Doctors discuss ways to combat dry eyes with preventative measures

SAN ANTONIO – Your dry, itchy eyes may not just be from the multitude of allergens in the San Antonio air. It’s more likely something you’re not doing too much of because of smartphones – blinking.

“We are in conversation. I'll probably blink. You'll probably blink about 20 times a minute, about 14,18 a minute, but if you're on a smartphone or tablet, it would be about four to six times a minute,” said Dr. Paul Karpecki, with the Karpecki Dry Eye Center.

Blinks are critical to washing the eye with natural oil. Less blinks leads to a dirtier eye and eventually a dry eye.

Karpecki is a national expert who shared his finding at Medina Eye Care in San Antonio, the city’s first dry eye center.

“At the end of the day, you say you've got to do this with so many patients in need. We've wanted to do this in San Antonio,” Karpecki said.

Rather than dry eye as just a condition, it’s now being treated as a disease.

Every 10 years, the greatest dry eye specialists in the world get together and share information.

“No. 1, we are learning the prevalence is much higher. Evaporative dry eye, which comes with digital devices, is very significant, perhaps 86 percent of all forms of dry eye. We learned you have to treat numerous components of the disease. I think we are evolving,” Karpecki said.

The evolution includes getting a medical definition updated, so that if a patient has early stages, they can get vision-saving treatment sooner.

The eye doctors are shooting for more preventative measures. They recommend adding a daily eye drop and eye cleansing to people’s routine.

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