What is dry eye?
“Dry eye” is the term for when your eyes are insufficiently moisturized. This can occur when your eyes do not produce enough tears, or because the tears you’re producing have an improper chemical composition.
Dry eye often occurs during the natural aging process, but can also develop in patients as a result of the following things:
- Eyelid or blinking problems
- Use of medications such as antihistamines, oral contraceptives, and antidepressants
- Climates with low humidity, significant wind, and/or significant dust
- Ocular injury
- Various health conditions, such as arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome, and other autoimmune problems
In addition to being uncomfortable, dry eye can damage eye tissue, scar the cornea and impair vision. Dry eye is not preventable or reversible, but it can be controlled so that patients can live comfortably.
- Irritated, scratchy, dry, uncomfortable or red eyes
- A burning sensation or feeling of something foreign in your eyes
- Blurred vision
Treatments for dry eye are vast, and vary depending on the reason you are experiencing dry eyes.
Treatments for Dry Eye Due to Low Tear Production
One of the most common and accessible treatments for dry eyes due to lack of tears is to use artificial tear drops. These drops come in a variety of brands and can be found over the counter at any pharmacy. There are several formulations, including thicker drops for added relief, and preservative-free for patients with sensitivity to preservatives. Your doctor will discuss which artificial tear drops they recommend for your eyes.
Another treatment for dry eyes is the insertion of punctal plugs.
The corners of our eyelids have small holes, called the punctum. The punctum is the drainage system for the eye, and inserting a punctal plug in the punctum blocks the drainage system, helping your tears to stay in the eye longer. Punctal plugs can be inserted quickly and easily in an office setting, and do not require any recovery time. Your doctor can discuss punctal plugs with you, and determine if they are an option for you.
When the tear glands become inflamed, this can cause a decrease in tear production. Anti-inflammatory medications, such as Restasis, can help treat dry eye by reducing the inflammation of the tear glad, which helps increase tear production. Restasis can be used long term with few side effects. Click here to learn more about Restasis.
Treatments for Dry Eye Due to Tear Quality
For patients suffering from dry eye as a result of issues with the chemical composition of their tears, the doctors are Whitsett Vision Group have several proven and recommended treatments to help improve the quality of tears.
Eyelid Hygiene Treatment
The doctors at Whitsett Vision Group have seen success in treating dry eye with warm compresses and eyelid scrubs. A warm compress can be made with a hand towel that has been heated with warm water. Other patients find it helpful to make a warm compress by filling a clean sock with rice, and warming it for a short period of time in the microwave. Lid scrubs can also be used, and are available over the counter at most pharmacies.
Oral Medications or Supplements
Some patients have found success treating their dry eyes with anti-inflammatory oral medications, like Doxycycline or Minocycline. A Whitsett Vision Group doctor can discuss this treatment option with you, and prescribe medications if they feel it will be beneficial to you. Omega 3 fatty acid supplementation has also given some patients relief from dry eyes, and your doctor may recommend supplements such as fish oil and flaxseed oil, which contain omega 3 fatty acid.
The best way to determine a treatment for your dry eye is to see a Houston eye doctor today. Call Whitsett Vision Group to schedule your evaluation today at (713) 365-9099.