While dry eye isn’t a serious condition, it can have a major impact on your quality of life. You may find your eyes get tired faster or you have difficulty reading. Not to mention the discomfort of a burning sensation or blurry vision. Let’s take a look at dry eye treatments – from simple self-care to innovative prescriptions and therapies – to help you see clearly and comfortably.
Understanding dry eye will help you determine the best treatment option. Dry eye occurs when a person doesn't have enough quality tears to lubricate and nourish the eye. Tears reduce eye infections, wash away foreign matter, and keep the eye’s surface smooth and clear. People with dry eyes either do not produce enough tears or their tears are poor quality. It’s a common and often chronic problem, especially in older adults.
Before we delve into more serious dry eye treatment options, here are a few simple self-care options that can manage minor cases of dry eye.
Blink regularly when reading or staring at a computer screen for a long time.
Make sure there’s adequate humidity in the air at work and at home.
Wear sunglasses outside to reduce sun and wind exposure. Wraparound glasses are best.
Take supplements with essential fatty acids as these may decrease dry eye symptoms.
Drink 8 to 10 glasses of water each day to avoid dehydration.
Find out if any of your prescriptions have dry eye as a side effect and if so, see if you can take an alternative.
For mild cases of dry eyes, the best option is over-the-counter eye drops. Here are a few tips for selecting the right one:
Low viscosity – These artificial tears are watery. They often provide quick relief with little or no blurring of your vision, but their effect can be brief, and sometimes you must use these drops frequently to get adequate relief.
High viscosity – These are more gel-like and provide longer-lasting lubrication. However, these drops can cause significant blurring of your vision for several minutes. For this reason, high-viscosity artificial tears are recommended at bedtime.
There are several prescriptions that treat dry eye differently. Your eye doctor can advise the best option for your situation.
Contact Lenses – There are specialty contact lenses that deliver moisture to the surface of the eye. They’re called scleral lenses or bandage lenses.
Antibiotics– If your eyelids are inflamed, this can prevent oil glands from secreting oil into your tears. Your doctor may recommend antibiotics to reduce inflammation.
Anti-inflammatory drugs – These are eye drops to control inflammation on the surface of your eyes (cornea) using the immune-suppressing medication cyclosporine (Restasis) or corticosteroids.
Eye Inserts – If artificial tears don't help, another option may be a tiny eye insert. Once a day, you place the hydroxypropyl cellulose (Lacrisert) insert between your lower eyelid and your eyeball. It dissolves slowly, releasing a substance to lubricate your eye.
Tear-stimulating drugs – Available as pills, gel or eye drops, cholinergic (pilocarpine, cevimeline), these help to increase tear production.
Autologous blood serum drops – For serious dry eye that’s not responding to other treatment, these eyedrops are made with a sample of your blood. It’s processed to remove the red blood cells and then mixed with a salt solution.
Punctal Plugs – Tear ducts can be plugged with tiny silicone plugs to reduce tear loss. By partially or completely closing your tear ducts, it can keep your tears from leaving your eye too quickly.
Intense-Pulsed Therapy – This utilizes pulses of light to liquefy and release hardened oils that have clogged glands in the eyelids.
You don’t have to suffer from the symptoms of dry eye. Talk to your optometrist about dry eye treatment options designed to address the underlying cause of your condition.
Dry eye disease is becoming increasingly common, affecting millions of people worldwide. This chronic condition can significantly impact your life, sometimes making even the smallest of tasks seem difficult.
If you have eye pain, blurry vision, and dry or watery eyes, it could be a sign that you have dry eye disease. But don’t worry! With an in-depth eye exam, our team can assess your vision and eye health to get you the treatment you need.
With treatments like OptiLight by Lumenis, we can help manage your dry eye symptoms and get you back to seeing clearly and comfortably. Keep reading to learn more about OptiLight by Lumenis and how it can improve your life.
Dry eye disease is a common eye condition that occurs when there is an issue with any one of the three components of your tears.
Your tears are made up of 3 distinct layers, all of which work together to keep your eyes healthy:
The oily layer prevents your tears from evaporating too quickly
The watery layer delivers nutrients to your eyes
The mucus layer keeps your tear film stuck to the surface of your eyes
There are two types of dry eye disease.
Evaporative Dry Eye (EDE)
EDE is the most common type of dry eye disease. This type of dry eye occurs when you lack the proper amount of oil in your tears. When this happens, your tears can evaporate too quickly, drying out your eyes.
In some cases, EDE can be caused by meibomian gland dysfunction, a disorder where the meibomian glands in your eyes become blocked, limiting the amount of oil being produced for your tears.
Aqueous Tear Deficiency (ATD)
If you suffer from ATD, your eyes lack the aqueous layer in your tears. This means that your eyes aren’t producing enough tears to keep the eye moist, which can lead to irritating and uncomfortable symptoms.
What are the Symptoms of Dry Eye Disease?
If you are suffering from dry eye disease, you may notice any of the following symptoms:
A burning or scratchy sensation in your eyes
Stringy mucus in or around your eyes
Irritated or overly-watery eyes
Sensitivity to light or photophobia
Eye redness, blurred vision, or eye fatigue
A sensation of having something in your eyes
Difficulty wearing contact lenses
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, book an appointment with your eye doctor to receive a dry eye disease diagnosis and get the treatment you need.
OptiLight by Lumenis is a safe, gentle, and effective treatment done to manage dry eye disease. This non-invasive procedure is the first and only FDA-approved intense pulsed light (IPL) treatment for dry eye management.
OptiLight uses pulses of light precisely administered in the area below the eyes to reduce dry eye symptoms. This 10-15 minute procedure can relieve dry eye symptoms by:
Increasing tear break-up time
Reducing the amount of demodex mites and bacteria around your eyes
Decreasing inflammation inflammation
Improving meibomian gland functionality
If your eye doctor has recommended the OptiLight treatment, they will go over everything you can expect before, during, and after your appointment.
Preparing for Your Appointment To prepare for your appointment you should avoid:
Using skin brightening agents or serums for the week before your appointment
Using tanning beds 1 month prior to your appointment
Getting botox for at least 3 months before your appointment
Taking oral isotretinoin, tetracycline, or doxycycline in the 3 months prior to your appointment
This treatment is fast and simple, taking only 10–15 minutes. During your treatment your doctor will apply a cool gel on the treatment area and cover your eyes with shields to protect them.
As light is applied to the skin, you may experience a warm or a tapping sensation, but you shouldn’t feel any pain.
While side effects are uncommon, your eyes may feel slightly more dry or gritty for the day following your procedure. If you do experience dry eyes, you can use preservative-free artificial tears.
Following your treatment, your skin will be sensitive, so we recommend avoiding sun exposure and wearing sunscreen.
How do you know if OptiLight is the right treatment for you?
During an eye exam, your doctor can determine whether or not it is the right option for you.
In general, OptiLight isn’t recommended for patients who:
● Are taking certain medications, like Accutane
● Have active acne
● Suffer from certain skin disorders
● Are susceptible to keloid scarring
● Have severe scarring
● Have severely sunburned recently
You don’t have to live with the uncomfortable symptoms of dry eye disease. With OptiLight by Lumenis, your symptoms can be managed effectively and efficiently, restoring your quality of life.
Our team is always here to help you find relief from dry eyes. Book an appointment today to see how OptiLight by Lumenis can help you!