Dry eye disease is a chronic disease that affects about 30 million people in the country. Some symptoms of dry eye include feelings of burning, stinging, or scratching in your eye, feeling like there is something constantly in your eye, blurred vision, red eyes, sensitivity to light, and overall eye fatigue. Many don’t realize they have dry eye and don’t seek treatment, said Dr. Chandra Mickles, an optometrist and Dry Eye Service Coordinator at Nova Southeastern University. People assume the irritation is unavoidable, natural wear and tear of the eye that can be alleviated by cheap, easy-to-use eye drops.
Mickles’ patients who have this diagnoses come in about every three to six months to have their meibomian glands heated, which melts the blockage and allows the eye to produce oil once again, she said. If left untreated, Mickles said the clogged glands will eventually atrophy, and people will lose function of it entirely. That’s irreversible.
“Over-the-counter eye drops aren’t getting at the root cause of the dry eye,” she said. “And if it’s not treated early, the symptoms will worsen and truly have an impact of peoples’ lives, and it may be too late by the time they come in to manage it effectively. So, the earlier people come in, the better.”
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