptoms may reappear if treatment stops. In other cases of DES, symptoms can be temporary, depending on the cause.

6. Is DES Harmful to Eye Health?

It can be. Severe dry eye syndrome can lead to corneal ulcers and scarring. In very rare cases, dry eye syndrome may produce partial blindness if left untreated.

7. How is DES treated?

There are several safe and effective treatments for dry eye syndrome. Treatment options will vary from patient to patient, depending on what’s causing your DES. Your optometrist will select the treatment that targets the underlying cause of your condition.

You may be prescribed medicated eye drops, lubricating eye drops, omega-3 supplements or in-office treatments to clean and/or improve the functioning of the glands in your eyelids. Speak with your optometrist about which treatment option is most suitable for you.

If you or a loved one is living with symptoms of dry eye syndrome, we can help. i2iOptometry Dry Eye Center provides the latest, most effective treatments for dry eye syndrome for long-lasting relief.

To schedule your dry eye consultation, call i2iOptometry Dry Eye Center in Laguna Beach today!

i2iOptometry Dry Eye Center serves patients from Laguna Beach, Irvine, Tustin , Costa Mesa and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Michael D. Cook

Q: What are some lifestyle choices that can help ease symptoms of dry eye syndrome?

  • A: Some patients find that staying hydrated and eating more omega-3 rich foods help with DES. You may also benefit from wearing sunglasses when outdoors and using a humidifier when indoors to replenish the moisture in the air.

Q: Should I use over-the-counter eye drops for my dry eyes?

  • A: There are so many eye drops at the pharmacy, so it can be hard to choose the right product for your eyes. If your eyes are feeling dry, head over to your local optometrist before resorting to an over-the-counter option.

What Causes Bulging Eyes?

When you look at a pair of healthy eyes, you shouldn’t be able to see the whites of the eye above or below the iris. If some white is always visible between the iris and eyelid, the eyes are considered to be protruding out of their normal position.

The medical term for this condition is exophthalmos, or proptosis, and is thought to affect about 1 in 4,000 individuals worldwide.

Bulging eyes aren’t a standalone condition, but rather a symptom of another health problem. Several medical conditions can cause one’s eye or eyes to bulge, and the treatment plan depends on the underlying condition.

It’s important to note that a sudden bulging of one eye is considered a medical emergency and requires immediate attention.

Common Causes of Bulging Eyes

The most common cause of exophthalmos is thyroid disorders, especially Grave’s disease (hyperthyroidism). Thyroid eye disease is a condition that causes the muscles, eyelids and tear glands to swell, resulting in a bulging appearance.

Symptoms of thyroid eye disease can include:

  • Painful eyes
  • Dry eyes
  • Irritated eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Watery eyes
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Difficulty with eye movements
  • Pressure around or behind the eyes

Thyroid-related exophthalmos usually takes up to several months or years to manifest.

Other reasons for bulging eyes include:

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Neuroblastoma
  • Hemangioma
  • Bleeding behind the eyeball due to injury
  • Infection of the eye’s tissues
  • Lymphoma
  • Leukemia
  • Connective tissue disease
  • [Tumors]

What Should You Do If You Notice Your Eyes Protruding?

Sudden bulging should be addressed by a medical professional without delay.

Otherwise, schedule an appointment with your physician as well as your optometrist. Be prepared to answer questions about your symptoms, general health and family history to receive an accurate assessment and diagnosis.

How We Can Help

Left untreated, exophthalmos can lead to corneal dryness, inflammation of the eye tissue and dry eye syndrome. The eyes may not be able to close completely during a blink, making them prone to insufficient lubrication and hydration.

We can treat your dry eyes and relieve some of the uncomfortable symptoms associated with bulging eyes. Treatment will be tailor-made to meet the needs of your eyes and overall health status.

To schedule a consultation, call i2iOptometry Dry Eye Center in Laguna Beach today!

i2iOptometry Dry Eye Center serves patients from Laguna Beach, Irvine, Tustin , and Costa Mesa, California and surrounding communities.

 

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Michael D. Cook

Q: What is dry eye syndrome?

  • A: Dry eye syndrome (DES) is a condition characterized by chronic eye dryness that can be caused by genetic, environmental and other factors. Very often, it is caused by malfunctioning glands that secrete nourishing oils into the tear film. Symptoms of DES can include redness, irritation, watery eyes, blurred vision, light sensitivity, stringy eye mucus and eye pain. In many cases, DES is simple to treat.

Q: Can dry eye syndrome harm eye health?

  • A: Left untreated, dry eye syndrome can cause corneal ulcers, which may lead to permanent vision loss. If your eyes are giving you any trouble, speak to a dry eye optometrist, who can diagnose the problem and help you achieve the relief you seek.

Dry Eye Air Travel Tips

Dry Eye Air Travel Tips 640×350Traveling can be taxing on the entire body, but the eyes are especially vulnerable – particularly while wearing a mask against COVID-19. When traveling by plane, the dry air can cause your eyes to become red, parched and irritated. While you can’t control all variables during your travels, eye specialists have discovered a number of ways to reduce the chances of experiencing the unpleasant symptoms of ‘travelers dry eye.’

Here are five suggestions for preventing dry eye from affecting your vision.

Drink plenty of water. If your body isn’t properly hydrated, it will have a tougher time increasing tear production in a dry atmosphere. Humidity levels on planes are typically below 20%, which is lower than the Sahara Desert! Keep your eyes moist and comfortable by drinking plenty of water before, during and after your flight.

Wear your glasses. Since contact lenses remove moisture from your eye’s surface tear film, they can contribute to dry eye. Wearing your glasses can help keep your eyes moist.

Wear a sleep mask. Even when your eyelids are closed, your eyes might lose moisture, which happens frequently when you sleep. On a plane, a sleep mask can help prevent additional dryness.

Use hydrating eye drops. When you’re in a dry environment, a good hydrating eye drop can provide a brief respite.

Make sure your face mask fits snugly. When a person’s breath rises upward it can dry out their eyes. A face mask that fits securely around the bridge of the nose can prevent air from reaching the eyes.

If dry eye is making you miserable, especially when traveling, there is no reason to suffer. Schedule a comprehensive eye exam with i2iOptometry Dry Eye Center and find out what could be causing your dry eye symptoms and how to treat them.

i2iOptometry Dry Eye Center serves patients from Laguna Beach, Irvine, Tustin , and Costa Mesa, California and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Michael D. Cook

Q: Can dry eye be cured?

  • A: In some cases, yes. There is a range of successful treatment options that can help manage dry eye for long-term relief. Your eye doctor can also provide in-office treatments for more advanced forms of dry eyes.

Q: What type of treatments are available for dry eye?

  • A: Depending on the cause of the dry eye, treatment options include:- In-office treatments
    – Lubricants
    – Punctal plugs
    – Topical steroids
    – Warm compresses
    – Protective eyewear
    – Intense pulse light
    – Switching to medications that don’t cause dry eye symptoms

How To Use Eye Makeup Safely Without Dry Eye Irritation

How To Use Eye Makeup Safely Without Dry Eye Irritation 640×350Some of our patients say they’ve been wearing more eye makeup since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, to draw more attention to their eyes — the only area of their face visible above their face mask.

While this practice may accentuate your eyes beautifully, it can also lead to uncomfortable symptoms of dry eye syndrome like red, itchy, watery or burning eyes.

Here are a few of our top tips for safely applying makeup that won’t aggravate your sensitive eye area.

1. Use only eye-safe products.

If a product isn’t meant to be applied to your eyes, keep it far away from the delicate tissues that make up your eye area. Don’t assume that all black makeup pencils are eyeliners, or that tinted brow gels are basically eyelash mascara. Read packaging labels carefully and only use products that have been determined to be eye-safe by the FDA or manufacturers. Also, to avoid cross contamination, keep a set of brushes and applicators that you only use for eye makeup and no other areas of your face.

2. Sharing is caring… except when it comes to eye makeup.

No, not even with your sister or “bff.” Certain bacteria have been associated with the development of dry eye syndrome, and sharing eye makeup is an excellent way to introduce harmful microbes like bacteria and fungus to your eyes (or others’ eyes). This includes brushes and eyelash curlers as well.

3. Hygiene is the top priority.

As mentioned above, bacteria is a no-no for keeping your eyes healthy and happy. Unfortunately, some eye makeup products are the perfect breeding ground for some types of bacteria. That’s why keeping your eye makeup products clean is key. You can do this by sanitizing your brushes after each use or sharpening your eyeliner before you use it. Also, wash your hands and face before applying any makeup.

4. Keep the makeup on the outside of your eyes.

Even eye-safe makeup can clog the tiny glands (called meibomian glands) that line the inner rims of your upper and lower eyelids. Meibomian glands secrete nourishing oils that keep your eyes feeling comfortable and healthy. Applying makeup too close to the eye’s surface also significantly increases the risk of makeup particles ending up in your tear film and causing your tears to evaporate too quickly.

5. Replace your makeup regularly.

If you’ve had the same tube of mascara or eyeshadow for more than 3 months, it may be time for a replacement. You should always replace your eye makeup and applicators following an eye infection or if they start changing color or texture.

6. Remove your eye makeup thoroughly.

Clean eyes are happy eyes. Although it’s tempting to just roll into bed after a long day or night, try to make it a habit to remove every bit of makeup before going to bed. Going to sleep with eye makeup significantly increases your chance of developing blepharitis, an inflammation of the eyelids. Use an oil-free makeup remover or an eyelid wipe to wash the day away.

Eyes Giving You Trouble? We Can Help

Whether it’s an occasional irritation or a chronic problem, dry eye syndrome is no fun. The good news is that the condition is often easily treatable, so you can find relief without giving up your favorite eye makeup looks.

If your eyes have been feeling irritated, dry or uncomfortable, we can help. To schedule your dry eye consultation, contact i2iOptometry Dry Eye Center in Laguna Beach today!

i2iOptometry Dry Eye Center serves patients from Laguna Beach, Irvine, Tustin , Costa Mesa, and throughout California .

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Michael D. Cook

Q: What is dry eye syndrome?

  • A: Dry eye syndrome (DES) is a chronic lack of ocular hydration that can be caused by both genetic and environmental factors. When your tear quality or quantity is compromised, you may experience symptoms like eye redness, dryness, burning, stinging, stringy eye mucus, light sensitivity or watery eyes.

Q: Can dry eye syndrome be cured?

  • A: Although there isn’t yet a permanent cure for the condition, there are several ways to manage and treat dry eyes for long-lasting relief. Your dry eye optometrist will thoroughly examine your eyes to determine what’s causing your symptoms and prescribe the appropriate treatment plan.

What Happens If You Don’t Treat Dry Eye Syndrome?

girl sitting in the pool 640×350Dry eye syndrome (DES) is a condition where your eyes either produce low-quality tears or don’t produce enough tears to keep your eyes hydrated. Sometimes the meibomian glands inside your eyelids, which produce the oily layer of your tears, don’t function properly or are blocked, causing your tears to dry out. Environmental factors, certain medical conditions and several medications can also cause DES.

Tears are essential for maintaining eye health and comfort. They moisten your eyes and remove debris. In severe cases, untreated dry eye syndrome can actually damage your cornea and cause vision loss.

The amount of dryness varies in severity from person to person. If you have a minor case of dry eye, you may be able to manage it with over-the-counter eye drops. However, if the problem persists or appears to be getting worse, it’s time to visit your eye doctor, who will assess your eyes, find the underlying problem and offer treatment for lasting relief.

Below is a list of complications that may occur if chronic dry eye syndrome isn’t treated:

Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis refers to infected or inflamed conjunctiva — the clear layer of cells that covers the white part of your eyeball and the inner surface of your eyelids. Symptoms include grittiness, redness and sensitivity to light.

Keratitis

Keratitis refers to an inflammation of the cornea. It can be caused by different types of infections, abnormalities of the eyelids, injury and dry eye. If the deeper layers of the cornea are involved, scarring or a corneal ulcer may result, particularly if left untreated.

Corneal Ulcer

A corneal ulcer is an open sore that develops on the cornea—the clear, protective outer layer of your eyes.

While corneal ulcers typically develop following an injury, they can also be caused by severe dry eye.

On a daily basis, debris, like dirt and sand particles, enter your eyes and scratch the surface of the cornea. When your tear glands don’t produce enough tears to wash away the particles, bacteria can infect the scratch and cause an ulcer.

Luckily, corneal ulcers are easily treated with antibiotic eye drops. Left untreated, however, these ulcers can spread and scar the eyeball, causing partial or even complete blindness.

Inability to wear contact lenses

Unless your eyes produce enough good-quality tears, your contact lenses can become overly dry, leading to a gritty sensation, irritation and redness. Without sufficient moisture, your contacts may stick to your eyeball, making it difficult to remove them.

Though chronic dry eye syndrome may prevent you from wearing standard contact lenses, certain specialized contact lenses can improve ocular hydration and comfort.

Difficulty keeping your eyes open

Depending on the severity of dry eye, it may be difficult to keep your eyes open. This may occur if dry eye syndrome causes extreme light sensitivity or a chronic sensation that something is stuck in your eye.

While artificial tears may provide enough moisture to partially open your eyes, you may still feel the urge to squint, especially when exposed to a computer screen or sunlight.

Difficulty reading or driving

While blurred vision often signals that you need a stronger prescription, it’s also a common symptom of chronic dry eye syndrome.

Left untreated, the blurriness may worsen and even lead to double vision. Naturally, this makes driving and reading a real struggle.

Headaches

While there’s room for more research, studies have shown that there may be a connection between headaches and dry eye. A population-based case study of more than 72,000 patients published by JAMA Ophthalmology (2019) found that people who suffer from migraine headaches are more likely to have dry eyes compared to the general population.

It’s not clear why. According to the paper, being female and of advanced age play an important role in determining the strength of this association.

Depression

A 2015 study, published in the journal Cornea evaluated the connection between dry eye disease and depressive symptoms in more than 6,000 women. Researchers found that women diagnosed with dry eye had a higher likelihood of developing depressive moods, anxiety, and psychological stress.

While the connection isn’t fully understood, researchers noted that some medications for treating depression have a drying effect on the eyes, and that dry eye syndrome may limit a person’s participation in activities, to the point where they may become anxious, withdrawn and even depressed.

If you have dry eye, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with i2iOptometry Dry Eye Center in order to find the best treatment options and thus increase the quality of your tears and life.

i2iOptometry Dry Eye Center serves patients from Laguna Beach, Irvine, Tustin , and Costa Mesa, California and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Michael D. Cook

Q: How do I know if I have dry eye syndrome?

  • A: If you experience itchiness, light sensitivity, tearing and tired eyes, it could indicate that you have dry eye syndrome. Get your eyes checked by an eye doctor, who will thoroughly diagnose your symptoms and offer lasting treatment.

Q: What causes dry eye?

  • A: Various things can cause dry, itchy eyes. Some of the most common causes include blocked glands, environmental factors (wind, air pollution), infrequent blinking, certain medications, standard contact lenses and Demodex mites.

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What to Know About LASIK and Dry Eye

Woman Teary Eye Winter 640×350LASIK surgery is a remarkably safe and effective procedure. That said, no surgery is without risks, even if uncommon.

One of LASIK’s side effects includes dry eye, characterized by dry, itchy, red, watery and gritty eyes. It is caused by insufficient tears or poor quality oil in the tears that prevent the eyes from being properly lubricated. Our eye doctors will guide and educate you on dry eye after LASIK so that you understand what to expect during the healing phase of the procedure.

Book an assessment at i2iOptometry Dry Eye Center to determine your likelihood of developing dry eyes after the laser procedure and address the condition so you can fully enjoy clear vision.

What’s Connection Between LASIK Surgery and Dry Eye?

During LASIK, a laser is used to cut a flap of the cornea, which lets the eye surgeon reshape the cornea with the laser.

Though we use the most advanced technologies to ensure the highest levels of safety and precision, creating corneal flaps can occasionally result in temporary damage to the corneal nerves. This causes the nerve impulses that control tear production to be interrupted. In most patients, as the cornea heals, the nerves heal as well, thus resuming regular and healthy nerve function. Flap complications are incredibly rare among those who closely follow the post-surgery instructions provided to them. However, if they do occur, our highly skilled eye doctor will address the issue and offer optimal treatment.

It is estimated that 50% of people who undergo LASIK surgery report dry eye symptoms in the following days and weeks. In the majority of cases, the dry eye symptoms subside on their own.

Some patients may have experienced dry eye symptoms before surgery. They might even have opted for LASIK due to discomfort when wearing contact lenses, not realizing that this discomfort might be caused by a pre-existing case of dry eye syndrome.

Whether the presence of dry, itchy eyes precedes LASIK surgery or is an aftereffect, it’s important to assess the risks of developing or exacerbating dry eye syndrome following the procedure.

Are You At Risk for Post-LASIK Dry Eye?

Prior to undergoing LASIK surgery, you’ll get a full eye exam. These tests may include:

  • Tear breakup time tests
  • Schirmer’s test
  • Corneal imaging
  • Tear osmolarity and inflammation
  • Meibomian gland evaluation

    A tear breakup test involves putting fluorescent dye on the surface of the eye to measure tear distribution and when the tears “break up.” For a Schirmer’s test, the doctor places a strip of paper under the eyelids to monitor tear production.

    Corneal imaging uses non-invasive devices to assess the cornea and tear film without actual contact with the eye. The tear osmolarity and inflammation tests collect tears from the inside of the bottom eyelid to test protein levels that can signal a higher level of salt content and risk of inflammation in the tears.

    What Increases the Risk of Developing Dry Eye?

    • Aging
    • Menopause
    • Medications, including antihistamines
    • Autoimmune diseases
    • Hot, windy or dry conditions and climates
    • Pollution or poor quality air

    Older patients, particularly post-menopausal women, and those suffering from autoimmune conditions such as Sjogren’s syndrome, are more likely to have dry eye symptoms following the procedure. Those taking allergy medication and living in hot, dry climates should also take precautions.

    How to Prevent Dry Eye Caused by LASIK Surgery

    Your eye doctor may recommend the following for patients who are at high risk of developing dry eye syndrome after LASIK surgery as well as those who have pre-existing symptoms:

    • Punctal plugs
    • Omega-3 fatty acids
    • Lubricating eye drops
    • Prescription medication
    • In-office treatments

    Punctal plugs reduce eye moisture loss by blocking tear drainage tunnels. Omega-3 fatty acid supplements and lubricating eye drops can stimulate moisture in the eye before the procedure. Your eye doctor may prescribe eye drops or use a range of effective in-office dry eye treatments.

    Schedule your appointment to assess your risk of dry and to discuss any questions you may have regarding LASIK and dry eye syndrome.

    Our practice serves patients from Laguna Beach, Irvine, Tustin , and Costa Mesa, California and surrounding communities.

     

    Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Michael D. Cook

    Q: What Are Some Natural Remedies for Dry Eye Syndrome?

    • A: Consuming foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids such as fatty fish and flaxseeds can stimulate the oils that are essential for tear quality. Warm compresses, gland expression and eye massage can often relieve clogged glands in the eyelids and provide relief. Maintaining eyelid hygiene and wearing protective sunglasses can also reduce symptoms.

    Q: What Are the Most Common Dry Eye Symptoms?

    • A: Along with dry eyes, some of the symptoms of dry eye syndrome may include redness, an itchy and burning feeling, stringy mucus, grittiness and excessive eye-watering.