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We Are Dry Eye Experts

There are millions of Americans suffering from vision issues caused from dry eye. This condition happens when your eyes don’t make enough tears, or when your tears don’t work correctly.

At Eye Care of La Jolla, our dry eye specialists understand the significant symptoms and complications Dry Eye Syndrome can cause. But, the good news is: if you have dry eye, Eye Care of La Jolla offers a variety of treatment options to keep your dry eyes healthy and stay comfortable.

We use the most advanced techniques to diagnose the underlying causes of dry eye and create custom treatment plans aimed at providing long-lasting relief for our patients.

How Can I Tell If I Have Dry Eye Syndrome?

Dry eyes cause a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Burning or stinging sensations
  • Heightened sensitivity to light
  • Blurry vision that becomes worse over the course of the day
  • Gritty or scratchy feelings in the eyes
  • Foreign body sensation (feeling something is stuck in your eyes)
  • Feeling like your eyes are tired
  • Increased irritation from smoke, dry air or wind
  • Mucus discharge from the eyes
  • Periods of heavy tearing

    Dry eyes can also cause significant discomfort with contact lens wear. The condition almost always affects both eyes.


Dry Eye Syndrome is related to the quality and quantity of your tears and the way your tears are spread across the eye surface. Today, many people experience dry eyes as a result of occupations that cause them to stare at computer screens for long periods of time without blinking. Other common causes include:

  • Exposure to fumes, smoke, or other pollutants
  • Prolonged use of some medications, like antihistamines or decongestants for allergies, acne medications, hormones, and high blood pressure medication
  • Problems with the eyelids, including entropion (inward turning of the eyelid) and ectropion (outward turning of the lid)
  • Autoimmune diseases including Graves’ disease and Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Problems with the quality of tears, including an imbalance in the amounts of water, oil, and mucus that comprise healthy tears
  • Problems with the tear ducts that prevent tears from being produced or distributed

There are a number of treatments for Dry Eye Syndrome, with new options being constantly developed. At Eye Care of La Jolla we know there is no one-size-fits all treatment for your dry eye, so we offer a variety of surgical, topical, and natural treatments, including:

  • BlephEx®: This is a gentle in-office procedure that cleans the eyelids using a medical-grade sponge and alleviates both blepharitis and dry eye symptoms.
  • Artificial tears: Lubricant eye drops are used to treat the dryness and irritation associated with deficient tear production.
  • Restasis®: Restasis is a prescription eye drop that reduces inflammation and increases your eye’s natural ability to produce tears.
  • Punctal plugs/Cautery: Punctal plugs are small medical devices inserted into the tear duct (punctal) of an eye to block the duct. This prevents the drainage of natural tears from the eye. Thermal cautery may be used to secure the tear duct permanently.
  • Topical steroids: An anti-inflammatory eye drop therapy.
  • Eye compression masks: Moist heat compress that relieves dry eyes.
  • Vitamins: Omega-3 fatty acids (especially DHA and EPA) may help decrease symptoms or irritation that dry eye causes. Foods such as salmon, tuna, flaxseed, chia seeds, soy, and nuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
  • LipiFlow and TearCare: In-office treatments that help you get to the root of dry eye disease. *See below.
LipiFlow Thermal Pulsation Machine

LipiFlow treatment deals directly with the most common root cause of dry eye syndrome. It provides a warm and gentle heat to the eyelids while simultaneously applying a gentle massage.

This combination effectively removes the blockages in the meibomian glands and allows them to secrete the clogged oil.

After a session of LipiFLow treatment, the glands will be able to resume their natural production of oil for the tear film. With a sufficient oil layer in the tear film, the tear won’t evaporate too quickly, ensuring a much healthier eye surface. One session can offer significant relief to patients suffering from dry eyes and Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD).

TearCare is an in-office treatment for people who suffer from dry eyes. It uses electrothermal devices to warm your eyelids and unblock clogs associated with meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD).

The process is “blink-assisted”, in that the devices conform to your eyelids so you can blink during treatment, which takes advantage of your eye’s natural system of expressing meibum (oils that help keep your eyes moist) while blinking.


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What is Meibomian Gland Dysfunction?

Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) is a blockage or some other abnormality of the Meibomian glands. These glands are in the eyelids and produce the protective oily layer of the tear film. This oil helps protect the ocular surface from disease and prevents the watery part of the tears from evaporating when your eyes are open. Without these oils, our eyes become more susceptible to the negative effects that dry climates, air conditioning, computer use, reading, and other daily activities can have on the long-term health of our eyes.

MGD is associated with dry eye syndrome. It also is connected with an eyelid problem called Blepharitis.

MGD Identification

During your eye exam, the Dry Eye Team at Eye Care of La Jolla will look closely at your eyelids to inspect the gland openings. We will check your gland function and gland structure.

Gland Function

Function is evaluated by assessing how the glands respond to gentle force, approximating that of a deliberate blink. The blink health, which is crucial to maintaining gland function, is assessed by determining the completeness of each blink. Reduced gland function is correlated with symptoms of eye discomfort and eye redness.

Gland Structure

Structure is observed and captured with high definition gland imaging. Structural compromise, which is otherwise invisible, can be identified and documented with gland imaging. Structural compromise is unlikely to be reversible. Failure to treat obstructed glands is likely to lead to further structural compromise.