Dry Eye

What is Dry Eye?

An estimated 40 million people in the U.S. are affected by dry eye. Over 500 million dollars are spent on dry eye symptom relief annually in the America. Symptoms of dry eye can range from mild to severe. If you are one of the people that is experiencing severe dry eye, then you know it can be disabling.

Dry eye occurs when your eyes do not produce enough tears or they produce sufficient tears, but due to an unstable tear layer they evaporate too quickly.

dry eye pain

What Causes Dry Eye?

There are many causes of dry eye. Certain risk factors can contribute to the onset of dry eye symptoms such as eye surgery, contact lenses, smoking, or certain medications such as antihistamines, oral contraceptives and antidepressants. Often, dry eye is part of the natural aging process, but poor blinking or eyelid problems can contribute as can general health problems like arthritis or Sjogren’s Syndrome or chemical or thermal burns to your eyes. In addition, dry climate, wind and dust can tip the scale toward dry eye complaints.

Dry eye can be subdivided into evaporative dry eye and aqueous deficient dry eye. In order to determine the appropriate treatment, it is imperative that we uncover the underlying cause of the dry eye problem and treat that root cause. To do this we use an instrument called the Keratograph 5M which enables us to assess the degree of redness and inflammation, tear volume, tear stability, tear oil content and meibomian gland structure. We then assess the function of the meibomian glands to help determine the appropriate treatment plan.

Why are Tears so Important?


The cornea, in its very nature is not smooth, but instead is composed of fine microvilli giving it a roughened surface. This uneven surface would result in poor vision without tears. Tears are essential to eye health, eye comfort and good vision. When tears are functioning in a homeostatic environment, they lubricate the eye preventing dryness. They create a barrier to infectious agents, washing away substances such as allergens and bacteria. They provide nutrients and oxygen to the cornea. They promote healing to the surface of the eye and they provide a smooth tear surface enabling light to enter with minimal distortion creating clear vision.

If I have dry eye, why do my eyes water?

dry eye

There are three main layers that make up the tear film. Like a house, the tears must have a foundation, walls and roof or it fails to function. The base layer or foundation of the tears is composed of mucin that hold the tears up against the corneal microvilli. The second layer, composed of aqueous which is a viscoelastic moisture makes up the watery portion of the tears and acts as the wall. Intermixed and overlying the aqueous is the oily layer called the meibum which acts as the roof of the tear structure. If a hole forms in the roof of your house, then damage occurs. Dysfunction within the oily layer would result in evaporation of the aqueous layer quickly resulting in discomfort and dry eye which signals the lacrimal gland to produce more aqueous. Because there is nothing wrong with the lacrimal gland, more aqueous is produced, but in the wrong proportion and your eye weeps. For that matter, if there is anything that disrupts any layer of the tears, it will result in dry eye symptoms. For example, if the lacrimal gland doesn’t produce aqueous, you will experience dry eye. Both of the evaporative and aqueous deficient dry eye examples have different causes and both have different treatment needs, although there may be some overlap.

What are the symptoms of dry eye?

Dry eye symptoms include irritated, scratchy, dry, uncomfortable or red eyes, a burning sensation or feeling of something foreign in your eyes and blurred vision. You may also experience weepy eyes, light sensitivity, pain or tired eyes. Excessive dry eyes may damage eye tissue, scar your cornea and impair vision and make contact lens wear difficult.

What can be done about Dry Eye Disease?

Dry eye is a multifactorial disease meaning that there are many causes of dry eye disease. Just as there are many causes there are also many treatment possibilities – some better than others and some that are specific to the underlying cause. Conservative/foundational treatment alone is effective about 50-60% of the time for relieving symptoms by restoring balance in the tear film, but may not prevent progression of disease or provide long term management. A treatment plan is needed in most cases to adequately address Dry Eye Disease.

Do You Suffer From Dry Eye?

Paradise Canyon Eye Care is now offering Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) therapy in combination with Marco Equinox Low Level Light Therapy (LLLT), the latest in dry eye treatment technology. IPL is a light-based technology that has been used for several years, especially in dermatology, and has recently been shown to be safe and effective for treating patients with meibomian gland dysfunction and reducing symptoms of dry eye disease. Developed by NASA, LLLT has proven effective at treating dry eye disease. LLLT uses specially designed LED lights to gently warm up the eyelids, causing the meibomian glands to unclog and release oils. IPL in combination with LLLT creates a powerful new treatment paradigm to more effectively treat dry eye disease.

dry eye treatment
dry eye treatment


  • A series of five intense light pulses around each eye and on the inferior eyelid

  • Comfortable, non-invasive procedure

  • No Gel required

  • No recovery time needed

  • Provides safe treatment on all but one level of skin type


  • Complements IPL Treatment

  • Comfortable, non-invasive procedure

  • 15 minutes per session

  • No recovery time needed

  • For use on adults and children

  • Can be used on all levels of skin type

  • Treats more conditions than Mebomian Gland Dysfunction including Styes, Ocular Rosacea and Blepharitis

It’s quick and painless! Simply lay back with the Equinox mask on and relax as the warm light clears your glands. LLLT may also help decrease the appearance of facial wrinkles, acne and rosacea.
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