The Ohio State Havener Eye Institute created the Program of Excellence for Dry Eye and Ocular Surface Diseases to provide you with access to expert clinical care backed by the latest research and academic advancements. You’ll find tried and true management approaches to dry eye and ocular surface diseases at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, along with the most advanced treatments.

Doctors and researchers at the Ohio State Havener Eye Institute are using the latest treatment approaches to not only relieve symptoms of dry eye and other ocular surface diseases, but also to address the root cause.

What are ocular surface diseases?

Ocular surface diseases consist of all conditions that cause damage to the surface layers of the eye (the cornea, conjunctiva and glandular network). In addition to dry eye, which is the most common ocular surface disease, these conditions include:

  • Blepharitis – Blepharitis occurs when the oil glands along the edges of the eyelids become clogged, leading to redness, irritation, swelling and crusty flakes on your eyelashes.
  • Neurotrophic keratitis – Neurotrophic keratitis is a degenerative disease of the cornea that causes spontaneous breakdown of the corneal tissue.
  • Ocular rosacea – Rosacea is an inflammatory skin disease that causes redness, irritation and swelling. When rosacea spreads to the eye tissue, it’s called ocular rosacea.
  • Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) – The Meibomian glands secrete oil to help lubricate the eye. When the Meibomian glands don’t secrete enough oil, or they secrete poor-quality oil, it can lead to dryness and irritation of the eye.

Inflammation is at the root of most ocular surface diseases. Doctors and researchers at the Ohio State Havener Eye Institute are using the latest treatment approaches to not only relieve symptoms of dry eye and ocular surface diseases, but address the root cause.

What is dry eye?

You might only think of tears when you’re actively crying, but your eyes secrete tears throughout the course of the day to keep your eyes lubricated. If your eyes don’t make enough tears or produce tears that don’t function properly, you can develop a condition called dry eye.

Dry eye symptoms

If you have dry eye, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Red eyes
  • Itchy eyes
  • A burning or stinging sensation of the eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Blurred vision

Dry eye risk factors

Certain characteristics increase your chances of developing dry eye, these include:

  • Age – Dry eye is more prevalent in people over the age of 50
  • Sex – Women are more likely than men to develop dry eye
  • Nutrient deficiencies – Certain nutrients, like vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids, help support the production of tears. If your body is low on these nutrients, it can lead to dry eye
  • Autoimmune diseases – Autoimmune diseases like lupus or Sjogren's syndrome can increase your chances of developing dry eye
  • Abnormalities in eyelids – If your lower or upper eyelids are too floppy, it can lead to improper production of tears and dry eye

Breakthrough treatment options

Traditional dry eye treatment approaches

Traditionally, dry eye has been managed with eye drops, medications and changes in lifestyle. These approaches can offer relief of dry eye by symptoms in most patients by promoting healthy tear production or synthetically lubricating the eye.

Advanced specialty contacts

If you’ve struggled to wear contact lenses because of frequent dry eye, you may be a candidate for specialty contact lenses. Specialty contact lenses, called scleral contact lenses, rest on the white of your eye instead of your cornea and can usually improve your vision while allowing your eye to remain lubricated.

The Ohio State Havener Eye Institute offers the latest technologies in fitting specialty contact lenses to give you access to lenses that can correct your vision and prevent dry eye. Learn more about the Advanced Specialty Contact Lens Clinic at Ohio State.

Intense pulsed light therapy

The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center also offers a breakthrough treatment for dry eye and ocular surface diseases called intense pulsed light treatment (IPL). IPL uses light to target and treat chronic inflammation without drugs or drops.

It’s not a laser treatment; instead, it uses beams of light to reduce inflammatory mediators, alleviate abnormal blood vessels and decrease Demodex mites (microscopic organisms found in the eyelashes) — all of which increase inflammation in the eye. The warmth from the light can also treat clogged oil glands and promote healthy secretion of oil.

IPL has been safely used for aesthetic improvements for years. IPL can reduce the appearance of or eliminate rosacea, ocular rosacea, chalazions, sties, fine lines, wrinkles, scars, sun spots and uneven skin texture.

How does IPL treatment work?

Your doctor will give you a shield to place over your eyes and apply a gel around your eyes. Your doctor will guide the IPL scanner from cheekbone to cheekbone and over your eyes while it emits pulses of light (think of a camera flash on repeat).

How long does IPL treatment take?

IPL treatment is an outpatient procedure that typically takes 15 minutes. Most people will receive treatments three to four times a week for a four-week period. You may require touch-ups every six months to a couple of years after your initial round of treatment.

Does IPL hurt?

No. You may experience some slight redness or mild discomfort immediately following the treatment, but these effects are temporary.

Is IPL safe?

Yes. IPL is a noninvasive and drug-free treatment.

Can I drive myself to IPL treatment?

Yes, you can drive yourself to and from IPL treatments and return to full activity following treatment.

How long has IPL technology been around?

IPL technology has been safely and effectively used for cosmetic procedures for years and was just recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treatment of dry eye and ocular surface diseases.

Who is a candidate for IPL treatment?

If you haven’t seen improvements in dry eye or ocular surface diseases symptoms through traditional management methods, or if you wish to address the underlying cause of dry eye symptoms, you may be a candidate for IPL.

For IPL treatment to work, light must be able to travel through the skin. People with darker skin might not see the same outcomes of IPL treatment because the light may not be able to penetrate through their skin to reach blood vessels and glands.

Aesthetic intense pulse light (IPL) treatment

IPL has effectively been used for aesthetic improvement for years. IPL can reduce the appearance of or eliminate:

  • Rosacea – IPL can relieve inflammation of the skin and reduce redness and irritation.
  • Ocular rosacea – IPL can relieve inflammation of the eye tissue and reduce redness and irritation.
  • Chalazions and sties – Chalazions and sties are red bumps on your eyelids. IPL can break up the vessels or tissue causing the chalazions and sties.

ResurFX™ with IPL treatment

ResurFX™ is a nonablative laser attachment for IPL that promotes collagen formation, evens out skin texture, and reduces the appearance of scars and fine lines. ResurFX™ can also be used in combiation with IPL to even out skin discoloration. ResurFX™ can help treat:

  • Sun spots
  • Uneven skin texture
  • Fine lines
  • Wrinkles
  • Uneven scars
Our Providers