Dry eyes affect many people in the community, and with different levels of severity. Dry eyes can occur when the eyes do not produce enough tears and there is increased tear evaporation or unstable tear composition.
People with dry eyes experience discomfort in the eye such as stinging, burning or scratchy sensations. In more severe cases, dry eyes can also cause blurring of vision and inflammation of the eye.
Treatment of Dry Eyes
Current technology of eye drops help improve the osmolarity tear film and repair damages of the dry ocular surfaces.
Some of these eye drops are specially formulated to counter the inflammatory component of dry eye diseases, and improve secretion of tears and the mucin layer of the tear film.
There are also a range of oral supplements available to improve dry eye conditions.
Lid Margin Diseases/ Meibomian Gland Dysfunction
Often, people experience eyelid margin diseases such as Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) and Blepharitis. Similar to dry eyes, most people report of common eye symptoms like discomfort or stinging sensation of the eyes and eye fatigue especially during the evenings. Some even develop an upper or lower eyelid stye or chalazion.
MGD is the blockage or other abnormalities of the meibomian glands that causes insufficient lipid secretion to tears. Without sufficient lipid secretion, the tears have a higher evaporation rate, leading to dry eye symptoms. It is also associated with an eyelid condition known as Blepharitis.
Blepharitis is the inflammation of the eyelid margin. Patients with this condition typically experience burning or stinging or the eyes, crusty debris at the base of the lashes, irritated eyes, itchy eyelids and grittiness or a foreign body sensation.
Management of Lid Margin Diseases/ Meibomian Gland Dysfunction
Patients with MGD or Blepharitis will be asked to apply a warm compress on their eyelids daily. The warm compress is to promote normalization of meibum/lipid secretion. Patients would have to use eyelid wipes (some with tea tree oil) to improve their lid hygiene and at the same time wipe the excess lipid that may be present after the warm compression is done. Lubricating eye drops or ointments may be prescribed to relief dryness symptoms. Systemic anti-inflammatory medication or supplements may be prescribed to promote normalization of MGD depending on the severity of the condition.
Stye or Chalazion
If the MGD progresses to a stye or chalazion, topical antibiotic and anti-inflammatory medications may be prescribed to aid healing. If there is no improvement, the patient may need incision and curettage of the stye or chalazion.
Incision and Curettage (I+C)
This procedure is performed under local anaesthetic. A small opening is made in the cyst, clearing any contents out and resecting a small section of the cyst wall.