Dry eyes affect more people than you might expect, with most of us experiencing the condition at least once during our lifetime. In most cases, the symptoms will resolve themselves without the need for professional intervention. However, for a number of patients, dry eyes become a chronic problem that affects their day to day life. The good news is that there are treatments that can help.
Here’s what you need to know about the different treatment options that may be suggested to you if you are diagnosed with dry eye.
Eye drops tend to be the first treatment that is recommended for patients diagnosed with dry eye. For some people, eye drops will provide sufficient relief from their symptoms and they will not need to consider any other alternatives. There are many different types of eye drops that can offer respite from the effects of dry eyes. Some of these are available over the counter, whilst others are only available on prescription from your eye doctor.
The majority of over the counter varieties are actually artificial tears which are designed to lubricate the eyes rather than treat the underlying cause of dry eyes. There are a variety of different brand options, and often patients try several varieties before finding the one that works best for them.
Prescription eye drops usually include medications that help to treat chronic dry eyes and other eye problems. Cyclosporine (Restasis) is a popular prescription eye drop that treats inflammation that causes dryness. It also works by encouraging the eyes to produce more tears.
Some eye drops contain preservatives whilst others don’t. Those with preservatives are designed to help prevent the growth of bacteria. However, some people find eye drops containing preservatives irritating and they are generally not recommended for patients with severe dry eyes.
There are also numerous gels and ointments that are available both over the counter and on a prescription that has been shown to be effective in reducing and controlling the symptoms of dry eyes. Gels and ointments tend to stay in the eyes longer than conventional drops, meaning that they are best for overnight use.
Sometimes, dry eye is believed to occur as a side effect of taking certain medications. Two very popular and widely-issued drugs – one for high blood pressure and the other for depression – both list dry eyes as a prevalent side effect. If your dry eyes are believed to be caused by the medications that you are reliant on, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor to see if there are any alternative drugs that you can take that don’t have this side effect.
Screen time is rarely the sole reason why someone suffers from dry eyes, but nevertheless it is a contributor in many cases. If you can, we strongly recommend that you consider cutting back on screen time as much as possible. If you work with screens, be sure to take regular breaks to let your eyes relax and adjust to seeing objects further away. Reduced screen time might not only help treat or manage dry eyes, but it could also prevent it and a heap of other eye-related problems including eyestrain, headaches, binocular vision disorder, and myopia.
Punctual plugs are tiny devices that are placed into the drains int the corners of the eyes that enable fluid to be removed from the surface of the eyes. By closing these drains using punctual plugs, you can keep tear film on the surface of the eyes for longer, preventing dryness and associated symptoms.
Lipiflow is arguably one of the most effective treatments for moderate to severe dry eyes. This innovative system works by transmitting tiny, electronic impulses of heat and pressure. These stimulate the glands responsible for making tear film. In doing so, they become unclogged and can begin working more efficiently, producing the necessary lubrication to keep your eyes healthy.
If you would like to discover more about the treatment options for dry eyes, our knowledgeable eye care experts in Hackensack, NJ would be happy to help. Please contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment.