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Everything That You Need To Know About Blepharitis

What Is Blepharitis?

Blepharitis is the inflammation of the eyelids which causes sore and red eyelids. It will also cause crusty eyelashes.

Eyelid inflammation is actually more common than people imagine. American ophthalmologist and optometrists recently completed a survey and the results were very interesting. They stated that 37% and 47% of their patients respectively have had symptoms of blepharitis at some point.

This survey also revealed that younger people more often reported the symptoms of blepharitis when compared with other people. This is a contradiction to the conventional wisdom when it comes to eyelid inflammation. Fortunately, blepharitis can be treated before any serious damage is done to the eyelids or the eyes. However, this treatment will need to be prescribed by a trained eye care professional.

The Causes Of Blepharitis

There are several potential causes of blepharitis which you need to be aware of. The most common will be bacterial eyelid infections, dry eyes, fungal eyelid infections, and meibomian gland dysfunction. There are also parasites which can cause this problem such as Demodex eyelash mites.

Dry eyes and blepharitis will often occur at the same time. This has led to some confusion regarding whether blepharitis is caused by dry eye or if blepharitis causes dry eye. The two issues occur regularly together that some researchers believe that they are both part of a single chronic eye problem known as dry eye blepharitis syndrome or DEBS.

The supporters of this theory believe that dry eye is merely the late manifestation of blepharitis. They also believe that treating blepharitis will help to prevent, eliminate or reduce the dry eye symptoms which are faced.

Blepharitis is usually associated with an overgrowth of the bacteria which reside along the margin of the eyelids. This bacteria is also found at the base of the eyelashes. Over time, the bacteria will increase and this causes a biofilm. The biofilm will turn into a toxic environment and draw parasitic eyelash mites as they feed on this. The overgrowth of the mites will lead to a worsening of the eyelid inflammation which causes the cycle to start again.

The bacteria which create the biofilm will also create a substance which is known as exotoxin. This will cause an inflammation of the oil-secreting glands in the eyelid known as the meibomian glands. This will cause meibomian gland dysfunction which will worsen and cause any dry eye discomfort being felt.

There are certain skin conditions which blepharitis has also been associated with. These skin conditions include eczema, dandruff, ocular rosacea, and psoriasis. Pink eye will also generally occur at the same time as blepharitis.

The Symptoms Of Blepharitis

There are a number of symptoms of blepharitis that you need to know about. The most common include burning or stinging eyes, itchy eyelids, grittiness or the sensation of a foreign body on the eye. Other symptoms include irritated and watery eyes as well as crusty debris at the base of the eyelids.

It is important to note that the severity of the blepharitis will impact the symptoms that you face. Some of the symptoms may also be intermittent while others are constant. A loss of eyelashes has also been found to be a rarer symptom of this condition.

Blepharitis is also known to cause discomfort when wearing contact lenses. This has actually led to many people giving up on wearing their contact lenses.

To learn more about Blepharitis, please schedule an appointment with Dr. Bassiri at Fusion Eye Care.

Factors Associated With Dry Eye Syndrome

There are numerous factors that can make you more prone to having dry eyes. Some of these factors are:

  1. Extended Computer Use

When using a computer, laptop or any portable device with a screen like a smartphone or a tablet, our eyes tend to blink less frequently and less thoroughly, which leads to an increased rate of tear evaporation. Low tear quantities result in dry eyes.

  1. Wearing Contact Lenses

It is not easy to determine how much wearing contact lenses contributes to dry eye symptoms. However, one of the main reasons why people stop wearing contact lenses is dry eye discomfort.

  1. Aging

People of all ages can suffer from dry eye syndrome. However, the older you get (especially if you are over 50), the more likely you are to suffer from the condition.

  1. Menopause

Women who have reached menopause are at a higher risk of suffering from dry eye syndrome than men of similar age.

  1. Indoor Environments

Most indoor spaces have lower levels of humidity due to air conditioning systems and ceiling fans expelling water from the air. Low-humidity air promotes/increases tear evaporation which leads to dry eye syndrome.

  1. Outdoor Environments

Dry, windy and arid outdoor environments can all increase the risk of dry eye syndrome. Also, people who fly often, such as pilots, can be exposed to extremely dry and windy air which results in dry eyes.

  1. Smoking

Apart from causing dry eyes, smoking is also known to cause a plethora of other eyes problems such as uveitis, cataracts and macular degeneration. Smoking is not good for your eyes.

  1. Health Conditions

Certain chronic and systemic health conditions like Sjogren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, diabetes and thyroid-linked diseases are known to cause dryness in the eyes.

  1. Medication

Both prescription and non-prescription drugs like birth control pills, blood pressures medication, antidepressants, and antihistamines can increase your risk of suffering from dry eye syndrome.

  1. Eyelid Problems

Not completely closing your eyelids when blinking or during sleep – a condition known as lagophthalmos – can also lead to dry eyes. Lagophthalmos is said to be caused by aging and also cosmetic procedures among other cause. If left untreated, the condition can cause corneal ulcers in the affected eye(s).

On top of this, there are certain medical procedures like corneal refractive surgeries and LASIK surgeries that can increase the risk of suffering from dry eye syndrome. However, the dry-eye discomfort that arises from these procedures is usually expected to last for weeks.

People who suffer from dry eye syndrome should consult their doctor before undergoing any of the above-mentioned procedure as you may benefit the most from specialty contacts.

Using Fish And Flaxseed Oil To Relieve Dry Eye

Fish and flaxseed oil are a great source of vital fatty acids, which can prevent and treat dry eyes as well as provide other health benefits.

These benefits include reducing the risk for heart disease, as well as lowering the risk of chronic inflammation, which is linked to both cancer and strokes. Chronic inflammation may also be one of the underlying causes of Alzheimer’s disease and osteoarthritis.

Taking fish oil or flaxseed oil supplements daily can effectively treat the symptoms of dry eye, from redness to stinging to burning to visual disturbances. They can be used on their own or with eye drops. A large number of eye doctors are suggesting that patients with dry eyes take advantage of these supplements.

Studies have also shown that these fatty acids could reduce your risk for cataracts and macular degeneration.

Is fish oil or flaxseed oil the better option?

A lot of experts believe that fish oil is the best choice. This is because it contains both DHA omega-3s and natural EPA.

That said, there are other things to keep in mind.

* Either ground flaxseed or flaxseed oil will be the best option for vegetarians and vegans.

* The most affordable option on the market is ground flax seeds.

* Omega-3 fatty acids that come from fish are generally regarded as safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. That said, consuming fish oil can cause some individuals to experience nausea or other digestive issues, particularly when high doses are consumed. Additional side effects include acid reflux, bloating, pain, and an increase in burping. Thankfully, these risks can be reduced by taking lower doses of fish oil and consume the fish oil alongside a meal.

* In some cases, a fish oil supplement may have a fishy aftertaste. There are a few ways to address this problem. Refrigerating fish oil can make the fishy flavor less noticeable. There are also brands that advertise a fish-free flavor.

If you’re concerned about getting mercury poison from fish oil, you don’t have to be. When methylmercury is present in water, it winds up accumulating in the fish meat rather than the oil. There have been numerous tests of fish oil, and most of them have found little to no mercury in the supplements. However, if you’re worried about this, you can always take flaxseed oil instead.

Could MGD (Meibomian Gland Dysfunction) Be The Cause Of Your Dry Eyes?

MGD, which stands for Meibomian Gland Dysfunction, is classified as one of the more common eye conditions. You can get this condition when there is an issue with the tiny glands in the eyelids that assist with making tears.

How Does It Happen?

The Meibomian glands, which are named after a German doctor that studied these glands, makes the oil known as meibum. Mucus, water and meibum is what makes up the three-layers of what is known as tear film, which is the fluid that performs the function of making sure the eyes stay moist. It is the oil in this fluid which assists in preventing the layer of water over the surface of the eyes from drying up.

Changes to the quality or amount of this oil, or changes that occur in the glands can result in MGD. The more common type of this condition is known as obstructive MGD. This occurs when the openings to the glands become clogged. When the gland is clogged less of the oil is able to reach the surface of the eye.

Causes

Age is one of the contributing factors to this condition because the meibomian glands start to decrease as a person starts to age. Ethnicity also plays a role, and Asian people are around 3-times more prone to MGD in comparison to people from European ancestry. People who wear contact lenses are also more prone to developing MGD.

There are also medical issues that are linked with MGD. Some of these include:

  • Triglycerides and high cholesterol
  • Bacterial infections
  • Damaged or inflamed cornea or eyelid
  • Allergic conjunctivitis
  • Autoimmune diseases which include lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and rosacea

There are also medications that can result in issues with the production of meibum, which include:

  • Retinoids in anti-aging creams or acne medication
  • Medication that lower androgen
  • Estrogen replacement therapy

Symptoms

In the earlier stages, most people usually don’t exhibit symptoms. But as the condition progresses, the quality of the oil becomes weaker or progressively less in the tear film, and the eyes might start to itch, burn, become dry or irritated. Some people experience a feeling like dust or grains of the sand in the eyes.

The inner rims of the eyelids that appear rough or uneven is another classic sign of this condition, yet not every person will have it. Some people even experience blurred vision from time to time. The symptoms will usually become worse if you use a computer for extended periods or the air in your office or home are dry, which is often caused by heating or air-conditioning.

Understanding Scleral Lenses

While they are lenses, scleral lenses are specially designed to offer better performance than traditional contact lenses do. For starters, just like conventional contact lenses, the scleral lenses can and are used to correct vision. However, they are also used to restore the ocular surface even when other treatment options have failed.

As such, patients who are uncomfortable or do not get good vision using traditional contact lenses or glasses, or patients looking to treat certain eye ailments can turn to scleral lenses as a treatment option. In fact, while scleral lenses began as a specialty treatment option, they are now widespread and as popular as other treatment options, even for individuals with normal corneas.

Scleral contact lenses are custom-made for each patient’s eye which set them apart from regular contact lenses. When custom designing the lenses, each lens is fitted and shaped to vault over the cornea, thereby retaining a constant reservoir of fluid between the cornea and the lens. This, in turn, ensures that the users’ eyes remain hydrated all through while wearing the lenses. Additionally, the reservoir fluid helps to compensate the natural irregularities that a cornea may have, thereby enhancing one’s vision.

At Fusion Eye Care, we have specialized in fitting the scleral lenses. We design and make lenses that are highly permeable to oxygen which improves the comfort levels our patients get. However, we also ensure that our lenses achieve high-quality vision improvement, much the same as the rigid gas permeable lenses do. As such, our patients end up with soft lens comfort and improved comfort. In most cases, our patients say they do not feel the lenses at all, despite wearing them for hours.

Scleral Contact Lenses Design

For the scleral contact lenses, they tend to have a larger diameter. As such, while they are designed to vault over corneas, their larger design allows them to sit on the sclera – the white part of the eye. Consequently, users benefit from improved vision and at the same time, they enjoy better comfort as the lenses do not sit on the cornea. Typically, lenses that sit on the cornea are uncomfortable and more so among individuals who suffer from corneal irritation or individuals whose corneas are irregularly shaped.

As you can appreciate, such as lens design has numerous health benefits. They correct distorted and blurred vision, they promote the healing of the ocular surface, and they also protect the cornea from the eyelids and the general environment. Therefore, when compared to other lens designs, these are the best lenses on the market.

At Fusion Eye Care, we are passionate about our work and we fully appreciate that our products have the potential of improving our patients’ quality of life. As such, we work closely with each of our patients to get an optimal fit for the specialty scleral lenses. To furthermore differentiate ourselves from other eye-care providers, we have taken a keen interest in understanding what is needed to develop scleral lenses for patients with corneal irregularities. Therefore, regardless of the state of your eyes, you can rest assured that we will come up with a solution for you.

Importantly, we are constantly updating and expanding our knowledge of the lens technology. Our mission is to provide the best and greatest lens technology as a solution for their vision problems. At this point in time, the scleral lenses are the best lens technology available for the mass market. As such, we have made this our focus.

Conditions That Scleral Lenses Treat

  • Dry Eye Syndrome
  • Corneal dystrophies and degenerations
  • Stevens-Johnson Syndrome
  • Chemical and burn injuries
  • Keratoconus and ectasia
  • Post-corneal transplant
  • Eyelid abnormalities
  • Radial Keratotomy (RK)
  • Sjogren’s Syndrome
  • Graft vs Host Disease
  • Corneal ectasia (and many other complications arising from LASIK)

Scleral Cost

The cost of the lenses is not constant as they are customized for individuals. Therefore, the price of these lenses will vary from individual to individuals. Contact us with your questions.

Using Scleral Lenses

For individuals who have been wearing contact lenses, it will take some time to get used to these lenses. This is because the lenses sit differently and occupy a different position, hence the putting in and removal procedures for this particular lenses is different from the typical lenses. However, if you are new to contact lenses, you will get used to using them quite fast.

To learn more about scleral lenses, please call us today at (919) 977-7480. Dr. Bassiri and the Fusion Eye Care team look forward to ensuring you get help with your scleral lenses.

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