Point of care testing and a new medication at her disposable, Dr. Mei-Ling Chan Optometry can help those suffering from ocular surface disease.
Ocular surface (dry eye) disease is the most common condition seen in optometric practice with a prevalence ranging from 8 to 29%. Unfortunately, its prevalence continues to rise due in part to the ubiquitous use of smart phones and tablets among teens and 20 somethings with otherwise healthy eyes. These electronic devices impact the blink rate of its user. Fewer blinks per minute limit the ability of meibomian glands to release oil and the lids to properly disperse it. Over time, the oil in these glands become stagnant, and rancid. This disrupts the “tear sandwich” (of oil, aqueous and mucin), leads to unstable tear film, increased osmolarity and inflammation at the ocular surface. In fact, meibomian glands dysfunction is the leading cause of ocular surface disease. Dr. Mei-Ling Chan Optometry uses a device call the iPen to measure the osmolarity (concentration of solutes) in our tear to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of her dry eye patients.
Restasis (cyclosporine 0.05%) has now become another tool in our ability to help our dry eye patients. It helps increase the eye’s natural ability to produce tears and reduce inflammation, and can now be prescribed by your optometrist to treat chronic moderate to severe dry eyes. It increases tear flow by decreasing the apoptosis (programmed cell death) of lacrimal gland tissue. It modulates T-cell mediated responses, reducing ocular surface inflammation. Its safety profile is much improved over the steroids often used to quelch the inflammation. Restasis also increases conjunctival globlet cell density which produces the mucin layer that makes up the basement layer of the tear sandwich. It is also now available in US as the first preservative-free prescription eye drop to be offered in a multi-dose bottle.
Timely and targeted treatment is vital to alleviate the symptoms of ocular surface disease, avoid long-term damage and improve quality of life. In fact, it is the pro-inflammatory markers, and proteolytic enzymes such as the MMP-9 protein in human tears, that cause epithelial cell disruption that leads to corneal staining and a cascade of common dry eye symptoms and damage to the ocular surface.
In addition to age, electronic devices, hormonal factors, many medications including birth control pills, anti-hypertensives, anticholinergics and SSRIs predispose many of us to ocular surface disease. Our modern Western diet, rich in omega-6’s, creates more Type II diabetics every year, causes inflammation within our body, all of which makes us more prone to develop dry eyes. Patients with systemic diseases like thyroid dysfunction, Sjogren, and arthritis are also more likely to suffer from ocular surface disease.
Visit us at Dr. Mei-Ling Chan Optometry in Barrie if you suffer from dry eyes.