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Dry Eye

The Link Between Dry Eyes and Depression

The Link Between Dry Eyes and Depression 640×350Depression is a serious illness that impacts a person’s mood and emotional well-being. It creeps into all areas of a person’s life, and can become life-threatening if left untreated.

Not only does depression impact mental health; it can manifest as physical symptoms, too, like insomnia, chronic pain and inflammation, weight loss or gain and heart problems, among others. These physical problems can worsen depressive thoughts — sometimes leading to a vicious cycle.

Interestingly, many patients with depression also suffer from severe dry eye symptoms. The question is, how are these two conditions related?

What is Dry Eye Syndrome?

Dry eye syndrome, also known as dry eye disease, is a chronic condition that results from inadequate lubrication of the eyes. Ocular hydration is crucial when it comes to keeping your eyes healthy and your vision clear. Your tears are responsible for maintaining this necessary hydration, and in healthy eyes fulfill their unique mission each time you blink.

Your tear film is made up of three layers, consisting of oil, water and mucus. If any of these layers become compromised, inadequate tear quality or insufficient tear quantity can result and lead to a host of uncomfortable dry eye symptoms.

The most common dry eye symptoms include:

  • Dry eyes
  • Red or irritated eyes
  • Itchy eyes
  • Gritty eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Blurry vision

Can Depression Cause Dry Eye (or Vice-Versa)?

This is what researchers are trying to find out.

In a March 2022 study published in JAMA Ophthalmology, researchers examined the link between depression and severe dry eye symptoms. The study followed 535 dry eye patients for an entire year.

After a year, the patients who tested positive for depression had more severe dry eye symptoms than the patients who didn’t have depression. Their symptoms were measured based on the Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI), Brief Ocular Discomfort Index and composite dry eye disease sign score.

Additionally, severe depression was associated with more severe dry eye symptoms at baseline, six months, and one year.

The study concluded that depression was associated with more severe dry eye symptoms, which suggests that among patients with moderate to severe dry eye syndrome, those with depression may be likely to have more severe dry eye symptoms.

The researchers said further research is needed to learn exactly why people with depression have more severe dry eye symptoms than those without depression.

Could the sometimes debilitating symptoms of dry eye syndrome actually cause depression and anxiety?

A 2016 dry eye study published in Nature concluded that chronic discomfort and pain from dry eye symptoms can negatively affect the cognitive processes, sleep, mood and mental health. The researchers urged eye doctors to be aware of the higher incidence of dry eye syndrome in people with depression, whatever the underlying cause.

Can Antidepressants Cause Dry Eye Symptoms?

Yes. Antidepressants have been shown to increase dryness in the body, including the eyes. These medications work by blocking signals between nerve cells, which can result in insufficient tear production and dry eye syndrome.

If you’re taking an antidepressant, be sure to inform your eye doctor during your consultation.

How We Can Help

At The Dry Eye Center at Exceptional Vision in Palmetto Bay, we recognize that some of our patients that come in with dry eye symptoms may be suffering from depression.

We’ll diagnose the cause of your dry eye symptoms and offer the most effective dry eye treatments to give you the relief you’re searching for.

Contact us today to schedule a dry eye assessment and take the first step towards regaining your quality of life.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Lianne Pino

Q: Who is affected by dry eye syndrome?

  • A: While dry eye syndrome is most common in adults over 50, it can occur at any age. The following factors can increase your risk of dry eye:
    – Aging
    – Hormonal changes
    – Medical conditions such as Sjogren’s syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis
    – Prolonged screen time
    – Living in a dry, dusty or windy environment
    – Eye allergies
    – Blepharitis or meibomian gland dysfunction
    – Certain medications, such as decongestants, antihistamines, antidepressants, hormone replacement therapy
    – Vitamin A deficiency

Q: How can you reduce your risk of dry eye?

  • A: While some dry eye risk factors can’t be avoided completely, making some lifestyle changes can help. Practice these recommended tips:
    – Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air
    – Wear wraparound sunglasses outdoors to protect your eyes from harsh winds
    – Take frequent screen breaks and blink often while using your digital device.
    – Quit smoking
    – Use lubricating eye drops
    – Consume a healthy diet including omega 3 and drink plenty of water.
    – Have regular eye exams

5 Ways to Prevent Dry Eyes During Air Travel

Dry Eye Air Travel Tips 640×350While traveling can be taxing on the entire body, the eyes are especially vulnerable — particularly when wearing a mask to protect from COVID. When traveling by plane, the dry air can cause your eyes to become red, parched and irritated. While you can’t control all variables during your travels, eye specialists have discovered a number of ways to reduce the chances of experiencing the unpleasant symptoms of “travelers’ dry eye.”

Here are five suggestions for preventing dry eye from affecting your vision.

Drink plenty of water. If your body isn’t properly hydrated, it will have a tougher time increasing tear production in a dry atmosphere. Humidity levels on planes are typically below 20%, which is lower than the Sahara Desert! Keep your eyes moist and comfortable by drinking plenty of water before, during and after your flight.

Wear your glasses. Since contact lenses remove moisture from your eye’s surface tear film, they can contribute to dry eye. Wearing your glasses can help keep your eyes moist.

Wear a sleep mask. Even when your eyelids are closed, your eyes might lose moisture, which happens frequently when you sleep. On a plane, a sleep mask can help prevent additional dryness.

Use hydrating eye drops. When you’re in a dry environment, a good hydrating eye drop can provide a brief respite.

Make sure your face mask fits snugly. When a person’s breath rises upward it can dry out their eyes. A face mask that fits securely around the bridge of the nose can prevent air from reaching the eyes.

Is dry eye making you miserable, especially when traveling? Put an end to the discomfort and struggle by contacting The Dry Eye Center at Exceptional Vision. Our dedicated eye doctors will get to the bottom of your dry eye and provide effective, lasting treatment.

Our practice serves patients from Palmetto Bay, Miami, Cutler Bay, and Pinecrest, Florida and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Lianne Pino

Q: Can dry eye be cured?

  • A: In some cases, yes. A range of successful treatment options can help manage dry eye for long-term relief. Your eye doctor can also provide in-office treatments for more advanced forms of dry eye disease.

Q: What type of treatments are available for dry eye?

  • A: Depending on the cause of the dry eye, treatment options include:
    – Lubricants
    – Punctal plugs
    – Topical steroids
    – Warm compresses
    – Protective eyewear
    – Intense pulse light
    – Switching to medications that don’t cause dry eye symptoms

Looking for dry eye treatment? Contact The Dry Eye Center at Exceptional Vision today!

What’s The Link Between Dry Eye and Accutane (Acne Medication)

Teen with severe acne wearing maskAccutane, generically called isotretinoin, is an oral medication that is widely prescribed to treat severe acne that hasn’t responded to other treatments.

Although this drug often does a great job of reducing acne, it has several potential side effects that can affect many bodily systems, including the eyes.

Isotretinoin and Dry Eyes

Isotretinoin works by decreasing the size of the oil glands that secrete oil onto the skin. By reducing the production of the facial oils, the pores become less clogged and the amount of acne diminishes.

As the medication travels through the bloodstream, it also penetrates the eyelids’ meibomian glands, which produce the oil for tears.

These meibomian glands, which line the inner portion of the eyelids, play an important role in keeping the eyes hydrated and healthy by secreting oil to stabilize the tear film. When Accutane suppresses their function, the oil layer in the tear is inadequate, allowing excessive tear evaporation. As a result, the eyes dry out.

A 2012 study published in JAMA Dermatology analyzed the ocular effects of isotretinoin and concluded that taking it places patients at a significantly higher risk of experiencing a range of adverse ocular effects.

Common ocular conditions that were associated with this acne medication were dry eye syndrome, blepharitis, conjunctivitis, photosensitivity, contact lens intolerance and papilledema.

The researchers found that the ocular conditions resulted from changes to the cornea, eyelids, retina and meibomian glands. Additionally, the drug was found in the tear film and caused increased ocular irritation.

The good news is that these effects are often temporary, and resolve within a few months after completing treatment. One study, published in Optometry and Vision Science (2015), however, found that 1% of patients developed permanent meibomian gland dysfunction after taking isotretinoin.

 

How a Dry Eye Optometrist Can Help

Some dermatologists will refer their patients to an optometrist for a dry eye evaluation before prescribing isotretinoin to treat acne. If the patient already has signs of ocular surface disease or is taking other medications that interfere with tear production, the doctor may decide against prescribing isotretinoin.

We can help by thoroughly assessing your ocular condition to help your dermatologist determine the best acne treatment for you, as well as help you manage your dry eye symptoms.

If you or a loved one is currently taking or has taken isotretinoin and is experiencing symptoms of dry eye syndrome such as eye irritation or burning eyes, we can offer lasting treatment and solutions.

To schedule your dry eye consultation or learn more about our services, call The Dry Eye Center at Exceptional Vision today.

 

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Lianne Pino

Q: Should I use lubricating eye drops while taking acne medication like isotretinoin?

  • A: Lubricating eye drops may be an appropriate treatment for medication-induced dry eye syndrome However always consult with your optometrist before purchasing drops from the drugstore. The huge range of choices in your local pharmacy can be hard to navigate alone, and not all eye drops will be right for you. We can help guide you to the best eye drops for your condition.

Q: What are the common symptoms of dry eye syndrome?

  • A: Common symptoms of dry eye syndrome include watery eyes, gritty eyes, burning or painful eyes, red and irritated eyes, mucus around the eyes, the inability to wear contact lenses, sensitivity to light and blurred vision. The frequency and severity of these symptoms can range greatly from patient to patient, and treatment will depend on the underlying cause of your symptoms.

Our practice serves patients from Palmetto Bay, Miami, Cutler Bay, and Pinecrest, Florida and surrounding communities.

Blinking Exercises for Dry Eye

Blinking Exercises 640×350Did you know that the average person spends around 7 hours a day looking at a screen? The glare and reflections from computer, smartphone, and tablet screens can reduce blink rates by as much as 60%. When we concentrate intensely we tend to blink less, which can, in turn, lead to dry eye syndrome.

Symptoms of dry eye syndrome include red and dry eyes, irritated eyes, blurred vision, painful or stinging eyes, light sensitivity and mucus around the eyes.

Blinking helps keep our eyes healthy and comfortable. With every blink, the ocular surface is cleaned of debris and lubricated, so less blinking means more irritation and dryness.

Below are a few blinking exercises to help you ensure that your eyes remain lubricated and refreshed throughout the day.

Blinking Exercises

Blinking exercises are simple to do and can be seamlessly integrated into your daily routine. These exercises should be done a few times an hour. Try alternating between the 2 exercises below.

1. Close-Pause-Pause-Open-Relax

  1. Without squeezing, gently close your eyes.
  2. Pause and keep your eyes closed for 2 seconds.
  3. Gently open your eyes and relax them.
  4. Repeat 5 times

2. Close-Pause-Pause-Squeeze-Open-Relax

  1. Without squeezing, gently close your eyes.
  2. Pause and keep your eyes closed for 2 seconds.
  3. While keeping your eyes closed, squeeze your eyelids together slowly and gently.
  4. Gently open your eyes and relax them.
  5. Repeat 5 times

The Importance of Fully Blinking

It’s important to fully blink to completely lubricate your eyes. If you’re only partially blinking, it can render your dry eye symptoms worse.

To find out whether you are fully blinking, just look at your eyes in the mirror. If they feel dry or appear red, or if you see a horizontal stripe of red blood vessels across your eyes, then you have been partially blinking.

If you’ve incorporated blinking exercises into your routine but are still experiencing eye irritation, you may have dry eye syndrome. We can diagnose the underlying cause of your symptoms, and offer a variety of dry eye treatments to alleviate any discomfort. Schedule an eye exam with The Dry Eye Center at Exceptional Vision today to receive effective, long-lasting relief.

The Dry Eye Center at Exceptional Vision serves dry eye patients from Palmetto Bay, Miami, Cutler Bay, and Pinecrest, Florida and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Lianne Pino

Q: What is dry eye syndrome?

  • A: Dry eye syndrome is caused either by insufficient tears or poor tear quality. Every time you blink, you leave a thin film of tears over the surface of your eyes. This helps keep your vision clear and your eyes healthy. If your tears don’t keep the surface of your eye moist enough, you will experience dry eye symptoms. Some medical conditions, certain medications, dysfunctional glands, allergies and environmental irritants can all cause dry eye symptoms.

Q: What are the symptoms of dry eyes?

  • A: Symptoms of dry eye include irritation; a gritty, scratchy or burning sensation; blurred vision; excessive tearing; and/or a feeling of having something stuck in the eye.

7 Ways to Wish Dry Eye ‘Goodbye’

7 Ways to Wish Dry Eye Goodbye 640×350There’s no reason to suffer through the uncomfortable, sometimes debilitating symptoms that can accompany dry eye syndrome. Living with chronically dry, red and irritated eyes can affect your productivity and overall enjoyment of life.

That’s why we’ve put together 7 of our top tips for relieving dry eye syndrome.

1. Stay Hydrated

The tears are mostly made up of water, supplied by the tear glands. People need to drink enough liquid to maintain a stable tear film, so if your body isn’t sufficiently hydrated, your eyes won’t be able to produce sufficient tears and will suffer the consequences.

Keep your water bottle at arm’s reach throughout the day. You can even sip on juices, broths and dairy or plant-based milk to keep your body and eyes properly hydrated. Many health authorities recommend drinking between 2-3 liters of hydrating fluids per day.

If your eyes have been feeling dry or irritated, try limiting your alcohol intake because it is a diuretic.

2. Use Artificial Tears

Artificial tears aren’t just great for making your eyes feel more comfortable; they also have protective properties that can prevent ocular surface damage from occurring or worsening.

The tricky part is choosing the correct drops for your specific condition.

By assessing your eyes, your eye doctor can determine what’s causing your eyes to be dry and recommend the most appropriate drops. There are numerous types of artificial tears on the market, and what may work for a friend or relative may not be the best option for you.

3. Up Your Omega-3 Intake

A healthy tear film consists of three layers: water, oil and mucus. An imbalance in any of these components can result in tears that evaporate prematurely. To ensure that your eyes can produce enough of the oils that stabilize your tears, include the recommended daily intake of Omega-3’s in your diet. You can take a supplement and/or eat foods like fatty fish, seeds and nuts.

*It’s best practice to speak with your healthcare provider before making any changes to your diet or introducing a new supplement to your routine.

4. Wear Sunglasses

Sunglasses not only reduce your glare symptoms and provide important UV protection but also effectively offer relief from dry eyes. Dry eyes are vulnerable to irritation from light winds that can dry out the eye’s tear film.

Whenever outdoors, wear a pair of protective wraparound sunglasses to minimize the effects of wind and seal out dirt and debris that can be carried in the breeze. For severe cases of dry eye syndrome, ask your optometrist about specific lenses or eye drops to provide even more relief from dry eyes.

5. Use a Humidifier

When the air around you is too dry, it pulls the remaining moisture from your tears, leaving your eyes feeling parched.

Humidifiers combat the dryness in any indoor environment by replenishing moisture in the air. Whether at work or home, use a humidifier to offset dryness, especially if you are using a fan, heater or air conditioner in the room.

6. Try Warm Compresses

Warm eye compresses are a great way to relieve symptoms of mild to moderate dry eye syndrome.

The gentle heat from a compress helps to soften any hardened oils that may be clogged in the little oil glands that line the eyelashes. Your oil glands will work more efficiently to deliver tear-stabilizing oils to your eyes’ surface once the glands aren’t blocked. Your eye doctor will instruct you on how to easily prepare a warm eye compress at home.

7. Visit Your Dry Eye Optometrist

Your [eye doctor] offers a range of successful options to treat your dry eyes to ensure you always have clear vision and comfortable eyes. Call your dry eye optometrist to have your eyes thoroughly evaluated and treated for long-lasting relief. There is a wide range of in-office treatments that can alleviate symptoms of dry eye syndrome and help your eyes feel refreshed.

To learn more about our dry eye services and schedule a consultation, call The Dry Eye Center at Exceptional Vision in Palmetto Bay today!

The Dry Eye Center at Exceptional Vision serves dry eye patients from Palmetto Bay, Miami, Cutler Bay, and Pinecrest, Florida and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Lianne Pino

Q: What are other symptoms of dry eye syndrome?

  • A: Aside from redness and dryness, dry eye syndrome can also cause watery eyes, stinging or burning, stringy mucus, blurred vision, grittiness, light sensitivity and difficulty wearing contact lenses. Symptoms can range from mild to debilitating, and from occasional to chronic.

Q: Does dry eye syndrome need to be treated?

  • A: If left untreated, dry eye syndrome can cause eye inflammation, corneal ulcers or abrasions and even vision loss in severe cases. Dry eye syndrome also puts a person more at risk of developing eye infections. If you have any symptoms of dry eye syndrome, contact us for a tailor-made treatment plan.

What Causes Bulging Eyes?

What Causes Bulging Eyes 640×350When you look at a pair of healthy eyes, you shouldn’t be able to see the whites of the eye above or below the iris. If some white is always visible between the iris and eyelid, the eyes are considered to be protruding out of their normal position.

The medical term for this condition is exophthalmos, or proptosis, and is thought to affect about 1 in 4,000 individuals worldwide.

Bulging eyes aren’t a standalone condition, but rather a symptom of another health problem. Several medical conditions can cause one’s eye or eyes to bulge, and the treatment plan depends on the underlying condition.

It’s important to note that a sudden bulging of one eye is considered a medical emergency and requires immediate attention.

Common Causes of Bulging Eyes

The most common cause of exophthalmos is thyroid disorders, especially Grave’s disease (hyperthyroidism). Thyroid eye disease is a condition that causes the muscles, eyelids and tear glands to swell, resulting in a bulging appearance.

Symptoms of thyroid eye disease can include:

  • Painful eyes
  • Dry eyes
  • Irritated eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Watery eyes
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Difficulty with eye movements
  • Pressure around or behind the eyes

Thyroid-related exophthalmos usually takes up to several months or years to manifest.

Other reasons for bulging eyes include:

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Neuroblastoma
  • Hemangioma
  • Bleeding behind the eyeball due to injury
  • Infection of the eye’s tissues
  • Lymphoma
  • Leukemia
  • Connective tissue disease
  • [Tumors]

What Should You Do If You Notice Your Eyes Protruding?

Sudden bulging should be addressed by a medical professional without delay.

Otherwise, schedule an appointment with your physician as well as your optometrist. Be prepared to answer questions about your symptoms, general health and family history to receive an accurate assessment and diagnosis.

How We Can Help

Left untreated, exophthalmos can lead to corneal dryness, inflammation of the eye tissue and dry eye syndrome. The eyes may not be able to close completely during a blink, making them prone to insufficient lubrication and hydration.

We can treat your dry eyes and relieve some of the uncomfortable symptoms associated with bulging eyes. Treatment will be tailor-made to meet the needs of your eyes and overall health status.

To schedule a consultation, call The Dry Eye Center at Exceptional Vision in Palmetto Bay today!

Our practice serves patients from Palmetto Bay, Miami, Cutler Bay, and Pinecrest, Florida and surrounding communities.

 

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Lianne Pino

Q: What is dry eye syndrome?

  • A: Dry eye syndrome (DES) is a condition characterized by chronic eye dryness that can be caused by genetic, environmental and other factors. Very often, it is caused by malfunctioning glands that secrete nourishing oils into the tear film. Symptoms of DES can include redness, irritation, watery eyes, blurred vision, light sensitivity, stringy eye mucus and eye pain.

Q: Can dry eye syndrome harm eye health?

  • A: Left untreated, dry eye syndrome can cause corneal ulcers, which may lead to permanent vision loss. If your eyes are giving you any trouble, speak to a dry eye eye doctor, who can diagnose the problem and help you achieve the relief you seek.

What to Know About LASIK and Dry Eye

Woman Teary Eye Winter 640×350LASIK surgery is a remarkably safe and effective procedure. That said, no surgery is without risks, even if uncommon.

One of LASIK’s side effects includes dry eye, characterized by dry, itchy, red, watery and gritty eyes. It is caused by insufficient tears or poor quality oil in the tears that prevent the eyes from being properly lubricated. Our eye doctors will guide and educate you on dry eye after LASIK so that you understand what to expect during the healing phase of the procedure.

Book an assessment at The Dry Eye Center at Exceptional Vision to determine your likelihood of developing dry eyes after the laser procedure and address the condition so you can fully enjoy clear vision.

What’s Connection Between LASIK Surgery and Dry Eye?

During LASIK, a laser is used to cut a flap of the cornea, which lets the eye surgeon reshape the cornea with the laser.

Though we use the most advanced technologies to ensure the highest levels of safety and precision, creating corneal flaps can occasionally result in temporary damage to the corneal nerves. This causes the nerve impulses that control tear production to be interrupted. In most patients, as the cornea heals, the nerves heal as well, thus resuming regular and healthy nerve function. Flap complications are incredibly rare among those who closely follow the post-surgery instructions provided to them. However, if they do occur, our highly skilled eye doctor will address the issue and offer optimal treatment.

It is estimated that 50% of people who undergo LASIK surgery report dry eye symptoms in the following days and weeks. In the majority of cases, the dry eye symptoms subside on their own.

Some patients may have experienced dry eye symptoms before surgery. They might even have opted for LASIK due to discomfort when wearing contact lenses, not realizing that this discomfort might be caused by a pre-existing case of dry eye syndrome.

Whether the presence of dry, itchy eyes precedes LASIK surgery or is an aftereffect, it’s important to assess the risks of developing or exacerbating dry eye syndrome following the procedure.

Are You At Risk for Post-LASIK Dry Eye?

Prior to undergoing LASIK surgery, you’ll get a full eye exam. These tests may include:

  • Tear breakup time tests
  • Schirmer’s test
  • Corneal imaging
  • Tear osmolarity and inflammation
  • Meibomian gland evaluation

    A tear breakup test involves putting fluorescent dye on the surface of the eye to measure tear distribution and when the tears “break up.” For a Schirmer’s test, the doctor places a strip of paper under the eyelids to monitor tear production.

    Corneal imaging uses non-invasive devices to assess the cornea and tear film without actual contact with the eye. The tear osmolarity and inflammation tests collect tears from the inside of the bottom eyelid to test protein levels that can signal a higher level of salt content and risk of inflammation in the tears.

    What Increases the Risk of Developing Dry Eye?

    • Aging
    • Menopause
    • Medications, including antihistamines
    • Autoimmune diseases
    • Hot, windy or dry conditions and climates
    • Pollution or poor quality air

    Older patients, particularly post-menopausal women, and those suffering from autoimmune conditions such as Sjogren’s syndrome, are more likely to have dry eye symptoms following the procedure. Those taking allergy medication and living in hot, dry climates should also take precautions.

    How to Prevent Dry Eye Caused by LASIK Surgery

    Your eye doctor may recommend the following for patients who are at high risk of developing dry eye syndrome after LASIK surgery as well as those who have pre-existing symptoms:

    • Punctal plugs
    • Omega-3 fatty acids
    • Lubricating eye drops
    • Prescription medication
    • In-office treatments

    Punctal plugs reduce eye moisture loss by blocking tear drainage tunnels. Omega-3 fatty acid supplements and lubricating eye drops can stimulate moisture in the eye before the procedure. Your eye doctor may prescribe eye drops or use a range of effective in-office dry eye treatments.

    Schedule your appointment to assess your risk of dry and to discuss any questions you may have regarding LASIK and dry eye syndrome.

    Our practice serves patients from Palmetto Bay, Miami, Cutler Bay, and Pinecrest, Florida and surrounding communities.

     

    Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Lianne Pino

    Q: What Are Some Natural Remedies for Dry Eye Syndrome?

    • A: Consuming foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids such as fatty fish and flaxseeds can stimulate the oils that are essential for tear quality. Warm compresses, gland expression and eye massage can often relieve clogged glands in the eyelids and provide relief. Maintaining eyelid hygiene and wearing protective sunglasses can also reduce symptoms.

    Q: What Are the Most Common Dry Eye Symptoms?

    • A: Along with dry eyes, some of the symptoms of dry eye syndrome may include redness, an itchy and burning feeling, stringy mucus, grittiness and excessive eye-watering.