Do you have teary or watery eyes? Burning, itchiness, or a sandy feeling around your eyelids? Constantly rubbing them in the morning or after working on the computer? You might have dry eye syndrome. Contact us for effective and lasting treatment.
Our eyes need tears to nourish, sustain and lubricate our eyes. DES, which is usually caused by insufficient tears or poor quality tears, leaves our eyes parched. This results in a variety of unpleasant symptoms, such as itchy, red, and sore eyes. Many people suffer from this chronic syndrome without realizing that it can permanently harm their eyes. Because this is a progressive condition, it is critical to get treatment before symptoms exacerbate to the point that it harms the cornea. Without treatment or proper medication, DES often worsens over time.
What Causes Dry Eyes?
While over eighty percent (80%) of dry eye cases are due to blocked oil glands in the eyelids — a condition called meibomian gland dysfunction or evaporative dry eye — many other factors can cause this syndrome. These include: Gender – the majority of dry eye sufferers are women. This tends to be caused by hormonal changes, whether through the use of contraceptives, pregnancy or menopause. Age –there’s a higher prevalence of DES in those over 50 years of age Environment – dry wind, dry air and dry climates can evaporate the tears. Home and car heaters, air conditioners, fans and hair dryers also cause tears to evaporate. Medication – these include antidepressants, decongestants and blood pressure medications. Auto-immune disorders – Sjogren’s disease and arthritis, among others.
How Do I Know If I Have Dry Eye Syndrome?
Do any of these symptoms seem familiar?
Gritty, itchy, or stinging eyes
Excessive tearing and discharge
Eyes that feel tired or dry
Increased light sensitivity
Regularly using eye drops
Discomfort that worsens as the day progresses
Suffering from dry eye syndrome not only diminishes your quality of life but also makes daily activities such as reading, doing sports, or driving a struggle. Think you have dry eye syndrome? Get to the root of your eye discomfort by contacting us today.
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 Clifton area suffering from Meibomian Gland Dysfunction. If you suffer from any of these symptoms or think you might have MGD, contact the New Era Eyecare. Our doctors 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:
Burning and dry sensation
Difficulty wearing contact lenses
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).
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. our doctors 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. our doctors at New Era Eyecare 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 New Era Eyecare. Based on the degree of your condition, symptoms, and lifestyle, our doctors will recommend the best course of treatment for you. New Era Eyecare serves patients from in and around Clifton, Arlington, Sterling, and Alexandria and throughout Virginia.
Testimonial: “I went to the New Era Eyecare and everyone there was professional and courteous. our doctors 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.” References: 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.
The Sacleral Lenses
Enhanced Vision & Comfort with Scleral Lenses
What are Scleral Lenses? Custom-fit scleral lenses help patients with corneal irregularities achieve dramatic improvements in visual acuity and comfort. Scleral lenses vault over the cornea and prevent discomfort by resting on the sclera so as not to place any pressure on the cornea. This creates a new optical surface to replace the damaged cornea. Moreover, the reservoir of pure saline solution between the back surface of the lens and the front of the cornea ensures that the eye is always in a liquid environment – making it optimal for healing. Due to their size, scleral lenses are more stable on the eye than conventional GP lenses and are therefore less likely to accidentally dislodge from the eye. This stability makes them more comfortable, especially for sensitive eyes or irregularly shaped corneas. Moreover, all scleral lenses are made with highly breathable gas permeable material so that plenty of oxygen reaches the front of the eye, keeping it healthy and comfortable.
Types of Scleral Lenses These three categories are based on the lenses’ size and primary contact with the surface of the eye.
Corneo-scleral lenses and semi-scleral lenses are significantly larger than traditional GP lenses and rest near the junction between the cornea and the sclera.
Mini-scleral lenses vault over the whole corneal surface and rest on the anterior sclera.
Full scleral lenses are the largest in size and provide the most clearance between the back surface of the lens and the cornea.
The many benefits associated with scleral lenses render them a popular and satisfying choice for patients desiring a clear and comfortable vision. If you are interested in seeing if scleral lenses are right for you, our staff at New Era Eyecare help patients from all over Clifton or Arlington, Virginia. our doctors will provide a comprehensive evaluation and the highest level of care.
Scleral Lenses Provide More Comfort and Improved Vision Our patients report comfort as the most prominent feature of the scleral lens. Throughout the fitting process, we survey our patients on how the lenses feel, and not surprisingly, the usual feedback we get is “fine” or “I can’t feel them at all”. Traditional contact lenses are much smaller, typically 9 -10 mm in diameter. With each blink, the contact lens moves a bit over the cornea and the lid tends to roll over the edge of the lens as well. Many patients report being unable to wear them for more than a few hours at a time due to the discomfort. The scleral lens, on the other hand, is larger in diameter and spreads its weight over a much greater, less sensitive area so that when you blink the eyelid doesn’t catch the edge of the lens. Because the lens sits firmly on the eye, it offers more stable vision than traditional lenses. Moreover, having the lens vault over the cornea protects it from any abrasion caused by blinking or external irritants. It is made up of highly oxygen permeable materials and provides a soothing bath of artificial tears that refresh the ocular surface. Scleral lenses not only improve comfort but makes for more stable vision.
Who is a Good Candidate for Scleral Lenses? Anyone seeking to achieve the best vision with contact lenses is a great candidate for scleral lenses. That said, these lenses are particularly useful in managing the following conditions:
Hard-to-fit eyes: Those with an irregularly shaped cornea, whether due to natural causes, an eye condition (i.e. keratoconus), or complications following surgery, tend to develop vision problems which cannot be fully corrected using glasses or soft contact lenses, as the shape of their eye cause the lenses to easily dislodge. For those people, scleral lenses provide a more comfortable, secure fit and improved vision. Any of the following conditions can make wearing traditional contact lenses more challenging:
Giant papillary conjunctivitis (GPC)
Post-refractive surgery (i.e. LASIK, PRK)
Dry Eyes: Those with dry eyes may find traditional contact lenses difficult to wear. Scleral lenses provide a tear reservoir between the back surface of full scleral lenses and the cornea, keeping the front of your eye moist and comfortable.
Can Children Wear Scleral Lenses? Young children (over 6 months of age) with an ocular surface disease or severe dry eyes can benefit from wearing full scleral lenses, as they need to protect as much of the eye as possible. Mini-scleral lenses, typically ranging from 15.0mm to 18.0mm in size, and are a great choice for young children with normal corneas and high refractive errors or for those who have irregular corneas such as keratoconus. Mini-scleral are also great for kids who are intolerant to corneal GP lenses and want the comfort of a soft contact lens.
What happens during scleral lens fitting? We carefully map the patient’s cornea using the latest corneal topography equipment. This generates a detailed diagram of your cornea, which is used to make customized scleral contact lenses.
How difficult is it to insert and care for scleral lenses? Initially, inserting scleral lenses can be challenging. But after a short period, and thorough training by the optometrist, inserting and removing contact lenses becomes habitual. Scleral lenses are very durable, easy to handle, and are easy to care for once the patient is well trained.
What Changes Will I Notice with Scleral Lenses? Once you have been properly fitted for scleral lenses, you can expect to gradually see improvements in clarity, color and detailed contrast between multiple images and objects within your visual field. The comfort you’ll experience will enable you to wear your custom-made scleral lenses all day long so that you can keep doing all the things you love – but with better vision.
When Should I See An Eye Doctor Specializing in Scleral Lenses? If you are interested in seeing whether scleral lenses are right for you, make sure that the eye doctor you visit has the knowledge and experience required to correctly fit you for the lenses. Scleral lenses require precise customization, and every patient’s case varies in degrees of severity and corneal measurements. Specialized in scleral lenses, our doctors and the attentive staff at New Era Eyecare will ensure that you receive top-notch eye care for all your vision needs.
Does Insurance Cover Scleral Lenses? When it comes to scleral lenses, every insurance company is different. Some cover the examination and custom fitting, but not the actual lenses. Others may cover a portion of the cost or 100% of the cost, but only if other treatment methods have been exhausted. It’s important that you check with your specific insurance provider to understand the particulars of your scleral lens coverage.
Lasik & Refractive Surgery Co-Management
New Era Eyecare provides pre- and post-operative care for LASIK surgery patients in all locations.
Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis - is the most common refractive eye surgery today. Often referred to as laser eye surgery or laser vision correction, LASIK is used to treat myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. LASIK surgery is performed by an ophthalmologist that uses a laser or small blades to reshape your cornea. Once done, this result is clear, sharp vision close up and far away. For most patients, LASIK provides a permanent alternative to eyeglasses or contact lenses.
Who Is An Ideal LASIK Candidate?
Age: At least 18 years old.
General health: candidates must be in good physical health, and should not have specific health problems, such as uncontrolled diabetes, autoimmune or collagen vascular diseases.
Ocular health: LASIK patients should have no eye diseases, such as keratoconus, glaucoma, cataracts, corneal disease as well as retinal and optic nerve diseases.
Eyeproblems: candidates should let their eye doctor know about ocular problems, like amblyopia, strabismus, or any other conditions that may affect healing. Patients should be free of eye infections or injury.
Stablevision: the patients’ vision must be stable for at least one year prior to the procedure date. Because hormones may affect the stability of eye prescription, pregnant or nursing women are not eligible for LASIK surgery until three menstrual cycles have passed.
Corneal thickness: due to the nature of the procedure, patients must have a minimum corneal thickness of 0.5 mm.
LASIK candidacy is determined on a case-by-case basis that takes into consideration one's eye prescription, medical history and other health factors.
Specifics of The LASIK Procedure LASIK takes about 10 to 20 minutes to perform per eye. The healing is quick and you will generally experience results within 24 hours. LASIK is not a painful procedure, though you might feel some tugging or pressure on the eye. Here's what to expect during the procedure.
Your eyes will be numbed using anaesthetic eye drops
The eye surgeon will place an eyelid holder on your eye to prevent you from blinking and a suction ring to prevent it from moving. You will then feel pressure on your eyelid and your vision will be dim or black.
Using either a microkeratome or a laser, your ophthalmologist makes a paper-thin flap in the cornea tissue, lifts and then folds the flap back.
You will then have to stare at a light to prevent your eyes from moving, at which point the ophthalmologist will reshape your cornea using a laser.
Once the cornea has been reshaped, the eye surgeon folds the flap back down into its original position, where it heals naturally without stitches.
Immediately following the procedure your eye may itch and burn. Your vision will be blurry at first, but it should become clearer by the following day. After The Surgery Following the LASIK procedure, you may be prescribed some eye drops to help your eyes heal and stay moist. You may also be given an eye shield to cover and protect your eye. While you'll be able to see well enough to walk without glasses, you must not drive yourself home. You should rest your eyes as much as possible on the day of your surgery. You may find it more comfortable to keep the lighting at home dim. The next day, you should see well enough to drive and resume normal activities. Make sure not to rub your eyes until it is safe to do so. If you are currently using Latisse, discuss with your eye doctor how long after surgery to wait before re-starting. You’ll have a follow-up visit with your doctor a few days after the procedure to make sure your eye is healing well and there aren’t any complications. We provide pre- and post-operative care at our practice through a co-management agreement with your surgeon. Ask us for further details.
If My Vision Is Blurry After LASIK Even though most patients see clearly within a day or so after LASIK, it can take several months before your eyes completely stabilize. Until then, improvements in your vision can still occur in fits and jumps. If several months pass and your vision is still blurred, be sure to communicate and visit with your LASIK surgeon. It may be appropriate to have a second LASIK surgery to sharpen your eyesight further. If an enhancement is not required, eyeglasses or contact lenses can help. We will be happy to examine your eyes and discuss the options available to you. Post- LASIK Eye CareRemember to get your routine eye exams post-LASIK. Even with perfect vision, you still need to have your eyes examined for glaucoma and other potential problems on a regular basis. Contact New Era Eyecare in Clifton to learn more and to book your eye exam.
Post-LASIK Eyewear Even if your vision seems perfect after LASIK, you may still require eyewear. When outdoors, it’s critical to protect your eyes from the sun’s strong and harmful rays with sunglasses that provide 100% UV protection. It's important to note that LASIK cannot correct presbyopia, the normal age-related loss of near vision. Almost everyone with excellent distance vision will need reading glasses after around age 40. One solution is to have our doctors perform a monovision contact lens fitting. Monovision with contacts can reduce your need for reading glasses. To learn more and achieve excellent vision, contact New Era Eyecare in Clifton today.