Guest: Robert Latkany, MD (New York, NY), Ophthalmologist and author, The Dry Eye Remedy (Hatherleigh Press 2007)
I was pleased to have dry eye pioneer Dr. Robert Latkany as a guest on the Sharon Kleyne Hour – Power of Water. Dr. Latkany is reportedly the only ophthalmologist specializing in dry eye disease and tear film hydration. He is author of the best selling book, The Dry Eye Remedy.
I became aware of Dr. Latkany after reading an article about his book and his New York City medical practice in the Wall Street Journal (“A Closer Look at Dry Eye” by Rhonda Rundle, May 1, 2007). Nature’s Tears EyeMist, an all-natural hand-held moisturizing mist for dry eye hydration, was mentioned. So naturally, I called him and we became allies in this important cause.
Dr. Latkany and I agree on the worldwide need for dry eye treatment alternatives, prevention and education. There is also an urgent need to address the plight of the thousands who go blind every day from dry eye disease, dry air and inadequate water and sanitation.
According to Dr. Latkany, dry eye disease and tear film dehydration are the #1 reason for US eye doctor (ophthalmologist) visits. The condition can become extremely serious, especially as we grow older. Since most people with dry eye disease don’t experience severe symptoms, it often goes undiagnosed. Primary symptoms of chronic dry eye include briefly blurred vision, fatigue, increased allergic sensitivity, burning eyes, red eye and frequent headaches.
Untreated chronic dry eye disease, according to Dr. Latkany, could result in loss of eyesight. Dry eye disease and tear film dehydration can cause cracking and scarring of the cornea, leading to infection and other eye diseases. Allergies can contribute to dry eye symptoms but so can the antihistamines commonly found in eye drops.
I asked Dr. Latkany about dry eye and computers, just as I asked Dr. Marguerite McDonald and Dr. Philip Paden. He said that people who spend all day at the computer often blink far less frequently. As a result, more tear film water (moisture) evaporates and the “blink muscles” weaken.
I discussed my own research with Dr. Latkany, previously shared on the Sharon Kleyne Hour. Many dry air factors cause dry eye, red eye, burning eyes and tear film dehydration. Dry air indoors is a major cause of dry eye, especially dry air from forced-air heating and cooling, and man made household chemicals can cause dry eye. I suggest all-natural alternatives such as a mist humidifier or air purifier, or simply setting out bowls of water or opening a window (unless the air outside is extremely dry or polluted).
I observed that people take daily care of their teeth, hair and skin and wondered why they take eye hydration for granted. Dr. Latkany believes the name “dry eye” just doesn’t sound like a disease. As for treatment alternatives, Dr. Latkany advises all-natural alternatives over dye drops, such as drinking lots of water, exercising regularly, taking care of your health and hydration and above all, educating yourself about dry eye and eye care treatment alternatives. We also discussed the importance of Nature’s Tears EyeMist and eye misting and moisturizing in general for dry eye, red eye and burning eyes, as reported in the Wall Street Journal article.