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Electronic Devices And Dry Eye

Nowadays, screen usage has become a normal part of most people’s daily routine. Whether you use a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or other devices, the time you spend focusing on a screen can often be felt in your eyes.

Dry eye syndrome (DES) is an eye condition characterized by dry, uncomfortable, red, itchy eyes, and can be caused by several factors: poor quality tears, insufficient tears, allergies, environmental irritants, and spending excessive time staring at a screen. Left untreated, DES can cause corneal damage and scarring, and sometimes permanent vision loss.

If you think you have DES or are experiencing any of its symptoms, our The Dry Eye Center at Lucent Family Eye Care optometric team can help.

How Using Electronic Devices Can Lead To Dry Eye Syndrome

Several studies have linked digital screen usage to symptoms of DES. While research is ongoing, it’s already known that the following factors all play a role.

Reduced Blink Rate

smart devices and dry eye 640Our blink rate is reduced by 66% when staring at a digital device’s screen. This finding is significant because blinking less frequently increases the risk of developing dry eye syndrome.

Blinking is a major component in keeping the eyes feeling fresh and healthy. With every blink, the eye’s tear film is replenished and spread evenly across the eye’s surface. When that happens at a reduced rate, symptoms of DES can develop.

Even if you blink often enough, you may not be fully blinking, leaving a tiny gap between the upper and lower eyelids upon closure. This tiny gap causes a ‘dry spot’ on your cornea, which does not receive any replenished fresh tears and can compromise your eye comfort. So make sure that you fully shut your lids when you blink.

Recent studies have shown that incorporating a blinking exercise into your daily routine can reduce your DES symptoms. Consider setting up reminder that pops up on your screen every few minutes.

Reduced Tear Stability

A stable tear film keeps the eyes feeling comfortable and functioning optimally.

Mucin 5AC, a protein, is an essential component of a healthy tear film that helps the watery portion of the tears cling to the surface of the eye. A study in Japan found that employees who spent the most time in front of screens (7 or more hours per day) had the lowest amount of mucin 5AC in their tears. This led them to complained of DES symptoms, like itchiness and irritation.

The employees who endured the least amount of screen time from the group (less than 5 hours per day) had higher amounts of mucin 5AC in their tears, similar to those without DES.

Higher Rate of Meibomian Gland Dysfunction

The meibomian glands are the tiny glands that line the lid margin and secrete essential oils onto our tears. When these glands don’t function properly, an eye condition known as meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) occurs.

MGD is an umbrella term for gland complications that can lead to an altered tear film composition, ocular and eyelid discomfort, evaporative dry eye, and ocular surface disease.

Studies have shown that people who spend 4 or more hours staring at a screen have higher incidences of MGD and DES symptoms.

So, What Can You Do To Protect Your Eyes?

Here are a few tips that may help you combat symptoms of DES when using a digital device:

  • Take frequent blink breaks
  • Use a cool-mist humidifier near your work station
  • Avoid having a fan or air conditioner blow air directly into your face
  • Stay hydrated with water, fresh fruit or vegetable juices, milk or soups
  • Eat water-based dairy foods such as yogurts, smoothies, and oatmeal
  • Use artificial tears or prescription eye drops if necessary

The most important thing you can do for your eyes is to visit a dry eye optometrist. At The Dry Eye Center at Lucent Family Eye Care, we know how uncomfortable and even debilitating DES can be — and we’re here to help.

An eye doctor with specialized training and knowledge of DES can diagnose and treat the underlying cause of your condition and provide a range of effective, life-changing options.

To schedule your appointment and find the relief you need, call The Dry Eye Center at Lucent Family Eye Care in Burnaby today.

serves patients from Burnaby, New Westminster, Vancouver, and Surrey, British Columbia and surrounding communities.

References

Request A Dry Eye Appointment Today
You Have Dry Eye? Call 604-332-4424
Learn More About Dry Eye
Meibomian Gland Dysfunction Thumbnail 5.jpg

Meibomian Gland Dysfunction | A Leading Cause of Dry Eye Syndrome

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Dry Eye After LASIK

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Dry Eye After LASIK

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Dry Eye After LASIK

Many individuals with refractive errors like nearsightedness choose LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) surgery to correct their vision due to its safety and effectiveness. But dry eyes are a remarkably common after-effect of LASIK surgery, affecting up to 95% of patients who’ve undergone this procedure. In fact, dry eye symptoms are the primary reason for patient dissatisfaction after LASIK. Although symptoms of dry eye syndrome (DES) most commonly occur in the immediate postoperative phase and are generally only temporary in nature, some individuals develop chronic and severe DES that can negatively impact their quality of life.

twin femalesWhat Is DES?

Dry eye syndrome is a multifactorial condition that is characterized by a chronic lack of ocular lubrication, which can be caused by poor quality tears, insufficient tears, pollution, allergies, or irritants.

Some symptoms of DES include, but are not limited to:

  • Redness
  • A feeling of dryness or irritation
  • Grittiness – the sensation that something is stuck in the eye
  • Fatigued eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Watery eyes
  • Photophobia (light sensitivity)

To learn more about DES, visit our main Dry Eye page.

How Can LASIK Lead To Dry Eye?

During the LASIK procedure, some of the cornea’s nerves are cut, leading to reduced corneal sensitivity. The eye may respond to the decreased sensitivity by not sensing the need for lubrication, thereby producing fewer tears. This reduction in tear production is usually the culprit in post-LASIK DES.

LASIK surgeons are now aware that healthy tears promote healing following surgery. For this reason they perform certain screening tests prior to the procedure to ensure that DES will not significantly interfere with the outcome of LASIK.

What Are Risk Factors For Post-LASIK Dry Eye?

The following conditions increase a person’s risk of developing DES after undergoing LASIK surgery:

  • Having a high degree of myopia
  • Being above the age of 50
  • Being a female, especially post-menopausal
  • Having an autoimmune disease, such as Sjorgen’s syndrome
  • Living in a dry climate

How We Can Help Manage Your Symptoms

If you’ve undergone LASIK or are considering it for the future, know that we are here to help treat your DES symptoms, should any arise? At The Dry Eye Center at Lucent Family Eye Care, we provide dry eye relief to many patients who’ve had refractive surgeries and have helped make the healing process more comfortable. You don’t have to live with the discomfort of dry eye syndrome — speak with Dr. Linda Yee about finding long-lasting relief.

serves patients from Burnaby, New Westminster, Vancouver, and Surrey, British Columbia and surrounding communities.

Resources

Request A Dry Eye Appointment Today
You Have Dry Eye? Call 604-332-4424
Learn More About Dry Eye
Electronic Devices And Dry Eye Thumbnail.jpg

Excess Screen Time Can Lead To Dry Eye

Meibomian Gland Dysfunction Thumbnail 5.jpg

Meibomian Gland Dysfunction | A Leading Cause of Dry Eye Syndrome

Read Our Latest Posts
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Woman with Meibomian Gland Dysfunction

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Everything You Need to Know About Meibomian Gland Dysfunction

If your eyes itch, burn, sting, look red, or you have a constant feeling of something being lodged in your eye, you may have a condition called Meibomian (“my-BOH-mee-an”) Gland Dysfunction, or MGD. This condition is the leading cause of Dry Eye Syndrome.

Patients from throughout the Burnaby area suffering from Meibomian Gland Dysfunction. If you suffer from any of these symptoms or think you might have MGD, contact the The Dry Eye Center at Lucent Family Eye Care. Dr. Linda Yee can help you with the long-term relief you need.

What is Meibomian Gland Dysfunction?

Our tears are made up of three components: the lipid (oil) layer, aqueous (water) layer, and the mucus (sticky) layer. These components work in unison to lubricate and coat the eyes, keeping them moist and comfortable.

Your meibomian glands control the lipids in the eye (meibum) which combine with water and mucus in the eye area to create a thin film that consistently lubricates your eyes. Meibum is an essential part of your eye’s makeup as it prevents the evaporation of the eye’s tear film.

Meibomian Gland Dysfunction occurs when the meibomian glands fail to provide enough meibum. This can be triggered by various factors and causes the tear film to evaporate at a quicker rate, leading the eyes to feel dry and uncomfortable.

What Are the Symptoms of Meibomian Gland Dysfunction?

Depending on your specific case, your symptoms may be mild or severe, quick or long-lasting.

The most common symptoms of MGD include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Burning and dry sensation
  • Difficulty wearing contact lenses
  • Watery eyes
  • Red, sore and gritty eyes
  • Crusty or sticky eyelids

The increased use of air conditioning or heating systems in the summer and winter months may intensify symptoms. Humid climates, extreme temperatures, and dusty and windy conditions may aggravate eye dryness and itchiness as well.

What are the Causes of Meibomian Gland Dysfunction?

  • Age: MGD tends to manifest in older people, particularly in women during and after menopause
  • Taking certain medications: particularly retinoic acid (acne treatment), HRT (hormone replacement therapy for menopausal women), antidepressants, antihistamines, anti-androgen medication (used to treat prostatic hypertrophy).
  • Endocrine disorders
  • Pregnancy
  • Wearing contact lenses for an extended period of time.
  • Immune system disorders: atopic rosacea, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis and Sjogren’s syndrome.

Excessive screen time has also been linked to the development of MGD. Staring at a screen on your TV, smartphone, computer or tablet, causes you to blink less frequently. Blinking naturally moisturizes your eyes, and by doing so, clears any small particles that may have accidentally lodged in your eye. Less frequent blinking results in dryer eyes, which can harm the long-term ability of your meibomian glands to function properly.

What are the Solutions for Meibomian Gland Dysfunction?

Treatments for Meibomian Gland Dysfunction range from self-administered or practitioner-administered treatments and typically involve a few methods, such as artificial tears, heat application, and manual gland expression. Dr. Linda Yee usually suggests applying warm compresses over your eyelids as a first course of action. This gently opens the clogged glands and loosens the oil that may have accumulated. Warm compresses can provide temporary relief.

Further therapies used to manage MGD include omega-3 supplementation, topical antibiotics, oral tetracyclines to reduce the level of pro-inflammatory cytokines, corticosteroids, or topical cyclosporine.

People with MGD commonly purchase over-the-counter eye drops to lubricate their eyes. Unfortunately, these drops tend to provide only transient relief, because, without an adequate layer of Meibomian Gland oil, the liquid from the drops simply evaporate off of the eye. Dr. Linda Yee at The Dry Eye Center at Lucent Family Eye Care can recommend the appropriate eye drops or treatment for your dry eye case to improve your eye comfort levels.

Think You Have MGD? We Can Help

If you are suffering from any of the above symptoms or conditions, then reach out to the The Dry Eye Center at Lucent Family Eye Care. Based on the degree of your condition, symptoms, and lifestyle, Dr. Linda Yee will recommend the best course of treatment for you.

serves patients from Burnaby, New Westminster, Vancouver, and Surrey, British Columbia and surrounding communities.

“I went to the The Dry Eye Center at Lucent Family Eye Care and everyone there was professional and courteous. Dr. Linda Yee did a thorough evaluation and treatment. I’m happy to say that my eyes feel comfortable and my vision is back to how it was before the condition began.”

Jennifer P. Craig, Yen-Heng Chen, Philip R. K. Turnbull; Prospective Trial of Intense Pulsed Light for the Treatment of Meibomian Gland Dysfunction. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2015;56(3):1965-1970. doi: 10.1167/iovs.14-15764.

Request A Dry Eye Appointment Today
You Have Dry Eye? Call 604-332-4424
Learn More About Dry Eye
Electronic Devices And Dry Eye Thumbnail.jpg

Excess Screen Time Can Lead To Dry Eye

Dry Eye After LASIK Thumbnail.jpg

Dry Eye After LASIK

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