HOW TO TREAT DRY EYES

Dr. Jim Martin 10/07/2014

man_rubbing_eyes.jpgYour eyes require moisture to perform at their best. They need liquid to help focus properly, wash away foreign materials, and decrease inflammation and infection. When individuals develop dry eye syndrome, it comes with several unwelcome side effects, including the sensation of dry, burning, or scratchy eyes; decrease in visual acuity; light sensitivity; redness; greater occurrence of infection and increased risk of ocular complications. If you find yourself among the millions who have this condition, you should be aware of the many treatment options available to you.

Causes

Dry eye syndrome has been associated with a variety of factors, which include:

  • use of certain medications and medical therapies
  • environmental factors such as dry climates, smoke, and wind
  • excessive reading or staring, especially prevalent in continuous computer use
  • age
  • changes in hormones
  • wearing contact lenses
  • medical conditions including hypertension, diabetes, thyroid dysfunction and eye or eyelid inflammation

Dry eye is not necessarily the lack of tear drop formation, but is also associated with the formation of poor quality tears lacking sufficient amounts of lipids or chemical make up to adequately meet the needs of the eyes.

Type Of Dry Eye

Dry eyes are typically separated into two categories: evaporative and aqueous. These groups help in defining the nature of the symptoms from which you are suffering.

The eye relies on not one, but three layers of protective fluids to maintain best health and function. It includes an outer layer of an oily substance, a middle layer of watery fluid, and an inner protective layer of mucus.

There are numerous small glands, meibomian glands, on the inner side of the lids. These glands are responsible for replenishing the top oily layer surrounding the eye itself. The watery layer is provided by the lacrimal gland found just below the eyebrow and the goblet cells within the conjunctiva produce the mucus.

These three layers work together to provide your eye with protection and health; any one of these layers can be responsible for the resulting dry eye effect you may be experiencing. This makes an eye exam an important first step in determining the right treatment option for you.

Treatments

Following your examination, a medical provider may suggest:

  • changes to current medications or contact lenses
  • prescription eye drops to increase tear production
  • punctal plugs designed to prevent tears from draining off the eye
  • eye masks: used either to aid in keeping eyes hydrated or provide a source of warmth to increase blood flow
  • therapeutic eye massage with targeted locations such as the eyelid or tear duct depending on your needs.
  • LipiFlow, an in office treatment that unplugs meibomian glands to restore their function

See our professionals at Broome Optical in Amarillo to learn about your best treatment options today.

Learn More Dry Eye Causes