Eyecare Center of Aitkin Blog | Aitkin, MN

Aitkin Office: 218-927-3213

312 Minnesota Ave N Aitkin, MN 56431

McGregor Office: 218-768-7000

241West Highway 210 McGregor, MN 56431

Eyecare Center of Aitkin - Eyecare and Services | Aitkin, MN

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By aitkineyeca32139567, Mar 13 2020 03:00PM

What is Lid Debridement?

Lid debridement is a treatment for dry eyes. It is a procedure for removing the accumulation of debris and biofilm that collects on the surfaces of the lid margins and contributes to meibomian gland obstruction and ocular surface inflammation, the major causes of dry eye symptoms.

Lid debridement is performed in our office. First the lids are warmed for several minutes to soften and loosen the debris. Next, a numbing drop is instilled to make the procedure more comfortable. Then a small, rotating, sponge that has been soaked in a lid cleansing solution is used to gently remove the debris and biofilm from the lid margins. It may take several “passes” to remove all the debris and biofilm.

The actual debridement takes less than 10 minutes.

Most patients note some mild irritation of their eyes and eyelids for the first 1-2 days, but then notice a reduction in dry eye symptoms. It is important to follow the instructions from your doctor to reduce the chances of debris and biofilm building up again. The procedure can be performed periodically as part of a recurring ocular surface hygiene program.

To find out if lid debridement is right for you, simply schedule an appointment with any of our doctors.

By aitkineyeca32139567, Mar 2 2020 04:00PM

What is a Meibomian Gland, and Why is it Important in Dry Eyes?

Meibomian glands are found in the upper and lower eyelids. These glands produce an oily substance that is part of our natural tears. This oil component of the tears provides lubrication when we blink and prevents evaporation of the water component of the tears. Each time we blink a small amount of oil is released from the meibomian glands. When the glands are not functioning properly you may experience dry eye symptoms, particularly your eyes may burn and feel scratchy, and your vision may fluctuate.

Meibomian glands may become plugged and a biofilm can form over the pores that release the oil. If a meibomian gland becomes infected it becomes red, swollen, and tender and is called a hordeolum (commonly called a stye).

There are many ways to keep your Meibomian glands healthy and producing the correct amount and consistency of oil. Hot compresses, lid scrubs, taking omega 3 supplements, eye drops, lid debridement, and gland evacuation are some of the ways to improve meibomian gland function. See your optometrist to find out if your meibomian glands are healthy.

By aitkineyeca32139567, Feb 21 2020 04:00PM

Are All Over-the-Counter Drops the Same?

You’ve tried several different eye drops but your eyes still a little red and feel dry and scratchy. So you stand in the drug store looking at rows of eye drops. What should you choose? Are they all the same?

No, they are not the same. Some of the drops are allergy drops; others are “get the red out” drops, still others are contact lens rewetting drops; and then there are dry eye drops.

Most of the dry eye drops are simply salt and water. This unfortunately is not effective for most people with dry eyes. They are good for rinsing out a foreign object, like sand, dirt, or even an eyelash. Our tears naturally consist of water, oil, and mucus, so a good artificial tear drop will try to mimic our natural tears, and so will contain more than salt and water.

To further complicate things the preservative in the bottle can cause irritation for people with dry eyes. Manufacturers overcome this problem by making preservative-free artificial tears and developing gentler, less harsh to the eye preservatives. As a general guideline, if you need to put drops in more than 4 times per day on a regular basis you are best off with preservative free drops. Otherwise we typically recommend a brand name artificial tear drop that mimics natural tears and has a “soft” preservative.

“Get the red out” drops, such as Visine and Murine, contain a chemical that constricts blood flow to the eye. That is how they make the eye look white. It is not a good idea to constrict the blood supply to your eyes on a regular basis. Furthermore, that same chemical has an addictive effect on the eye, causing the eyes to become redder when you try to stop using them. It is a much better idea to try to find the underlying cause of the redness.

Allergy drops can be just about as confusing. We recommend “ketotifen” which used to be by prescription but is now over-the-counter. This is a more potent and longer acting allergy drop than any other over-the-counter allergy drop.

By aitkineyeca32139567, Feb 11 2020 05:00PM

Tears: Not Just For Sad Movies

We are all familiar with the runny, salty fluid that comes out of our eyes when we cry. But tears are much more complex than you may think. Tears play a critical role for our vision and eye health. Here is a brief overview of tears:

Tears have 3 main components.

1. A watery component made up of water, salts, and proteins. The water forms a smooth surface on the cornea (the front surface of the eye) to allow light to be focused clearly inside the eye. Without water in the tears we would not see clearly. The salts and proteins have mild antibacterial properties to help prevent infections.

2. Mucus is a sticky substance produced in many part of the body. On the eye it serves as a way for the tears to “stick” to the cornea, helping the tears coat the eye without running off the eye. Too little mucus results in “watery eyes”.

3. An oil component that provides lubrication when we blink and prevents evaporation of the water component of the tears. Omega 3 fatty acids are the building blocks of the oil found in tears. If you are lacking the proper amount of oil in your tears, your eyes may burn and feel scratchy, and your vision may fluctuate.

The proper mixture of water, oil, and mucus is important for healthy tears. Healthy tears are in turn important for clear vision and comfortable, healthy eyes. Any disruption in the mixture of water, oil, and mucus can result in what is often called “dry eyes.” The symptoms of “dry eyes” can vary widely, from scratchy eyes all the way to watery eyes. Sometimes “dry eyes” feel fine but just don’t see clearly.

Fortunately problems with your tears can be detected during a routine eye exam. The doctors at the EyeCare Centers of Aitkin and McGregor can diagnose “dry eyes” and provide multiple treatment options to get your vision and eye comfort back to normal.

By aitkineyeca32139567, Feb 3 2020 07:00AM

Why Consider Daily Disposable Contact Lenses?

Contact lenses have been around for decades. Just like other medical technologies, contact lenses are continually improving. One major improvement has been contact lenses designed to be worn only once. Known as daily disposable contact lenses, these lenses have many benefits.

Convenient: wear them and dispose of them, no more cleaning or disinfecting

Comfortable: a fresh, new lens every time you wear contact lenses

Healthy: most sanitary way to wear contact lenses

Vision: clear optics every time

Quick and easy: less handling and less hassle

Daily disposable contact lenses are available for near-sightedness, far-sightedness, astigmatism, and even bifocals.

All 3 doctors at the EyeCare Centers of Aitkin and McGregor recommend and fit daily disposable contact lenses. Whether you are new to contact lenses or have worn contacts for years, we would be happy to help you decide if daily disposable contact lenses are the best option for you.

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