7 TREATMENTS FOR DRY EYES

Dr. Jim Martin 03/23/2016

woman-irritated-eyes-dry-itchy.pngMany patients suffer from dry eyes, particularly in the Texas Panhandle where weather conditions are often dry and windy. For some patients, dry eyes are an occasional issue, while for other patients, they're an ongoing problem.

If you have consistent dry eyes, set up an appointment with your eye doctor to get to the root of the problem. Depending on the underlying cause of dry eyes, an optometrist may recommend one or more of the following dry eye treatments.

1. Taking Cyclosporine. The only prescription drug on the market for treating dry eye is Cyclosporine, which is an anti-inflammatory medication. It reduces corneal damage, heightens basic tear production, and minimizes dry eye symptoms. It may take up to three to six months of twice daily medication to see its effects. For some severe dry eye cases, an optometrist will prescribe short-term corticosteroid eye drops to reduce inflammation.

2. Switching medication. If a medication is causing severe dry eye, your eye doctor may suggest an alternative medication that doesn't cause this side effect. Keep in mind that depending on the given medication, an alternative drug may not always be available.

3. Taking omega-3 fatty acids. In some dry eye cases, taking dietary or supplemental sources of omega-3 fatty acids, particularly EPA and DHA, reduces irritation symptoms.

4. Adjusting or stopping contact lens wear. When contact lens wear contributes to dry eyes, your optometrist may recommend a different type of lens or may suggest reducing the number of hours you wear your lenses. Depending on the severity of dry eye, your eye doctor may suggest stopping contact lens wear altogether, at least temporarily.

5. Plugging the drainage holes. The drainage holes are small round openings at the inside corners of the eyelids where tears flow from the eye down to the nose. An eyecare professional can insert lacrimal or punctal plugs as a short term solution. Typically, the process is painless and patients don't feel the plugs.

6. Undergoing surgery. For some eye patients, a simple surgical procedure called punctal cautery is suggested to close the drainage holes permanently. The surgery helps keep the limited tears that the eye does produce on the eye for a longer period of time.

7. Undergoing LipiFlow. 86% of eye patients with dry eyes have an issue with the eye's lipid layer. When the meibomian or oil glands aren't producing protective lipid, the tears that keep the eye moist dry up too rapidly, leaving the eye's surface dry and susceptible to irritation. LipiFlow opens up the congested eyelid glands, enabling the lipids to flow properly.

To learn more about dry eyes or schedule a dry eye consultation, contact Broome Optical today.

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