Dry eye is an uncomfortable condition that affects millions of Americans. With symptoms ranging from pain, redness and burning to blurred vision and heavy eyelids, dry eye can manifest itself differently from person to person. Increased awareness and new treatments are making dry eye an important part of glaucoma care.
Glaucoma specialists are becoming well-versed in dry eye treatment because dry eye often accompanies glaucoma. Glaucoma is a family of diseases that is characterized by increased eye pressure. When eye pressure reaches a dangerous level, it can damage the optic nerve and cause permanent vision loss. Dry eye does not always precede glaucoma diagnosis. In fact, many glaucoma patients develop dry eye as a reaction to medicated eye drops that are prescribed to lower their eye pressure.
Treating dry eye in glaucoma patients is important because dry eye can affect specific eye tests that are routine for glaucoma patients. These tests include visual field tests, optical coherence tomography (eye mapping) and topographical measurements for cataract surgery.
This new information about dry eye and glaucoma care is causing glaucoma specialists to consider other glaucoma treatment methods that may not increase risk for dry eye. Procedures like microinvasive glaucoma surgery and selective laser trabeculoplasty are two newer glaucoma treatment options that are not known to cause dry eye. There is also a new therapy that uses intracameral drug delivery systems that offers exciting options. Glaucoma specialists are optimistic about using these new treatments because this means that patients will have an array of choices without the unwanted side effects.
If you or someone you love has glaucoma, it is essential to schedule regular comprehensive eye exams to prevent vision loss. Discuss treatment options with your doctor and consider all choices before making a final decision. By staying current with your eye exams, you can preserve your vision and have clear eyesight for years to come (Source: Ophthalmology Times).