Dry eye syndrome can have a major impact on your quality of vision. 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.
Most people can’t pinpoint what’s happening to their eyes or to their vision when it’s caused by dry eyes. The symptoms range between mild discomfort to constantly feeling like there is something in your eyes. 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.
The lacrimal glands may not be producing enough tears (aqueous dry eyes). In that case, you may have difficulty even crying or experience dryness around the eyes or in the mouth.
Another classification of dry eye syndrome is (Evaporative dry eyes). Evaporative dry eye syndrome is very common and accounts for up to 80% of dry eyes. That occurs when your lacrimal glands are making enough tears but the tears evaporate too quickly. If you have evaporative dry eyes you may notice a sticky discharge in the eyes upon waking up and throughout the day, fluctuating vision that clears up when you blink, and even watery eyes.
Many patients can have a combination of both types of dry eyes. Some patients experience dry eyes after an injury to the eye or after LASIK due to injury to the corneal nerves. Patients also experience dry eyes if the eyes don’t close fully either because of a lid lift, facial nerve palsy, or they just never close their eyes all the way.
Understanding WHY the eyes are dry helps the doctor determine the best course of action to treat the dryness.
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.
Lower your consumption of inflammatory food groups such as sugar and dairy.
Get enough sleep every night. If the dryness seems to be worse in the morning, wear a sleeping mask overnight.
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:
Preservative-free options are always a better option, as the preservatives may irritate your eyes even further.
Hyaluronic acid is a good active ingredients in lubricating drops.
Steer away from drops that claim to get rid of redness and instead use artificial tears.
Gel drops or ointments are great before bed time as they will blur your vision.
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 called scleral lenses. Scleral contact lenses are a great tool that’s not used by many for the treatment of dry eyes, however we have found great success with it when other options have failed.
Antibiotics– Some antibiotics decrease inflammation which decreases dry eyes. Antibiotics are a great option for people that not only have dry eyes, but also have recurring styes.
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 Cequa) or corticosteroids.
Oral anti-inflammatory drugs- typically containing omega 3 and omega 6, they provide a long-lasting effect.
Lid wipes and sprays: cleansing the eyelids properly drastically improves the signs and symptoms of dry eyes.
You don’t have to suffer from the symptoms of dry eye. Come see us to discuss dry eye treatment options designed to address the underlying cause of your condition.