Say Goodbye to Dry Eyes

Dr. Alessi

Do your eyes burn, itch, or water excessively?
You may be suffering from dry eye

This is a condition that is more than just irritating; it can damage the eye if left untreated according to Dr. Nicole E. Alessi of Collins Vision.

“Dry eyes are a really big deal in Southwest Florida,” says the Florida native. She was born in Fort Lauderdale and was initially inspired to help people with their vision after watching her grandmother slowly loose hers.

But she’s extremely passionate about helping people with dry eye because it’s a problem Dr. Alessi lived with for years. “I don’t want my patients to suffer like I was suffering.”

Her vision changed while she was attending optometry school at Nova Southeastern University. The doctor says gratefully, “I was definitely in the right place when I had a problem. I was able to work with exceptional people and it stemmed my passion.”

Dry eye is a chronic disease process. “Not addressing it will slowly deteriorate the surface of the eye,” explains Dr. Alessi. “The top layer of the cornea will become irregular and distort the quality of vision.”

It occurs when there is a problem with the tear film,
a multilayer structure that protects your eyes

To help maintain the integrity of your tears, small glands secrete an oily substance. Those glands can become obstructed and in need of expression so they can work properly. But that is just one cause.

There is a not a one size fits all treatment for dry eye.Dr. Alessi does a comprehensive analysis that includes looking at a patient’s lifestyle and when the symptoms tend to occur. She says, “The solution could be as easy as redirecting the vents in your car. If you are waking up with irritation it might be due to dust mites, so you would just need a humidifier.”

Small mites, or an overgrowth of bacteria, can also live along the lash line. In this case, BlephEx is a common treatment, a procedure that could be described as an exfoliation of the eyelids and lashes using a micro-sponge. Patients with this see an improvement in symptoms almost immediately.

Allergies are another dry eye culprit

At Collins Vision, Dr. Alessi is able to do a surface test on the forearm of a patient, exposing them to environmental allergens that specifically affect the eyes. Anti-inflammatory drops are often used to protect the surface of the eye so the doctor can then turn her attention to healing the tear film.

If you have cataracts or an interest in laser vision correction and have dry eye, treating the dry eye should be done prior to surgery. She explains, “We don’t want to do vision correcting procedures on an eye that is fluctuating.”

Dry eye can be exacerbated or induced by Lasik surgery, but can also be managed after the fact. Dr. Alessi says, “If you have dry eye, Lasik may not be the best way to go. Here we do Advance Surface Ablation or ASA, and that will reduce the amount of dryness dramatically.”

“I had ASA with Dr. Collins,” says Alessi. She wants to encourage and help people who are having discomfort due to dry eye. “If you’ve been suffering for five years, I’m not going to be able to fix in five days, we have to do some work together but my goal is that you’re not uncomfortable, spending time thinking about your eyes all day.”

If you or someone you know is looking to find relief from dry eye,
call Collins Vision today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Alessi


Collins Vision

6900 International Center Blvd.

860 111th Avenue North