Fall is upon us in Boston, with autumn colors dancing across our trees. Soon the leaves will fall, and people with dry eye syndrome may experience changing symptoms with the seasons. At Boston Eye Physicians and Surgeons, we offer various dry eye treatments to reduce symptoms, including intense pulsed light therapy.
How Seasons Affect the Eyes
Seasonal changes alter more than the temperature. Humidity may rise or fall, and wind speeds kick up or slow down. These factors can influence dry eye symptoms and exacerbate the disease. A 2006 study involving patients in the Greater Boston Area investigated how fall, winter, spring and summer affect dry eye syndrome in patients living in Northeastern states.
Researchers included 62 patients with diagnosed dry eye disease. They asked them to fill out a survey describing their ocular discomfort and if they experienced worsening symptoms during specific times of the year. Nearly half (48.4 percent, or 30 patients) said their worst days for dry eye symptoms were in the winter months. Fall came in second, causing eye discomfort for 17.7 percent (11 patients). Nine patients said their symptoms stayed the same year-round, and eight and four said spring and summer were worst, respectively.
Boston and surrounding Northeast areas tend to have cold, windy and dry weather in the fall and winter, which could account for this uptick in dry eye symptoms.
Dry Eye Treatment at Boston Eye Physicians and Surgeons
Our eye doctors in Boston offer various dry eye treatments depending on the severity of symptoms. While artificial tears and punctal plugs may work for some patients, others may need more intensive treatment with intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy.
IPL dry eye treatments help patients struggling with dry eyes caused by meibomian gland dysfunction, which disrupts the oil (lipid) layer of the tear film due to blocked oil glands inside the eyelids. Without oil from the meibomian glands, tears may evaporate too quickly off the eye’s surface, causing blurry vision, gritty sensations and other uncomfortable symptoms.
IPL treatments for dry eyes work by heating the tissues with a broad spectrum of light pulses that focus on abnormal blood vessels. The heat from the light beams constricts the blood vessels and improves inflammation in the eyelids to restore normal meibomian gland function. IPL therapy may also eliminate Demodex mites, also called face mites, that live in the hair follicles of humans.
This dry eye treatment takes 15 minutes or less to complete in our office, and patients may need multiple sessions for optimal results and symptom relief.
If you struggle with dry eyes, contact our eye doctors at Boston Eye Physicians and Surgeons to schedule an eye exam and consultation. Call (617) 232-9600 or fill out our online contact form to book an appointment.