What is dry eye disease?

Dry eye is one of the most common conditions affecting the eye. A multifactorial illness which leads to serious subjective problems and possible worsening of vision, dry eye disease has a complicated clinical presentation. Eye conditions and a whole array of other factors associated with the patient’s overall health, occupation, genetic predisposition, and the outdoor environment can all contribute to the onset of dry eye disease.

Dry eye is characterised by ocular symptoms and a changed surface of the eye, which are triggered by tear film instability or tear hyperosmolarity. The tear film is the first optical interface between the air and the eye, lubricating and cleaning the surface of the eye. It also protects the cornea, has an antibacterial effect, maintains homeostasis of the surface, and provides a small amount of nutrients to the corneal epithelium.

To better understand dry eye disease, it is important to understand the anatomy of the tear film, which is composed of three basic layers:

  • Lipid layer (outer, oily)
  • Aqueous layer (middle, water)
  • Mucous or mucin layer (inner layer, which is in contact with the cornea)

Each of these layers plays an important role in ensuring that the surface of the eye is lubricated properly and sufficiently. Each layer is produced in different types of glands, and impaired production of any of these layers may lead to dry eye disease. However, up to 86% of dry eye cases are due to excessive evaporation of the aqueous layer. This in turn is caused by insufficient production of outer tear film lipids, whose role is to slow the rate of tear evaporation. The lipid layer is produced in the meibomian glands, located in the upper and lower eyelids. When these glands are not functioning properly and cannot create a sufficient lipid layer, tears evaporate up to sixteen times faster than normal.

What can cause dry eye disease?
Various factors are involved in the development of dry eye, including certain diseases, medicines, activities associated with everyday work, vitamin A deficiency, dry environments, wearing contact lenses, and in some cases it may occur following laser eye surgery. However, dry eye disease may simply be a part of the ageing process.
Dry eye symptoms are diverse, ranging from mild, occasional eye irritation to severe pain and light sensitivity. The most frequent symptoms include:

Clients suffering from dry eye syndrome may feel increased discomfort during or after certain activities, such as watching television, reading, or working on a computer or smartphone.
Until recently, treatment of dry eye disease focused on alleviating unpleasant symptoms and preventing other complications. The most common therapy for dry eye disease is the use of lubrication – artificial tears, eye gels, or eye drops stimulating the production of natural tears. Surgical resolution is another step in the treatment of dry eye, particularly in severe forms of the disease with blocked lacrimal points or eyelid problems such as sagging. But now there is a non-invasive way to treat dry eye disease, using Eye-Light and My-Mask instruments combined with administration of autologous serum. The Eye-Light instrument administers polychromatic light, using warm impulses to stimulate the meibomian glands and restore their normal function. The therapy is administered around the orbital bones and to the cheekbones, stimulating meibomian gland contractions and thus increasing the secretion of lipids. This helps restore the lipid layer, which in turn slows tear evaporation. The My-Mask is a unique photobiomodulation therapy that has been used in various medical fields for several years (especially dermatology and dentistry). Emissions from a specific type of light at a set wavelength trigger endogenous heating in the eyelids. This therapy facilitates the release of fatty acids and lipids from the meibomian glands, stabilising the tear film lipids and reducing excessive tear evaporation. Complementary treatment with autologous serum, eye drops created from the client’s blood plasma, ensures a lasting effect of up to six months. A strategy combining these three methods can significantly improve the function of the meibomian glands, suppressing the symptoms of dry eye disease within one month.

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