27 May Dry Eye and Glaucoma
Did you know that glaucoma and dry eye can commonly occur together?
Glaucoma and dry eye are conditions that both become more common as you age. Treatment of the two conditions can be difficult to juggle for both you and your optometrist and/or ophthalmologist. Since glaucoma is a condition that can cause vision loss and potentially blindness, it often takes priority over dry eye treatment.
However, glaucoma drops, as well as the preservatives used in them can impact the tear film and tear production. They can also change the function the meibomian glands (oil-producing glands in your eyelids).  Considering the impact that glaucoma can have on your vision, it is important that you continue the glaucoma therapy prescribed by your ophthalmologist.
However, considering the impact that dry eye can have on your quality of life, it is important to address your dry eye symptoms too. Dry eye symptoms may including stinging, watering, redness, grittiness, foreign body sensation, tired eyes and fluctuating vision.
Options for improving these symptoms may include:
- preservative free glaucoma drops (make sure you consult your ophthalmologist before altering your glaucoma treatment)
- artificial tears
- omega 3
- eyelid scrubs
- warm compresses
- other eye drops of medications to reduce eyelid and ocular surface inflammation such as Cyclosporine or Doxycycline
- in-office treatments of your meibomian glands such as IPL or Lipiflow
The optometrists at our practice can discuss these options with you. Glaucoma and dry eye are both chronic eye conditions that need to be addressed. We can work with your glaucoma specialist to help improve your symptoms of dry eye. The treatment and management of dry eye will ideally include cooperation between you, your optometrist and glaucoma specialist.
 Arita et al, 2012, Effects of long-term topical anti-glaucoma medications on meibomian glands, Graefes Archive for Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology, vol 250, pp 1181-1185