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Dry Eye Treatments

Carlsbad Eye Care is one of a few ophthalmology clinics in the U.S. that are certified as a Dry Eye Center of Excellence. We are the only eye clinic in San Diego County that offers Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) therapy for dry eyes, blepharitis, and ocular rosacea. Dr. Tracy is Board-certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology and completed his fellowship in in Corneal and Refractive Surgery at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, in Miami, FL.

Dr. Tracy believes patient care comes first. At Carlsbad Eye Care, you will never have an assistant perform your procedure. Dr. Tracy is 100% hands on and present for every consultation, procedure, and post-operative visit. For more information on dry eye syndrome, or to book an appointment with Dr. Tracy, please book your appointment online or call (760) 603-9910. If you would like to learn more about dry eye syndrome and how it affects you, please continue reading below or visit the dry eye syndrome page on Mayo Clinic!
Dry Eye Syndrome (DES) is one of the most common eye disorders. The most common cause that ophthalmologists see in cases of dry eye disease is meibomian gland dysfunction. The meibomian glands produce the lipid layer of the tear film, which prevents the premature evaporation of tears.

Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) leads to inflammation and bacterial infiltration of the gland. The bacteria contain lipases that alter the polarity of the tear and allow its quick evaporation, as well as further block the meibomian glands. This results in blurred vision, eye pain, irritation and redness, and swollen eyelids.

Diagnosis and Dry Eye Treatment

Diagnosis of dry eye is easy upon examination of the patient’s lids and glands and additional tests such as corneal staining. Treating DES, however, is more difficult. Many times, Dr. Tracy will prescribe prescription eyedrops. Drops can improve tear film, alleviate inflammation and infection, and perhaps help the meibomian gland itself. Using warm compresses and lid scrubs is also helpful. If these methods of dry eye treatment prove impractical or ineffective, patients with MGD may undergo Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) treatments, which break the cycle of blepharitis and dry eye syndrome.
IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) Treatment for Dry Eye Syndrome
Dry Eye Treatment Carlsbad
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) is not a laser, but a light-based therapy. It has long been used in dermatology to treat vascular facial lesions, rosacea spots, and pigmented areas. Filters are used to apply specific wavelengths of light to target abnormal blood vessels in the eyelids and skin that are often responsible for causing eyelid inflammation and Meibomian Gland Dysfunction
Most treatments for dry eyes only help with some of the symptoms. Dr. Tracy uses IPL therapy to improve symptoms and the meibomian gland’s function.
IPL works in 3 ways to improve meibomian gland function:

•  IPL acts as a powerful warm compress to liquefy the thick secretion plugging the gland.

•  IPL closes the microvasculature that feeds the inflammatory mediators to the gland that inhibit normal function.

•  IPL improves the pumping mechanism of the meibomian gland during blinking.
When the function of the meibomian gland improves, recurrent blepharitis ends.
Typically, patients need 1 IPL treatment per decade of the patient’s age (thus, 4 treatments for someone who is 40, 5 treatments for someone who is 50, etc.). Patients will receive each dry eye treatment spaced 1 month apart. The endpoint is the proper functioning of the lid glands. A small minority of patients may not respond to treatment. If their meibomian glands do not improve after 3 treatments, they are considered to be non-responders. In studies, fewer than 1% of treated patients were non-responders.

In Many patients with dry eyes also have associated rosacea and blepharitis. IPL therapy can treat dry eye disease, as well as ocular rosacea and blepharitis
Dry Eye Treatment Carlsbad
If you would like to know if you are a good candidate for IPL therapy, please view or download this Skin Type Questionnaire! 
What to Expect After IPL Therapy

After dry eye treatment, patients generally report a subjective improvement in their dry eye symptoms. On examination, patients with small dilated blood cells (telangiectasia) at the lid margin will have less dilated blood cells after only one treatment. Glands will show more fluid secretions when pressed. The lid margins are clearer. After several treatments, the lids and skin have better cosmetic appearance. In some patients, glands that were not functioning at all will have normal secretions that can be expressed. Warm compresses can help open the glands to improve expression. Although compresses may have been ineffective before IPL therapy, they often alleviate symptoms afterward. After patients complete their initial treatment regimen, they generally return for one maintenance dry eye treatment once per year.

Dry Eye IPL Treatment FAQs

Question: What does IPL stand for?
IPL stands for Intense Pulse Light. This therapy can treat dry eye syndrome as well as skin disorders.
Dry Eye Treatment Carlsbad 
Question: Is IPL a laser?
No, IPL is a treatment that uses rapid and intense pulses of light to treat dry eye syndrome. 
Question: Can IPL also be used on the face?
Yes. IPL or intense pulse light therapy can be used to treat rosacea and other skin problems on the face as well as ocular conditions such as blepharitis and dry eye syndrome.

Question: How effective is IPL therapy?
IPL thrapy is very effective. If traditinonal therapies for blepharitis and dry eyes, such as artifical tears, warm compresses, medications, and plunctal plugs, have not worked, IPL is an advanced treatment option. Depending on your age, you will need multiple treatments.

Question: What are the benefits of IPL treatment?
Patients who receive IPL treatment typically notice their symptoms lessen within the first week. With each additional treatment, they will see improved tear function alleviating their dry eye symptoms.

Question: Is IPL treatment expensive?
IPL therapy can cost anywhere from $400 to $700 per treatment, depending on geographical location. At Carlsbad Eye Care, IPL treatment is an affordable option for dry eye syndrome, and we offer package pricing to help make your therapy plan affordable.

Question: Who is a candidate for IPL treatment?
The best candidates for IPL are patients with Dry Eye Syndrome (DES), Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD), blepharitis, or rosacea who have light or medium skin tones who regularly wear sunblock. They must not have certain medical consitions, and not be on certain medications. All of these factors will be discussed during your Dry Eye consultation. 
Affordability of IPL Dry Eye Treatment

Since everyone is unique, dry eye treatment plans must also be customized to the individual. At Carlsbad Eye Care, IPL therapy is an advanced treatment option for dry eye syndrome. We offer IPL package pricing to help make this therapy affordable.

Punctal Plugs Treatment for Dry Eye Syndrome
Treatments for mild cases of dry eyes can include lifestyle changes and using artificial tear eye drops. Preservative-free eye drops are available for people who are sensitive to the preservatives in artificial tears. If you need to use artificial tears more than every two hours, you should consult an ophthalmologist.

Your ophthalmologist may suggest that you use a prescription medication. One such medication, cyclosporine, works by stimulating tear production. Steroid eye drops may also be used, but are generally not recommended for long-term treatment. Other treatment options include gels and ointments, as well as punctual occlusion therapy.
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  Seasonal Dry Eye: Prevention and Treatment Tips

It’s that time of the year! You want to go outside and enjoy the brisk air, that cool winter breeze, yet you don’t want to experience the dry and burning sensation in your eyes that comes along with it. Winter dry eyes can result from the cold winds outside and the heat inside that cause moisture evaporation.

Eyes dry out when moisture evaporation occurs more quickly than our tear glands can produce fluids to maintain the protective, moist coating around our eyes. In order to combat this problem, it’s important to increase the moisture content in your environment in order to counteract the dry air your eyes are exposed to during the winter. So let’s look at some ways of preventing the burning, itchy, dry eye effect that is so common in the winter.

Dry Eye Prevention Tips
To avoid the onset of dry eyes in the winter Dr. Tracy recommends the following:
•  Use a humidifier to prevent fluid evaporation from eyes (and skin).
•  Keep your eyes closed or use moisturizing eye drops in each eye prior to blow-drying your hair.
•  Cut back on the amount of coffee you drink. Coffee contains a mild diuretic that may exacerbate dry eyes.
•  Place your computer screen at eye level because looking up causes the natural tear produced from your eyes to evaporate more quickly, leaving you with itchy, dry eyes.
•  Wear glasses or sunglasses when you are outdoors to prevent the cold winter wind from directly hitting your eyes. You can also wear a brimmed hat or hood to protect your eyes from the winter elements.
•  Avoid dusty or smoke-filled rooms.

But if you are already experiencing symptoms, what can you do to treat dry eyes?

Dry Eye Treatment Tips
Moisture, moisture, and yes more moisture is the key.
•  Keep a bottle of artificial tears (lubricant eye drops) close by, and use often and before bedtime.
•  Give your eyes periodic breaks throughout the day by closing them for five minutes.
•  If you wear contact lenses, switch to wearing glasses at least part-time.
•  Avoid rubbing your eyes because this will only make things worse. Try applying artificial tears and close your eyes for a few minutes instead.
•  If your dry eyes still persist, see an ophthalmologist for further treatment options, such as punctal plugs and Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) therapy.

By following these few simple steps, you can get adequate relief from discomfort for many winters to come.
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  The 10 Best Ways to Boost Your Eye Health


should all consider how to treat and care for our eyes. Over 145 million people worldwide have low vision due to untreated eye problems that could be avoided. This number will only increase unless people start to take action against eye disease and take steps to protect their vision.

At Carlsbad Eye Care, we specialize in LASIK and PRK as well as cataracts and dry eye treatment. We also provide general eye exams for patients age 14 or older, performed by Dr. Tracy himself. By adhering to our list of the top ten eye health resolutions for the New Year, you can ensure that you are seeing clearly.

1. Eat right. Eating a healthy diet with plenty of leafy vegetables rich in antioxidants can help you maintain the best quality of vision possible and fight against eye diseases.

2. Wear sunglasses. Even on cloudy or overcast days, protective eye gear is necessary. UV rays and blue light can cause long-term damage to your eyes.

3. Schedule your eye exam. If you’ve been putting off visiting an eye doctor, schedule your annual eye exam today. Annual eye exams are recommended for anyone over the age of 40.

4. Take care of your contacts. Taking out your contacts when you sleep and keeping them clean is the first step to preventing any type of infection caused by contacts.

5. Stop smoking. Smoking is one of the leading causes of macular degeneration, as well as other eye diseases. This year, make an effort to stay away from second-hand smoke and reduce your intake if you are a smoker.

6. Wear safety eyewear. Protect your eyes when you are playing sports, mowing the lawn, or working in a situation where something could get into your eye and possible damage it.

7. Treat dry eyes. If your eyes feel dry or itchy, you could have dry eyes. Talk to your ophthalmologist about the symptoms you are experiencing, even if you think it is just seasonal. Treatment for dry eyes at Carlsbad Eye Care includes punctal plugs, medications, and Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) therapy that treats Meibomian gland dysfunction.

8. Utilize a reminder tool for glaucoma drops. If you have glaucoma and take eye drops on a daily basis, set a reminder on your phone to make sure you take your drops at the appropriate time. That way you won’t skip a dose or accidentally double it.

9. Reduce eyestrain. Try rearranging your computer station or talk to Dr. Tracy at Carlsbad Eye Care about lubricating eye drops that can help ease the stra­­­­in on your eyes during the day. It is important to make sure your work space has adequate lighting and you are working at a comfortable distance away from your screen.

10. Take advantage of your FSA and/or health insurance. Most insurance plans cover eye exams. Flexible spending accounts (FSA) also can cover elective services, such as IPL therapy and LASIK or PRK.

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  How Smoking Affects the Health of Your Eyes

Contrary to what people believed in the 1950s, we now know that smoking kills. But smoking doesn’t only harm you by damaging your lungs and heart; smoking and tobacco exposure affect the rest of your body too.

eye health smoking carlsbad   In fact, smoking can increase your risk for developing many types of eye diseases and disorders. Due to the thousands of chemicals that act as irritants and carcinogens, smoking can disrupt blood flow, causing serious damage to the eyes. Who’s at risk? Heavy smokers and ex-smokers who have smoked for multiple years are at risk of eye damage from these serious disorders. eye health smoking carlsbad

Macular Degeneration

AMD (acronym for age-related macular degeneration) is defined as a condition that gradually destroys the macula. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association regular smokers have more than double the risk of non-smokers ofdeveloping macular degeneration – a condition from which more than 10 million Americans now suffer. People who have smoked in the past have three times the risk of non-smokers of having a more severe form of macular degeneration. Interestingly, drinking wine in moderate amounts seems to lower a person’s risk of developing the disease.

Dry Eye

In much the same way that alcohol affects the eyes, smoking can cause chronic redness of your eyes. Tobacco smoke, even passive smoke inhaled by children, can alter the tear film of the eyes, exacerbating dry eye syndrome and allergies. Dry eye syndrome is more than twice as likely to affect smokers as non-smokers.


Cataracts are characterized by a clouding of the lens in the eye that causes dimmed, blurry or distorted vision. Smoking may increase your risk for developing cataracts or clouding of the lenses, causing the condition to occur much earlier and possibly much more severely than in people who do not smoke. Smoking reduces the supply of antioxidants in our eyes, which may lead to cataracts. Smokers are three times as likely to develop the variety of cataract that’s the most vision-threatening and twice as likely to get a less disabling form of cataract.

Optic Nerve Damage

The optic nerve is responsible for transmitting visual information from the retina to the brain. The chemicals in tobacco can increase the risk of developing a condition known as toxic optic neuropathy, which is characterized by progressive and painless vision loss. Individuals who smoke, drink heavily and eat a poor diet can also develop a condition called tobacco-alcohol amblyopia. According to the Merck Manuals Online Medical Library, this condition initially causes blurring and dimming of vision. A small but growing spot of vision loss called a scotoma may then develop centrally or peripherally, and progressively interfere with vision.There is some light at the end of the tunnel – when you stop using nicotine products, your vision can improve, as can your circulation. So remember, when you’re creating your list of reasons to quit, don’t forget to add protecting your vision near the top!
Contact A Dry Eye Expert Today

Dry eye is extremely common and can effect anyone. If you suffer from dry eye, please do not hesitate to make an appointment with a board certified specialist. For more information on dry eye syndrome, or to book an appointment with Dr. Tracy, please call (760) 603-9910. 
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6183 Paseo Del Norte,
Suite 290
Carlsbad, CA 92011
P (760) 603-9910
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