A Dry Eye Spa with Arnold Flores from the Dry Eye Guys
As a dry eye sufferer for over ten years, Arnold Flores knew the ins and outs of dry eye disease. He struggled with blepharitis and Salzmann's nodular degeneration for many years, which caused him to be an eye rubber. This only exacerbated his dry eye issues. After traveling all over the world looking for a treatment regimen for his condition, he found that the majority of eye doctors were prescribing topical antibiotics and steroids but nothing else. He knew there had to be a better option.
Arnold soon became known as the Dry Eye Guy and came up with the concept of the Dry Eye Spa while looking for solutions for his own dryness. He was given many antibiotics to help with blepharitis, corticosteroids to battle inflammation, and artificial tears to keep everything moist. However, he continued to suffer and found that these were all temporary solutions to his chronic problem.
The Dry Eye Spa
While traveling in Barcelona, he was incredibly stressed trying to find answers to his dry eyes. Because of this, he came up with the idea of combining all the benefits of a massage with dry eye treatment modalities. This would help to mitigate the stress that many dry eye sufferers feel, especially during procedures where the entire process and the outcome may be unknown to them.
This concept looks something like this; you walk into the office for your dry eye treatment and you’re guided to a room playing soothing spa music. You can smell the use of essential oils, and you’re guided to a massage chair that you’ll sit in for the duration of your eye treatment. Not only is this beneficial for the eyes, because you’re getting much needed treatment, but it’s also beneficial for the mind and body at the same time. The massage chair is helping you to relax, and this frees your mind to relax as well.
Stress is such a huge factor in dry eye disease and chronic inflammation in general. Cortisol is actually great for fighting inflammation, but it can turn the tables and be a contributor to inflammation when it is chronically elevated. So many people are experiencing an increase in stress due to the COVID-19 pandemic, being out of work, taking care of sick family members, and for many other reasons. Stress is something that needs to be addressed because we know it contributes to and feeds chronic inflammation. The concept of the Dry Eye Spa helps to do just that.
30-60-90 Day Program
The reason for the 30-60-90 Day Program is similar to that of a weight loss program. It takes at least 22 days to develop new habits, and it takes a few days to begin noticing relief. Diagnosis, treatment, maintenance, nutrition, hydration, and prevention are the six steps in this program, and it combines both in-office treatments and those that you do at home.
The Dry Eye Guys focus on treating the BIO; Bacteria and blepharitis, inflammation, and oils (or lipids). Over 80% of dry eye is caused by meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). MGD is a progressive condition characterized by eyelid inflammation and a loss of meibomian gland function. This leads to a decrease in the quality and quantity of oil being produced to lubricate the surface of the eyes, leading to dryness. As bacteria builds up on the eyelids and within the glands, the bacteria produce toxins which cause inflammation and lead to biofilm. This biofilm disrupts the microbiome of the eye and leads to chronic dry eyes.
4 Structures To Be Evaluated
During an exam for dry eye, your eye care practitioner should be assessing four specific structures that have to do with this condition.
By inspecting your skin before they even set their eyes behind their microscope, your doctor will sometimes be able to see conditions that put you at a higher risk of dry eye disease. The most common is rosacea, which can present itself as ocular rosacea and MGD.
Your eyelids can tell a big story, since they house the meibomian glands (the oil producing factories responsible for the lipid layer of your tear film). If your eyelids contain telangiectatic blood vessels, this may point to rosacea. If you have a stye, you likely have MGD.
The eyelids are important, but so are the eyelid margins. If they are red or raw, this indicates inflammation. Any notching of the eyelid margins may indicate that you have meibomian gland atrophy in those areas (which can be confirmed with imaging devices). Blepharitis on the eyelids and lashes also concentrates itself on the eyelid margins, and your doctor may be able to see clogged meibomian glands.
If the white part of your eye (your sclera) isn’t bright and white but is instead red or pink, this could mean you have dry eye or even an active infection. Your cornea can tell a big story as well, since we often see dry patches in those with ocular surface disease.
As you can see, there are many structures to view and signs to look for in a dry eye patient (many of which are not even mentioned above). The most important part of any dry eye treatment plan is to first get a proper diagnosis from an optometrist or ophthalmologist who really knows dry eye. There are currently 300 Dry Eye Spas all over the world which Arnold has had a personal touch with, and there are hundreds more out there. Take time to research whoever you choose to see, and never be afraid to keep looking for the perfect doctor or Dry Eye Spa for you.
If you would like to learn more about the Dry Eye Spa and the Dry Eye Guys, make sure to follow @dryeyeguys on Instagram, visit their website, and give them a call to find a Dry Eye Spa near you.