ocular surface disease (dry eye)

The Ocular Surface Disease Center

Dry, scratchy, irritated eyes and blurry vision are among the most common complaints encountered by eye doctors. These symptoms, often referred to as “dry eye,” can be a constant source of discomfort and can greatly impact your quality of life. However, dry eye is only a single component of a lesser known, broader condition called ocular surface disease, or OSD. While OSD can have a wide variety of causes, dry eye (the most common form of OSD) is a chronic disease that generally occurs when the eye does not produce tears properly or when the tears are not of the correct consistency and evaporate too quickly.

Once very limited, diagnostic technology for dry eye has progressed significantly in recent years bringing with it a wave of revolutionary new treatment options. Instead of simply aiming to mask OSD symptoms, The Ocular Surface Disease Center within our Elkhart office is one of the only area centers to specialize in identifying the unique source of your condition to create a customized treatment plan based on YOUR specific needs.

What are common OSD symptoms?

  • Excess tearing
  • Burning
  • Itching
  • Redness
  • Irritation
  • Pain
  • Blurry Vision/Fluctuation in vision throughout the day
  • Vision that improves with squeezing the eyes or blinking

How does The Ocular Surface Disease Center diagnose and treat OSD?

Dr. Ann Madden, OD, has been specializing in identifying and treating OSD for years. Diagnosis generally involves measuring the quantity and quality of your tears. She and our OSD team use a wide range of state-of-the-art tests to look for damaged cells and dry spots on the surface of your cornea. The position and function of your eyelids will also be examined to make sure there are no problems with tear distribution. Based on your results, your doctor will talk you through all of your treatment options before making the best recommendation for you. Your treatment may include one or a combination of the following:

  • Warm Compresses/Heat Masks
  • Artificial Tears/Gels/Ointments
  • Punctal plugs
  • At home Lid scrubs
  • In-office BlephEx eyelid deep cleaning
  • Omega 3 vitamins (HydroEye)
  • Blinking exercises
  • Sleep goggles or masks
  • Moisture chamber goggles
  • Changing skincare regimen and/or makeup
  • Prescription eye drops
  • Oral antibiotics
  • Amniotic Membranes

 What causes OSD and dry eye?

  • Aging
  • Menopause
  • Lack of sleep
  • Not drinking enough water
  • Not blinking enough
  • Dry or windy environments
  • Smoking
  • Heavy makeup use
  • Contact lens use
  • Use of a CPAP
  • Prior eye surgery (LASIK, cataract, eyelid, etc.)
  • Systemic conditions (rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disease, Sjogren’s syndrome, diabetes)
  • Certain medications
  • Eye drops that “get the red out”
  • Glaucoma medications
  • Overuse of preserved artificial tears or allergy drops

What is Blepharitis?

Blepharitis is one of the most common causes of dry eye. It is an inflammation of the meibomian glands (glands at the base of the lashes that produce the oil that keep the tears from evaporating to quickly). Over time these glands can become clogged with dirt, oil, and debris from make-up, etc. Once they are clogged, the tears are no longer the correct consistency to coat the eye. In addition, this can lead to sties.

How do tears work?

Tears are made up of three layers:

Mucin layer:
This is the base layer of tears. It works like a glue to keep tears on the eye.

Water layer:

This is the middle layer of tears and is produced by the lacrimal gland, which sits above the outer part of your top eyelid.

Oil layer:

This is the outer layer that helps prevent tears from evaporating. It is produced by the meibomian glands (located at the base of the eyelashes).

If any of these tear layers are not working properly, it can cause dry eye

What can I expect at my dry eye exam?

  1. A thorough review of your medical history
  2. Testing for tear quantity and quality
  3. Testing for the presence of inflammatory markers in tears
  4. A thorough exam of your eyelids, eyelashes, eyelid glands, conjunctiva, and cornea
  5. A treatment plan tailored to you
  6. A follow-up appointment to monitor your progress

Ready to schedule a dry eye exam?

Are your ocular surface disease symptoms due to a lack of tears, poor tear quality, allergies, or something else altogether? Call to schedule an eye exam at The Ocular Surface Disease Center.