Dry Eye Centre in Calgary, Olds, Sundre, & Carstairs

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Relief for Dry Eye

Dry eye is more than an annoying feeling. When your eyes experience discomfort, dryness, or irritation, it impacts your daily activities. For example, you may increase behaviours like eye rubbing or squinting. Dry eye can affect your eye comfort and your vision.

Our eye doctors can help you find a solution. Your eyes deserve better. Visit us today so we can discuss available treatments to alleviate dry eye.

Dry Eye Explained

Dry eye can be temporary, but dry eye disease is chronic. But how do patients know the difference? 

If patients experience dry eye symptoms frequently or repeatedly, it’s likely dry eye disease. However, the best way to know for sure is an eye exam. We can help you understand what you’re experiencing and diagnose eye health to learn more about what’s causing dry eye.

Although feeling dryness is the most common symptom, patients may also notice:

  • Gritty, irritated eyes
  • Excessive tearing
  • Feeling something in the eye
  • Fluctuating vision
  • Burning or stinging eyes

Untreated, dry eye can be harmful to eye health. Excessive or prolonged dryness can damage eye tissues or cause corneal scarring, impairing vision and increasing the risk of infection.

Diagnosing Dry Eye

Our eye doctors may use many methods to diagnose your eye health, including technology, tools, and discussion. There’s a lot we can see through a microscope or scan, but it’s also essential to have a thorough conversation about your experience. Understanding your comfort level can help us recommend the best solutions for you.Our eye care team uses the Oculus Keratograph 5m, an imaging device (corneal topographer) used for meibography. Meibography devices examine the meibomian glands, which are crucial for creating quality tears. The noninvasive test can help us evaluate the glands and measure tear quality.

Our Dry Eye Treatments

Dry eye can be managed in a number of ways, from at-home care to in-office treatments. If your dry eye is caused by digital eye strain, lifestyle factors may be the best option for dry eye relief. However, suppose eye health or hygiene is a significant contributor, such as meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). In that case, in-office treatment may offer the most benefits.

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)

Intense pulsed light (IPL) treats dry eye by targeting the inflammation known to cause symptoms. IPL has been used to treat facial skin damage, as it emits light waves that stimulate collagen production. In addition to combatting dry eye symptoms, IPL can also be used to treat a variety of comsetic concerns, including smoothing skin around eyes and reducing red spots.

Collagen is a protein necessary for healthy tissue, including skin, joints, and structures in the eye. It’s the most abundant structural protein in animals, and it plays a significant role in cellular processes, including:

  • Tissue repair
  • Immune response
  • Improving skin hydration
  • Supporting skin elasticity

During IPL, the eyes are covered with opaque goggles, and the light waves work on the skin around the eyes. The treatment improves dry eye by affecting the tissues connected to the eye. Notable mechanisms include:

  • Light waves warm the meibomian glands, facilitating meibum expression. Meibum is a necessary oil in tears. It prevents tear evaporation and allows moisture to spread more easily across the eye.
  • The light wavelength is absorbed by blood vessels, decreasing the inflammation contributing to dry eye.
  • The light energy stimulates cellular activity in cells responsible for immune response and collagen production.

IPL reduces demodex mites. Although some demodex mites can help remove dead skin cells, overpopulation can cause infection and block healthy tear production. IPL treatment helps control their numbers.

Radiofrequency (RF) is a treatment borrowed from dermatology, warming the skin to activate tissue response to address a variety of skin concerns. The heat released from RF treatment can melt oil clogged in the meibomian glands. Clogged glands can contribute to poor quality tears and meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD).

RF treatment is similar to IPL, as both are noninvasive, painless treatments that use heat to increase collagen. However, RF treatments do not cover the eye. Instead, the RF is applied directly to the upper eyelid. An optometrist treats each eye for 10–20 minutes, gently massaging along the eyelid area.

Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) is a common eye condition affecting the meibomian glands. The glands are located along the edge of the eyelids and produce oils essential to healthy tears. When the glands are blocked or are not making enough oil, tears can evaporate too quickly, leading to dry eye.

The optometrist uses sterile tools to massage the eyelids, such as rolling forceps or cotton-tip swabs. The treatment stimulates the meibomian glands to express oil, called meibum. Although both the top and the lower eyelids can be expressed, it’s also common to express the lower lid only.

Some patients may experience discomfort, as it involves squeezing the eyelids, but it effectively improves meibomian gland function, resulting in relief from dry eye.

BlephEx is an in-office procedure. Using a patented handpiece, our optometrists precisely and carefully spin a medical-grade micro-sponge along the edge of your eyelids and lashes, removing debris and exfoliating your eyelids.

The procedure lasts 6–8 minutes in total. BlephEx treatments may be repeated every 4–6 months, according to your optometrist’s recommendation. Regular treatments improve eyelid hygiene and tear gland function, alleviating dry eye symptoms.

Artificial tears, or eye drops, can help lubricate your eyes, relieving some dry eye symptoms. Suppose you’ve used eye drops previously, but noticed increased symptoms. In that case, you may need a different brand or even preservative-free eye drops. Multiple brands are available, so consult with our eye care team for advice.

Eye drops can be easily applied at home or on the go, so you have instant relief wherever you are. Although eye drops cannot cure dry eye, artificial tears can be a convenient option for less severe dry eye symptoms.

Nutrition supports multiple body functions, including the quality of your tears. Although water makes up most of your tears, 2% of tears contain electrolytes, proteins, and oils to help spread moisture and prevent tear evaporation.

Eye nutrition can help nourish your eyes and support tear production. For example, omega-3 fatty acids (or fish oil) can help alleviate dry eye symptoms by reducing inflammation and improving the composition of the oily tear layer.

Visit Our Dry Eye Centre

Improving eye comfort is more than a convenience, it’s also medically beneficial. Treating dry eyes can make your eyes feel better and function better. Alleviating symptoms can prevent long-term eye complications.

Our eye doctors are available to assess your eyes and recommend options for your unique eye care needs. 

Contact us today to learn more about treatments available through our Dry Eye Centre.

Our Locations

Calgary

Find us steps away from Lake Bonavista across from Lake Bonavista Promenade. Please give us a call if you have any trouble finding us.

  • 739 Lake Bonavista Drive SE
  • Calgary, AB T2J 0N2

Olds

Find us at the corner of 50 Avenue and 52 Street. Don’t hesitate to give us a call if you have any trouble finding us.

  • 5202 50 Ave
  • Olds, AB T4H 1G9

Sundre

Find us on 6 Street just off Cowboy Trail. Don’t hesitate to give us a call if you have any trouble finding us.

  • 101 6 St SW
  • Sundre, AB T0M 1X0

Carstairs

Find us north of the Credit union in the same building as Mountain View Smiles Dental Clinic.

  • 208 10th Ave Unit 1
  • Carstairs, AB T0M 0N0
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