Joanna Schneider, age 59, has experienced severe dry eye symptoms for three years. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, she enjoys an active, outdoor lifestyle in sunny Florida. But her dry eye symptoms started to get in the way of the activities she loves. Running marathons, walking, and taking pilates classes all became more difficult.
“During the running and allergy seasons, I started noticing worse scratchy, itchy eyes,” Joanna said. “My regular eye doctor gave me different eye drops to use, but nothing worked.”
Diagnosed With Dry Eye
At first, Joanna believed simple seasonal allergies were to blame for her symptoms. She even completed rigorous allergy tests, but they all came back normal. That’s when she was referred to Dr. Kimberly Riordan, Dry Eye Center Head at Florida Eye Specialists. Dr. Riordan diagnosed her with dry eye syndrome.
Dry eye disease causes symptoms like blurred vision, stinging or burning, a “gritty” sensation in your eyes, and eye fatigue. These symptoms happen because the eyes don’t produce adequate tears.
Dr. Riordan explained that hormones play a critical role in developing dry eye. This is why women are twice as likely to develop dry eye disease as men.
“There are conditions women are more prone to than men due to our hormones,” said Dr. Riordan. “Dry eye is much more common in women, especially as we age and after menopause.”
Joanna was also taking medication to treat another condition that may have worsened her dry eye symptoms. Unfortunately, many medications can exacerbate dry eye, including antidepressants, birth control pills, and antihistamines. When patients confuse dry eye symptoms for allergies, taking antihistamines can worsen symptoms.
Dry Eye Treatments Put Relief In Sight
Before receiving treatment for dry eye, Joanna explained how difficult managing her symptoms could be.
“It was really impacting my life in general, especially with work. I was having to wear my glasses instead of contacts, because my eyes would be so scratchy and irritated. I work a lot on the computer, and my eyes would burn, and I would look worn out. It was frustrating,” Joanna said.
Thankfully, Dr. Riordan started Joanna on different treatment options to get her feeling better. First, medicated eye drops for dry eye helped, but the real breakthrough came when Joanna tried LipiFlow® Thermal Pulsation treatment.
“It was like night and day,” Joanna said. “My eyes feel good now!”
LipiFlow therapy applies gentle energy, warmth, and massaging to help open blocked eye glands known as meibomian. This allows the eyes to produce the needed tears again. A clinical study showed that about 79% of patients reported improved dry eye symptoms after one LipiFlow treatment.
It took Joanna several weeks to notice the effects of her LipiFlow treatment. After that, the benefits of the procedure lasted all year. She recently had another treatment in February.
Joanna also noticed a big difference in her dry eye symptoms after changing contact lenses to a thinner, water-soluble contact. She also takes Omega-3 supplements, lubricating eye drops twice a day, and allergy eye drops to help during allergy season.
Don’t Wait for Dry Eye Pain Relief
Joanna would encourage anyone who experiences dry eye symptoms to see a specialist like Dr. Riordan for help. “There are so many options, so many things you can try if you’re not feeling better,” she said.
She also expressed gratitude for the eye care she received from Dr. Riordan and the Florida Eye Specialists team.
“The whole group, everyone is really great and professional. Dr. Riordan is always supportive, and she’s always available whenever you have questions. She’s knowledgeable, helpful and on time. It’s just been great,” Joanna said.
If you are experiencing gritty, tired, or uncomfortable eyes, the Florida Eye Specialists team is here to help. We are the only Dry Eye Center of Excellence in the area. Schedule an appointment today.