Eye Doctor Finds Hidden Epidemic of Dry Eye Key to Contact Lens Success and Students' Vision Problems in Northern Colorado Climate

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Established in Northern Colorado in 1985, Fort Collins Eye Doctors-Dr Kisling provides comprehensive eye care services including contact lenses, unique eye glasses, and treatment of eye disease including dry eye syndrome. Recent advances in knowledge and vision care have revealed a treatable, hidden epidemic of dry eye syndrome that causes blurred vision, contact lens discomfort, problems treating glaucoma, pink eye, and eye allergies.

Doctor in Fort Collins,CO cites an epidemic of Dry Eye Syndrome that is increasingly resulting in undiagnosed vision and eye problems. Since we have started focusing in on preventative eye health and maximizing the moisture of the eyes, our patient satisfaction with their contact lenses has gone up dramatically. We are fortunate that recent advancements in eye care training, nutritional supplements, and contact lens comfort technology allow us to fit contact lenses successfully on patients who struggled daily with comfort problems, or could not wear lenses at all . Now we treat dry eyes to ensure our contact lens wearers enjoy the best comfort and quality of vision available.

The dry eye epidemic has multiple causes.
     *Time spent by adults on computers and youth on video games dramatically lowers the normal blink rate and causes the eyes to dry out faster than normal. This often results in vague eyestrain complaints when schools start back in session.

     *Historically, before mass consumption of processed foods, for every unit of omega-3 fat we consumed in our diet we ate 1 to 4 units of omega- 6. Today, due to processed foods that ratio has shifted to 20-30 times more omega- 6 fats in our diets than omega-3. This has caused an outbreak of disease of the eyelid margins and resultant poor tear film quality.

     *As the population has aged there has been an increase due to normal, age related decreases in tear production. The large increase in prescription medication use has resulted in numerous drugs being used that contribute to dry eyes. Medications for blood pressure, depression, allergies, pain, and many other conditions can have drying effects.Millions of women treated with hormonal replacement therapy in the past may have increased the dry eye epidemic.

     *With the shift to industrialized society many aspects of our past healthy lifestyles have changed. Working indoors, the patterns of airflow and humidity have been altered and affect the incidence of dry eyes. The long term shift away from water consumption towards caffeinated beverages and colas aggravates dry eyes in some individuals. Even the increase in obesity leads to low grade inflammation in the body which can decrease tear production.

This is not just a concern for contact lens patients but also with glaucoma treatment in Fort Collins and other chronic eye conditions requiring ongoing prescription eye drops. Many eye drops, prescription and over the counter drugs, cause or aggravate dry eyes, to the point that some patients discontinue their treatment and suffer sight loss.

Contact lens comfort technology is the wave of the future. Exciting new breakthroughs in polymer technology allow contact lens materials to retain the eyes' moisture. Contact lens solutions are emerging that can continue to work for several hours after a single drop. Dry eyes can lead to complications and infections if not addressed when wearing contact lenses. With the school year just around the corner, it is not too early to start thinking about teenagers requesting contact lenses. Daily disposable contact lenses not only help address any dry eye issues in youth but also reduce concerns about daily lens hygiene.

Eye Nutrition changes in the diet and with supplementation is becoming more common as a growing body of research supports how well it works. We are at the beginning stages of individualizing nutritional eye recommendations.

Prescription eye drops are the workhorse to get people started with relief. Several medications such as Restasis are available today to jump start the attack against the dry eye epidemic.

Computer and video games have given rise to a new syndrome, computer vision syndrome. Dry eye treatment is often a large part of remedying the eyestrain and blurred vision that accompany it. Often times, patients are expecting a change in their eye glass prescription but the underlying cause of blurred vision is dryness and poor tear film quality.

Perhaps the worst culprit in the dry eye epidemic is LASIK eye surgery. The nerves that drive the eyes to blink are cut by the surgery and dryness is a frequent complaint after surgery. The dryness occasionally persists as a long-term complication and requires ongoing therapy.

Fortunately we have many options today including implanting micro-plugs in the tear ducts to help increase the tear fluid levels.

Dr. David Kisling is the founder of Fort Collins Contact Lenses and Fort Collins Eye Doctors-Dr Kisling. He is one of small number of optometrists in the nation with a special interest in Lacrimology, or the study of the treatment of Dry Eyes, and a member of the:
Ocular Surface Society of Optometry (OSSO)
Optometric Nutrition Society
University of Houston, Doctor of Optometry, Summa Cum Laude
More information is available by calling 970-226-0959 or online at http://www.drkisling.com.

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Dr. David Kisling, Optometry

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