Advance with MUSC Health

At the Storm Eye Institute’s Dry Eye Center Innovative Diagnostic and Treatment Options Are Transforming Patients’ Quality of Life

Advance With MUSC Health
March 21, 2023
Dr. Karen Fernandez

The Storm Eye Institute’s Dry Eye Center at MUSC offers the latest in clinical treatment, technological innovations, and continuing patient care, improving patients’ quality of life and protecting their vision.

“Everyone is now at increased risk for dry eye, especially in this age of technology and virtual interactions,” says Karen Fernandez, M.D., MUSC Health Storm Eye Institute’s Director of Dry Eye services. “People are spending more time in front of screens and doing most activities virtually, and it’s been proven that prolonged visual activities cause decreased blinking rates resulting in increased exposure of the ocular surface and dry eye.”

The Diagnostic Range

The Dry Eye Center houses comprehensive diagnostic technology, including The Oculus Keratograph, used to objectively analyze the tear film, measure tear height, lipid layer quality and viscosity, as well as determine tear stability and blink rates. It also allows infrared imaging of the meibomian glands, which are responsible for producing the oily layer of the tear film and allow its stability over the surface of the eye. Disfunction of these glands is the most common cause of dry eye. These diagnostic tools have been invaluable for treatment customization for dry eye patients.

“We examine the surface of the eye to make a diagnosis,” says Dr. Fernandez. “However, because external examination also involves subjective measures, it may be challenging to monitor improvement or treatment effect. Having a machine that objectively measures tear film dynamics is extremely helpful in the diagnosis and long-term management of dry eye.”

Outstanding Treatment Innovations

The Dry Eye Center offers the most current in office treatment for dry eye disease, such as Tear Science Lipiflow®, Systane iLux®, and the newest TearCare® system, all of which are meant to improve meibomian gland function and production. They also offer the Blephex® treatment, a procedure that addresses anterior blepharitis to remove scurfs or debris from the eyelid margin.

Through a comprehensive treatment approach, including a combination of in office treatment and a tailored home regimen for every patient, the center aims to improve overall glandular function and eye health. In office treatment prices ranging from under $100 up to $1,000, the Center aims to provide the best care possible at an affordable price.

“The idea is to relieve meibomian gland obstruction, liquefy the intraglandular contents with effective heat delivery, expressing these oils out and stimulating these glands to flow and produce normally,” Dr. Fernandez explains. “These office treatments have helped patients with meibomian gland dysfunction improve their symptoms.”

  • If you have a patient who would benefit from the continuing care that the Dry Eye Institute can provide, call for an appointment at 843-792-2020.

To Refer a Patient

If you have an adult patient you would like to refer to MUSC Health, please sign in to MUSC Health CareLink. If you are not yet a member of MUSC Health CareLink, you can call MEDULINE at 843-792-2200. This is our consultation line exclusively for health care professionals.

About Storm Eye Institute & the Medical University of South Carolina

At the MUSC Health Storm Eye Institute, your patients have access to dedicated experts in every aspect of eye health. You won’t find another eye care team in South Carolina with specialists in eye cancer, glaucoma and corneal disease under one roof. We offer comprehensive care for adults and specialized services for children in the pediatric ophthalmology department.

Treatment ranges from cataract surgery to management of corneal disease, eye cancer, glaucoma, and retina and vitreous humor conditions.