In the past, dry eye was just a symptom of a more significant eye issue. However, today, dry eye has gained its own place at the table as an actual medical condition. Increased awareness and new treatments are making dry eye an important component of glaucoma care.
Thanks to the advertising and campaigning of actress Jennifer Aniston, dry eye has gained national recognition. Estimates of the prevalence of dry eye ranges anywhere from 7.8 percent of the population to 48 percent. As a result, glaucoma specialists are paying close attention to dry eye because eye dryness often accompanies glaucoma. In fact, some glaucoma patients who do not experience dry eye at the time of glaucoma diagnosis develop dry eye as a reaction to glaucoma drops and medication.
How Does Dry Eye Affect Glaucoma?
Dry eye can create challenges in glaucoma care because it interferes with testing such as visual field tests, optical coherence tomography (eye mapping) and topographical measurements for cataract surgery. Tear film has refractive properties, especially the anterior surface of the precorneal tear film. The other main challenge dry eye creates with glaucoma treatment is non-adherance to drops because of irritation from dry eye.
Glaucoma Treatment Options
Microinvasive glaucoma surgery and selective laser trabeculoplasty are two glaucoma treatment options that are not associated with dry eye. A new therapy uses intracameral drug delivery systems, or drugs deposited inside the eye. Having an array of treatment choices ensures that patients receive quality treatment without the unwanted side effects.
In addition, dry eye treatments have advanced to make dry eye more treatable. One treatment involves a device being inserted into the nose to stimulate tear production. Dry eye diagnostics are improving as well.
Importance of Comprehensive Eye Exams
If you have glaucoma or dry eye, make appointments for regular comprehensive eye exams with your eye care professional so you can stay one step ahead when it comes to eye disease. Glaucoma-related vision loss is irreversible, so the best way to preserve your precious gift of sight is to stay current with your eye examinations and screenings (Source: Ophthalmology Times).