Dr. Marco Lombardo and his staff provide an effective service for the assessment and treatment of dry eye. Pathologic changes of the ocular surface are addressed according to a protocol which consists in performing a thorough eye examination, in the execution of the tear film break up time and Schirmer tests and, where required, by performing immunoassays test.
Normally, the ocular surface is kept moist by the production of tears by the lacrimal gland and the accessory localized in the mucosa of the conjunctiva. The tear film is distributed evenly on the surface of the eye, taking care to nourish the cornea and along with keeping the view clear.
The tear film is composed of three layers: the mucosal layer, the aqueous layer and the lipid layer. Each layer has a precise function for maintaining hydration of the ocular surface. When the eye is not able to produce in an appropriate or sufficient tear fluid, then it begins to suffer from a series of symptoms and signs that are enclosed in the dry eye syndrome.
The symptoms of dry eye are various, may include foreign body sensation in the eye, burning sensation in the eye, eye pruritus, presence of mucus in the inner corner of the eye and ocular redness. Typically, tear production decreases with age. Women suffer more often than men of dry eye. There are, however, some conditions systemic diseases that can cause dry eye such as hyperthyroidism, Sjogren’s syndrome and connective tissue. Taking certain medications, including beta-blockers, diuretics, and antihistamines, can cause dry eye.
The eye doctor can make diagnosis of dry eye during a complete eye examination. Some diagnostic tests, such as the Schirmer test or the tear film break up time test, support the specialist to quantify the severity of the disease and to monitor improvements associated with the therapy.
The therapy is directed to increasing the amount of tear film volume or to improve the quality and stability on the tear film. In mild cases, the signs and symptoms include ocular discomfort, which, however, can be solved, in most cases, with the continuous use of artificial tears. In the case of severe inflammation of the ocular surface, dry eye syndrome can be responsible for corneal degeneration resulting in opacification of the cornea and vision loss. In these cases, it will be necessary to administer anti-inflammatory eye drops and, if necessary, to surgeries to save the ocular surface.