Dry Eye Treatment Calgary
Solutions for Dry Eyes
Our clinic offers dry eye treatment and specialized services for patients needing dry eye treatment in Calgary through our dedicated Centre for Dry Eye & Corneal Disease. Dry Eye is an inflammatory disease, and eye drops often only provide temporary relief of symptoms. We now have treatments such as IPL (Intense Pulsed Light), RF (Radio-frequency), BlephEx™ and iLUX®, all of which have proven effective in treating the root causes of dry eye disease. Our doctors have special interest in the treatment of Dry Eyes and we have invested in the latest diagnostic and treatment technologies to ensure we have the best tools to treat the disease. We customize treatments that are evidence based to give you long term relief of your dry eye symptoms.
Symptoms of Dry Eye Disease
Our tear layer and blinking mechanics are a highly complex system that must function well in order to lubricate, protect, and maintain the proper health of your eyes. This layer consists of a matrix of mucus which helps bind water to the surface of the eye, a watery layer for nutrition, protection and lubrication, and a thin protective oily layer to prevent evaporation. Any breakdown can result in dry eye disease symptoms.
- Burning, grittiness, foreign body sensation
- Redness, itching, desire to constantly rub the eyes
- Excessive watering and tears overflowing onto cheeks
- Feeling of wanting to close the eyes for relief
- Inability to tolerate contact lenses
Causes of Dry Eye Disease
- The average blink rate drops from 12-15 times per minute, to 3-4 times per minute when using a computer. This leads to increased tear evaporation which can be treated.
- Tear production is affected by many medications, including antidepressants, over-the-counter allergy pills, and even birth control pills.
- Alcohol and caffeine make dry eyes worse, as does inadequate water intake and poor diet
- The majority of Dry Eye symptoms are due to underlying eyelid disease (Meibomian Gland Dysfunction) which can be treated.
- Our dry climate encourages the growth of eyelid mites (Demodex folliculorum) that harbour bacteria. The resulting inflammation causes dry, red and itchy eyes. These mite infestations can be treated.
Diagnostic Testing for Dry Eye Disease
There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for dry eyes. Dry Eye Disease is multifactorial and effective treatment requires a complete panel of diagnostic tests to determine the root cause of your dry eyes. This allows us to customize the most effective treatment plan.
Meibography – infrared imaging of the eyelids to assess the structure of the oil glands
- Tear osmolarity – sampling the tears to see how dilute or concentrated they are
- SM Tube – measuring the tear production volume
- NIKBUT – measuring the stability of the tear film and how quickly they break up
- Biomicroscopy – looking for signs of chronic inflammation, blockage of glands, structural changes, mites or bacteria, and numerous other pathologies.
These clinical tests will allow us to accurately diagnose the type of dry eye so we can target evidence based treatments that are most effective for your unique dry eye profile.
Dry Eye Treatment
We will then create a customized dry eye treatment plan for you to follow. This may include any of the following, including the advanced therapies in the next section:
- Medication including antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, and/or topical drugs such as cyclosporine (Restasis) or lifitegrast (Xiidra).
- Autologous serum or platelet-rich plasma containing drops that are made from your own blood which contains biological compounds to reduce inflammation and promote healing
- Punctal plugs – silicone plugs placed in the drainage openings of the lower eyelid to retain more moisture on the surface of the eye
- Moisture goggles to provide a moisture barrier that prevents tear evaporation
- Unpreserved lubricant eye drops specific to your type of dry eye (evaporative, aqueous deficient, or inflammatory)
- At-home eyelid hygiene regimen including warm compresses, lid massage, lid wipes and antibacterial sprays. This is often discussed alongside proper makeup application/removal practices
- Blinking exercises, discussion of proper breaks when reading/using computer for long periods, environmental modification
- Nutrition counseling, including high quality omega-3 supplementation
- A change in contact lens modality, material, and/or solution care system
We will then schedule follow up at regular intervals to monitor your treatment effectiveness.
Advanced Dry Eye Therapy
If indicated, we offer the latest technology to provide advanced dry eye therapy in-office treatments to treat specific causes of dry eye. Your customized treatment plan may include any of the following:
Blephex – Treatment for Demodex
BlephEx™ is an in-office procedure used to remove dead skin and demodex mites from the eyelash base, and hardened tissue from the eyelid margin. This effectively removes much of the source of inflammation and restores a healthy eyelid margin that more effectively produces and distributes good quality tears.
iLUX – Treatment for blocked Eyelid Glands
iLUX® is a dry eye procedure that clears the inflammatory material from plugged oil-producing glands in the eyelids, stimulating proper oil production and restoring a healthy tear film with less tear evaporation.
Radio Frequency (RF) – Treatment to improve Meibomian Gland function
Radio Frequency is a dry eye procedure that requires 3-4 initial treatments which use subdermal heat to clear obstructed glands and stimulate collagen and elastin production. This improves the longer term function and health of the oil-producing eyelid glands, ultimately restoring a healthy tear film with less tear evaporation. As a side benefit, it also reduces fine lines and eyelid wrinkles!
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) – Treatment for Ocular Rosacea
Intense Pulsed Light is a well studied dry eye treatment that uses high intensity light to shrink inflamed blood vessels in and around the eyelids and face. By directly treating the source of the inflammation, this treatment provides long lasting and effective relief from dry eyes. Requiring 3-4 sessions, this procedure is extremely effective for facial and ocular rosacea and is also used in our i-spa esthetics clinic to improve skin tone and reduce uneven skin pigmentation.
Punctal Plugs – Treatment for Low Tear Volume
Punctal Plugs are small devices that are placed painlessly into the eyes’ tear drainage ducts and designed to reduce the rate of tear drainage from the eyes’ surface. This keeps the surface of the eyes more moist and well lubricated, thereby reducing the frequency at which artificial tear drops need to be instilled. They are available in a 3 or 6 month dissolving format, or a semi-permanent silicone plastic format designed to last many years.
BostonSight SCLERAL Lenses – Treatment for Severe Dry Eyes
BostonSight Scleral lenses are large diameter rigid gas permeable contact lenses that provide a moisture barrier on the cornea, protecting it from dehydrating. Scleral lenses act to bathe the eye in moisture all day and are used when other therapies fail or if contact lenses are desired for vision correction in the presence of dry eye disease.
At your follow-up visit(s), your treatment plan will be modified based on improvement of signs and symptoms. Although there may be a cost associated with any in-office treatments, they are often health spending account eligible. Our goal is to treat the underlying cause of your Dry Eye Disease to keep your eyes healthy and comfortable over the long term.