Dry Eye Syndrome and Blepharitis are two components of Ocular Surface Disease (OSD). Dry Eye Syndrome refers to a group of disorders of the tear film that result from decreased tear production and/or increased tear evaporation. Dry Eye Syndrome can occur in anyone; however risk factors include: increased age, female gender, low intake of omega-3 fatty acids, antihistamine use, connective tissue diseases, prior LASIK, diabetes, prolonged computer work, chemotherapy, and changes in environment. Common symptoms include dryness, tearing, irritation, foreign body sensation, sandy/ gritty feeling, and/or pain. It is often characterized by intermittent blurry vision that worsens at the end of the day. In the vast majority of patients, the condition is not sight-threatening. Initial treatments for OSD include artificial tears, antiinflammatory drops (including Restasis® and steroids), and omega-3 fatty acids, in addition to environmental alterations (e.g., humidifiers). Often, to enhance the effects of topical treatments, punctal plugs or cautery are applied to partially close the tear duct (drainage system) to allow the eye drops to lubricate the surface for a longer amount of time. Blepharitis, or inflammation along the surface of the eyelid, also contributes to OSD by increasing tear evaporation. Treatments for blepharitis include eyelid hygiene, including warm compresses, and lid scrubs. This improves the quality of the oily component of the tear film, which prevents tears from evaporating rapidly from the ocular surface. Lastly, for patients with severe dry eye, there are advanced therapies including lubricating contact lenses and eyelid surgery to improve the ocular surface. Both Drs. Jocelyn Kuryan and Jessica Prince Wolfish are trained in corneal surgery and OSD. Thankfully, OSD can be managed and maintained with proper care and a stepwise approach to address each individual’s ocular symptoms, resulting in improved vision and quality of life.
What Is Ocular Surface Disease?