New York City, New York (PRWEB) March 08, 2013
Dr. Jacqueline Muller has shown that treating keratitis sicca (dry eye) can improve the quality of the ocular surface of a patient’s eyes, decreasing their eyestrain, thus decreasing the frequency and severity of that person’s headaches.
Dry eye can decrease visual acuity, causing ocular discomfort and eyestrain, which in susceptible individuals, can lead to headaches. Fortunately, physicians and scientists have made tremendous progress in the diagnosis and treatment of dry eye.
Taking the History
Dr. Muller recommends that ophthalmologists elicit symptoms referable to dry eye such as eyestrain or fatigue, ocular discomfort, burning, redness, intermittent blurry vision and/or soreness. It is also important to inquire regarding the patient’s medical conditions, medications with potential ocular side effects, the number of hours per day a person reads and uses a computer, information regarding contact lens wear, and environmental allergies.
On examination, the physician should look for signs of dry eye and perform tear osmolarity testing. Dry eye can lead to varying degrees of corneal irregularity. When this irregularity is moderate, or moderate to severe, and overlying the visual axis (pupil), it can decrease a person’s vision both qualitatively and quantitatively.
The Thought Process
It is common for people to develop this irregularity of the surface of their eyes after hours of intense visual tasks such as reading, driving a car, watching T.V. or working on a computer. When engaging in these visually demanding activities, people often develop symptomatic dry eye which leads to eyestrain.
Dr. Muller hypothesized that, cumulatively, hours of eyestrain could trigger headaches. To test this hypothesis she treated patients with both headaches and dry eye aggressively, improving the irregularity of the surface of their eyes and decreasing their symptomatic eyestrain. This decreased the frequency and severity of headaches in over 90% of the people she treated.
“I began aggressively treating all of my patients who had both headaches and dry eye”, Dr. Muller reported. “I explained my hypothesis to them and asked if they were committed to aggressively treating their dry eye in an effort to decrease or eliminate their headaches”.
“I educated my patients regarding their dry eye condition and counseled them to control as many exacerbating environmental factors as possible. I also discussed decreasing any medications that might exacerbate their dry eye. Because I prescribed numerous medications, I recommended that they create a spreadsheet to ensure their compliance. One month later, I examined their eyes again”.
Dr. Muller found patients to be highly motivated. After one month of treatment, greater than 90% of her patients were significantly better on examination and reported amelioration or elimination of their headaches.
“It has been my experience that once patients achieve positive results they are extremely motivated to work with their ophthalmologist to maintain the benefit”, Dr. Muller said. The next step was determining the minimum dry eye treatment regimen that would keep each patient symptom free.
Dr. Muller strongly recommends that eye care professionals inquire about headaches in patients with dry eye to ascertain whether that patient might benefit from aggressive dry eye treatment.
Jacqueline W. Muller, MD is a Cornell, Harvard and Yale educated and trained board certified ophthalmologist whose New York City practice focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of Dry Eye and on Laser Vision Correction (LASIK, LASEK, PRK, refractive surgery). She has been featured on The Today Show because of her expertise. She holds an attending staff appointment at The NY Presbyterian Hospital- Weill Cornell Medical Center and a teaching appointment at Weill Cornell Medical College. Dr. Muller is a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the Medical Strollers of New York City. She is a Weill Cornell Medical College Alumni Association Board Member and a founding participant of The Nantucket Project. More information on Laser Vision Correction and Dry Eye can be found at http://www.laser-eye-surgery.com and http://www.dryeyespecialist.com.