With Dry Eye Syndrome, because different diseases can cause very similar symptoms, a specific disease is often difficult to diagnose. Without a correct diagnosis, treatment may be ineffective. Similarly, if more than one disease exists at the same time (co-morbidity), diagnosing and treating only one of the conditions will not result in complete ocular comfort. Therefore, it is imperative in the treatment of Dry Eye to have all of the conditions properly diagnosed so that targeted treatment is assigned for each condition.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Dry Eye
All of the diagnoses may occur simultaneously and all of the treatments may begin simultaneously although not always. Sometimes it is prudent to prioritize the treatments so that patients can experience immediate relief of symptoms while some other more problematic conditions are addressed at a later date. If the conditions are untreated or inadequately addressed, more and more co-morbidities may afflict the eyes and eventually extreme pain and even blindness may occur. Consequently, it is very important to seek care and treatment early before the condition becomes severe, particularly if simple treatments, such as administering lubricating drops or applying warm compresses, do not provide relief.
As Dry Eye sufferers, we understand the frustration you may be feeling as you go from doctor to doctor to doctor seeking help. Do not give up. It is our hope that the information on our website will help guide you through your journey to health. Our help, however, does not replace the care of an eye specialist. We encourage you to seek care with an experienced ophthalmologist who specializes in ocular surface and external diseases.
Common treatments include lubricating eye drops, warm compresses, and various lid scrubs. For the mildest cases or where there are no complicating factors, such as allergies to medications or more severe co-morbidities, these treatments can be effective. However, in many cases, there are complicating factors and co-morbidities that require more specialized or additional treatments. Consequently, to experience relief from the symptoms of Dry Eye and the many possible co-morbidities, we cannot stress enough how important it is to treat conditions that have been properly diagnosed. These two, diagnosis and treatment, go hand in hand.
Frequently patients will try anything to get some relief — the shot gun approach — and become discouraged when the treatments do not work. In these cases it is highly likely that the treatments undertaken were for different conditions or there may be other conditions, not yet treated, which present with similar symptoms. That is why an accurate diagnosis is a very important first step in achieving eye comfort.