Dry Eye Center of Excellence
Technology for Better Diagnosis, Treatment
We are proud to be home of the Dry Eye Center of Excellence, featuring state-of-the-art technology and expertise that will ensure you receive the proper diagnosis and treatment. The center is overseen by our Director of Optometry, Eugene Shifrin, O.D., F.A.A.O, who takes pride in helping patients resolve this damaging and uncomfortable disease.
Dry eye is a common condition defined by the lack of enough quality tears to lubricate and nourish the eye. Tears are vital to maintain the health of your eye. Tears are also key to having clear vision.
While symptoms may range among sufferers, the condition can cause redness, irritation, light sensitivity, runny eyes, and many other symptoms. At the Arizona Eye Institute & Cosmetic Laser Center, we use the latest technology to diagnose your dry eye. Dr. Shifrin can test for specific quantitative numbers that allow him to narrow down exactly the prescribed treatment you need to resolve your dry eye.
A Closer Look at the Causes of Dry Eye
Dry eye can be the result of not producing enough tears, or producing tears that are of a poor quality.
Inadequate tear production: Age, medication and medical conditions can cause tear production to diminish. The glands in and around your eyelids can also be impacted by wind and dry climates that cause tears to literally evaporate and diminish their lubrication of the eye. A decrease in tear production can bring on dry eye symptoms.
Poor tear quality: Our tear film consists of three layers: an oil (lipid) layer, a water (aqueous) layer and a mucin layer. All three layers have to work together in fine balance to help maintain the health of our eyes and protect us from potential infection. When this balance is altered, the tears could evaporate too quickly and cause many of Dry Eye symptoms.
The most common cause of dry eye is an inadequate water layer, a condition called keratoconjunctivitis sicca, also known as Dry Eye Syndrome.
Dry Eye Diagnosis
While the symptoms of dry eye are one of the most common reasons patients seek out their eye doctor, the disease remains one of the most under-diagnosed.
At the Arizona Eye Institute & Cosmetic Laser Center, our Dry Eye Center of Excellence understands how important the diagnosis and treatment of dry eye is to your vision and your quality of life. We have invested in the latest technology to diagnose your dry eye.
Dr. Shifrin and staff use this technology to test for specific quantitative numbers to ensure he prescribes the correct treatment. While our doctors may be able to diagnose dry eye through a routine eye exam, many insurance companies will authorize use of our state-of-the-art technology that can confirm and clarify your diagnosis. We obtain the most precise diagnosis using our TearLab® osmolarity test. With this tool, we will collect a small tear sample, and test it for quality and salt content. This unique system can help us determine the best treatment for your individual needs.
Treatment for the Condition
At the Arizona Eye Institute, we offer a wide range of treatments for dry eye syndrome. We always begin with the most conservative option, and we will closely monitor your progress for optimal results. Treatments include:
- Eye drops: Prescription and over-the-counter eye drops are often the most effective treatments for dry eye syndrome. Some drops will simply increase moisture in the eye, while others can actually stimulate tear production. It is always best to check with your doctor before using drops, to ensure the right treatment.
- Nutritional supplements: In some cases, an increased intake of omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the symptoms of dry eye. Although flaxseed, fish oil, and BioTears® supplements are readily available, you should never attempt to treat dry eye without the supervision of your ophthalmologist.
- Lifestyle changes: Air conditioning, air fresheners, and even some skin care products can cause dry eye. Together with your doctor, you should pay close attention to your environment and anything that could be exacerbating or triggering your symptoms.
- Punctal plugs: If these more conservative treatments do not work, we may recommend punctal plugs. These small silicone devices are placed inside your tear ducts, and they prevent tears from evaporating too quickly.
Find Relief from Your Symptoms
Dry eye can take a huge toll on your comfort and quality of life. Fortunately, with our wide range of treatment options and our state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment, relief may be just around the corner. Contact us today to schedule your first consultation with our Dry Eye Center of Excellence.