Dry eye is a common problem that can affect anyone at any age. Everyone has a thin layer of tears that coats the front surface of our eyes. This tear film helps to keep our eyes healthy and comfortable and are needed for overall eye health and and clear vision. Dry eye occurs when you do not produce enough tears ( poor tear quantity ) or when your tear structure is not in proper balance ( poor tear quality).
Symptoms of Dry Eye:
- scratchy / gritty sensation
- burning or stinging
- blurred vision
- excessive watering
- Poor blinking
- Hormonal changes
- Environmental factors
- Contact lens wear
- Certain medical conditions
- Medications – including antianxiety, antihistamine, beta-blockers, diuretics
A thorough history of your symptoms, medical history and medications along with careful evaluation of you tear structure, tear glands, corneal, conjunctival and eyelid tissues will help us to determine the exact nature of your dry eye disease. As this is a complex disease, it cannot be diagnosed with any one simple test, and proper diagnosis is essential to determine the most effective treatment for you.
Dry eye is usually a chronic condition and although there is no cure, there are many treatments available to help manage this condition and improve your comfort and symptoms. Avoiding excessive caffeine ( a diuretic ), drinking extra water and increasing the humidity in your environment with a humidifier may be helpful. In addition to this, we offer the following treatments:
- Artificial Tears and Ointments:
Many variations of viscosity and chemical formula of these products are available over the counter and without a prescription. We can help you to determine the most effective tear supplement available for you. In addition, our office distributes a new product from Germany called HYLO that has proven to be very effective for many.
- Eyelid Care:
In many cases, inflammation of your eyelid margins ( blepharitis and meibomian gland dysfunction ) is a contributing factor to dry eye disease. Eyelid hygiene including eyelid scrubs and hot compresses are effective in treating these conditions. In addition to this , we offer a new in-office eyelid procedure called Bleph-Ex that has proven to be very helpful in treating eyelid margin disease.
Watch this video to learn more.
- Punctual Plugs:
These are made of silicone or dissolvable collagen and are inserted into your nasolacrimal duct ( your tear drain ) to help block the outflow of your tears, thereby increasing your tear quantity . This is a safe and painless procedure that can be especially effective when you have a deficiency in tear quantity.
- Nutritional Supplements:
In addition to the many health benefits that Omega-3 fatty acids offer, studies have shown that that Omega-3’s help your eye’s oil glands produce better oils. This helps you produce an improved tear film and reduce your symptoms of dry eye. Careful selection of the natural triglyceride Omega-3 formulation is important for this treatment to be effective.
- Prescription Medication:
Restasis ( cyclosporin ) eyedrops may be prescribed for management of dry eye disease. Although some people may respond very quickly to Restasis, it may take 4 or more months before noticing any positive effects. In certain situations, we may also prescribe limited dosages of steroid medications to help treat this disease.
If you are suffering from dry eye, please let our doctors know and we can help to diagnose your condition and formulate a treatment plan to help improve your comfort and quality of life.