Dry eye occurs when your body does not produce enough tears to provide ample lubrication for your eyes. It can be extremely uncomfortable, with millions of people suffering from chronic or intermittent dry eye all over the United States.
If you have chronic dry eyes you may be suffering from dry eye syndrome. This is usually a progressive condition, and gets worse as time goes on. Depending on how bad it really is, it can be treated but may never be completely cured. Proper management of dry eye syndrome will result in noticeably better eye comfort, fewer symptoms, and better vision.
Treatment for dry eye depends entirely on its severity. Severe cases of dry eye will be treated aggressively by our Optometrists.
Artificial tears are the most common treatment. This is best used for the mild cases, and it may not require a visit with an Optometrist to get artificial tears (unless you’re looking for stronger versions). These mild cases can be a result of sitting at a computer or reading. Your eyes tend to focus more when doing those tasks and as a result you blink less, which will dry the eye out slightly. Artificial tears can help with any issues or pain that those tasks may cause.
Restasis is a prescription eye drop that does more than create the tears needed to keep your eyes moist. Restasis has a chemical in it that reduces inflammation associated with dry eyes. Along with the reduction of inflammation, it helps your body naturally produce more tears. One downfall that restasis has is that it does not give immediate relief- it takes constant restasis use for 3 months for relief to be achieved.
Lacrisert is an insert that is placed under the lower eye (in the inferior cul-de-sac). The insert made of hydroxypropyl cellulose that will liquefy over time. This slow process provides all day comfort. This insert can be put in once a day and is proven to relieve the symptoms of dry eye syndrome. This option is recommended for those who have moderate to severe dry eye, where artificial tears just don’t cut it anymore on their own.
Punctal Plugs are small devices that are inserted into one of the small openings of tear drainage ducts. These plugs essentially do not allow tears to drain from the eye. The tears in turn will stay on the eye keeping it moist longer, and ultimately giving relief for your dry eye symptoms.
There are more treatments for dry eye than what we’ve covered in this article. Research in this area is ongoing, with new technologies, equipment, and treatments becoming available all the time.
If you’re struggling to manage your dry eye, we can help provide you relief– please visit us soon.