Treating Dry Eye at GH Eye

Dry Eyes have been getting a lot of media attention. Even the Wall St. Journal recently published a detailed article “Why There Are More Dry Eyes in the House These Days” in their July 9, 2013 issue! There are probably about ten times the number of articles on dry eye in current eye care journals than there were ten years ago.

Why all the interest? One of the reasons is that how we diagnose and treat Dry Eye has become much more precise. Years ago, treatment was pretty much limited to handing the patient whatever bottle of lubricant eyedrops the last pharmaceutical rep left. That’s all changed because there has been so much more research into the causes and treatments of dry eye.

In addition to much more problem specific lubricating eye drops and ointments, we can also prescribe prescription eyedrops such as Restasis, Topical Steroid eyedrops such as Lotemax, Punctal Occlusion techniques and we even use low dose oral antibiotics such as doxycycline. Several pharmaceutical companies have new treatments for dry eye syndrome in the works.

The person who has dry eye corneal irritation because they sleep with their eyes partially open needs a different dry eye treatment than the patient who has arthritis related dry eye – or allergy related dry eye – or Lasik related dry eye – or corneal surface irregularity dry eye – or ‘meibomian gland dysfunction’ dry eye. We now have the ability to diagnose and treat different types of dry eye.

The most typical complaint we hear from people who have dry eyes is that there is a gritty sensation in their eyes. It may even feel as if there is something in your eye. Many people are surprised to find out that dry eyes can cause vision to be blurry. And, people who have both dry eyes and eye allergies are particularly uncomfortable.

For patients who have dry eye and/or allergic eye symptoms, I recommend an Ocular Surface Evaluation. This examination includes a detailed history and a determination as to whether the cause of your dry eye is excess evaporation of tears, inadequate production of tears, or is related other problems that can affect dry eye symptoms. This type of exam is typically covered by medical insurance (not vision plan insurance).

Whether your dry eyes are mildly annoying or very uncomfortable, we can help.

Dr. Ally Stoeger provides annual eye examinations, medical eye care, contact lens examinations and Lasik/refractive surgery co-management in the Gainesville-Haymarket area of Virginia.  GH Eye also has a superb collection of   high tech lenses and the latest in fashion frames.


Seeing vs. Seeing As Well As You Can

Google Glasses are in the news. These are eyeglasses with a smart pad embedded in the frame. They’re clever, expensive and available to select trendsetters.  But I think that  what should be in the news is that there are millions of Americans who go to school, work or drive with sub-optimal vision.

The saddest moments in my practice occur when I examine people no longer capable of clear vision because of eye disease or injury. The happiest moments occur when a patient picks up new glasses or contact lenses and sees clearer than they have in a long, long time.

But in between the people who may never be able to see clearly again and the people who are thrilled with their amazing  new vision correction, are a whole lot of people who are “seeing” — but not “seeing as well as they can”. This can include people who:

1. Have not had an eye exam in a long time

2. Have their eye exam performed by a doctor who makes minimal effort to fine tune the prescription or discuss current lens technology

3. People who increase the font, purchase over the counter reading glasses, or get bigger tv’s. Seeing magnified images may enable them to do a task like work on a computer or watch tv. But it does not provide the same comfort level as seeing a properly focused image through the best possible vision prescription. It’s amazing how much vision compromise people put up with because they just don’t realize how much clearer their world can be!

4. People who have had Lasik or Cataract Surgery several years ago. Their vision may have gradually changed but they have gotten out of the habit of seeing an eye doctor.

Passing a DMV or school screening means the person simply has MINIMUM required vision. Now wouldn’t you rather share the roads with people who see 20/20 and not just the minimum that DMV requires? And wouldn’t you rather have your doctors, plumbers, accountants, teachers, bus drivers or anyone else whose services you or your family use have perfect vision rather than “minimum” clarity? If an attorney is charging by the hour, I sure hope his or her vision is as efficient as possible. And if a contractor is reading a blueprint, I sure hope he is seeing all that tiny print really well.

I recently had the disconcerting experience of being in a doctor’s office where it was evident the doctor made an error because his vision was not as clear as it should be. When I mentioned he needed an eye exam, he just sort of said that he was ok because he has one eye that sees well at distance and the other eye works for reading and close vision. This doctor was confusing “seeing” with “seeing as well as he can”. He should have known better – but after many years as an eye doctor, I know how often I see people who have spent years not seeing as well as they can.

Vision is precious. Enjoy clear vision by having regular eye exams and utilizing today’s amazing frame, lens and contact lens technology. Be the best that you can be by seeing the best that you can see!

Dr. Ally Stoeger provides annual eye examinations, medical eye care, contact lens examinations and Lasik/refractive surgery co-management in the Gainesville-Haymarket area of Virginia.  GH Eye also has a superb collection of   high tech lenses and the latest in fashion frames.