Over the past 10 years, there have been several studies that have found a statistically significant link between dry eye disease and depression.
These studies used either dry eye screening (including patients diagnosed with depression and anxiety), population reviews, or population-based studies. Statistical analysis was performed and all these studies came to the same conclusion: there was a higher correlation between anxiety/depression with people diagnosed with dry eye disease or having symptoms of the disease.
Oftentimes, patientÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s with dry eye disease are asymptomatic due to their becoming desensitized over time. Previous symptoms become their norm and often times these patients no longer report long-standing symptoms for this reason. Regardless of the patientÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s subjective symptoms, all patientÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s exhibiting dry eye disease should be treated. Left untreated, dry eye disease can cause serious vision disturbances as well as permanent changes to the cornea, conjunctival, and eyelid.
Though seemingly acclimated, chronic stress on the eyes affects peopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s vision and affects their mood. Even the most competent, confident people can be affected by chronic health issues that eventually affect their mood and can cause depression. In our office, we give our patients ways to manage their dry eye disease based on objective findings in the absence of symptoms and, of course, when symptomatic.
In our office, we utilize several treatments which include Mibo Therma Flow, in-office Lid scrubs for blepharitis, eyelid steaming for meibomian gland dysfunction, and blepharitis. Another new treatment that we will provide is IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) and LLLT (Low-Level Light Therapy) which give immediate subjective improvement to patients suffering from dry eye disease.
Our IPL and LLLT treatment is a very exciting, patented technology. Prior to treatment, using a proprietary screening technology, we can perform a massive non-invasive screening in 3 minutes. This screening allows us to grade the degree of Meibomian Glands Dysfunction (MGD) as a routine test for every patient, and focus on the right pathology and treatment. From this screening, we are able to customize the treatment parameters for both the IPL and LLLT so that the best results can be achieved for each individual patient.
These treatments apply endogenous heat inside the eyelids whereby removing the blockage of the glands. This then allows the lipid portion of the tears to flow whereby preventing rapid evaporation of the water component of the tears.
Symptoms of dry eye can include:
Burning, itching, and tearing
Thick or watery discharge from eyes
Foreign body sensation in your eyes
Contact lenses discomfort
Nighttime driving difficulty
Blurry vision, transient vision, or eye fatigue
Having the above symptoms long-term affects a personsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ ability to work productively and enjoy their day-to-day life. We can see how the above symptoms can weigh on a person physically and emotionally and interfere with their day-to-day lives. Untreated dry eye disease also can cause a significant economic burden due to low work productivity.
Whether anxiety/depression leads to dry eye or that dry eye can cause or exacerbate anxiety/depression is irrelevant. The fact that there is a statistically significant link means improving dry eye should have a positive effect on anxiety/depression in that treatment will improve the suffering comfort and vision.