There are many different effective medications and other treatments currently available to treat dry eye syndrome. An appropriate dry eye treatment is chosen based on the medical cause of the condition.
Dry eye medication can be used to encourage the eye to produce more lubricating tears and less unhelpful reflex tears. Eye drops for dry eyes containing artificial tears can also be used to alleviate dry eye symptoms. Punctal plugs and dry eye surgery can give relief to patients who dislike taking regular doses of medication. Read on to discover more about dry eye treatment options and how to contact a qualified eye doctor in your area.
Dry Eye Medication
When a patient is first diagnosed with dry eye syndrome, the eye doctor will normally prescribe artificial tears as a synthetic lubricant to alleviate eye stinging, burning, itching, redness, and other unpleasant symptoms. If over the counter eye drops for dry eyes are not successful in treating the condition, prescription eye drops or other forms of dry eye medication may be necessary. While there is currently no permanent cure for dry eye syndrome, medical science is constantly making advances in dry eye treatment technology. Many patients are able to successfully manage their symptoms and minimize the amount of discomfort that the disorder brings to their lives.
Artificial Tears - Over the Counter Eye Drops
Artificial tears are chemical solutions similar to the eye’s natural fluids. They are commonly employed in dry eye care for both chronic and environmentally–caused conditions. Although they tend to have a shorter duration of potency than prescription eye drops and often need to be re-administered four times per day or more, non-prescription eye drops for dry eyes can be very effective in the treatment of mild dry eyes.
Eye drops for dry eyes are not to be confused with eye drops for red eyes. These products contain decongestants that temporarily shrink blood vessels to make your eyes appear whiter. Although many of these products claim to soothe eyes, the effect is usually purely cosmetic and does nothing for dry eye care. Eye redness reducers can also interfere with the eye’s natural healing process. Be sure to consult your eye doctor if you think you may have dry eye syndrome before using any product that claims to eliminate redness.
Prescription Eye Drops for Dry Eyes
Restasis® eye drops are a dry eye treatment designed to increase your body’s ability to produce tears. Insufficient tear production is one of the most common causes of dry eye syndrome. The recommended dosage for Restasis® eye drops is two drops per day. Because Restasis® eye drops are more effective than artificial tears, the relief lasts longer than many non-prescription forms of dry eye medication.
BioTears are another prescription dry eye medication. BioTears are a patented nutrient supplement designed to reduce inflammation in the eyes and to nourish eye structures that regulate proper lubrication. Much of the eye irritation experienced by patients suffering from dry eyes is the result of over-production of pro-inflammatory fatty acids such as prostaglandin, and decreased production of eye lubricating fatty acids such as Omega 6 and Omega 3. By addressing the problem nutritionally, BioTears can provide an effective non-surgical form of dry eye therapy.
In some cases a physician may prescribe a specially formulated steroid eye drop to jumpstart tear production and combat inflammation in dry eyes. There are many environmental and biological factors that may contribute to the development of dry eye syndrome. Your doctor can aid you in determining the specific cause of your symptoms and planning a successful course of dry eye treatment. Even if you are uncertain if a prescription dry eye medication is right for you, don’t hesitate in consulting a trained professional.
For severe dry eyes, punctal plugs can be placed in the drain openings, or punctums, of the lower eyelids. In properly functioning eyes these drains provide a necessary outlet for relieving the eye of excess fluids. Every time the eye blinks, a vacuum is created that pulls tears into the punctums, through the nasolacrimal ducts, and into the nose and throat. Eyes may require surgical dry eye treatment when the punctums allow too much moisture to seep out and leave the eyes vulnerable to dust and organisms present in the air.
There are different types of punctal plugs. Depending upon the severity of the problem, punctal plugs can be either temporary or permanent. Permanent plugs are composed of silicone, while temporary plugs are made of dissolvable collagen. Before a physician makes the decision to recommend a permanent punctal plug, a temporary plug may be placed in the eye to see how it will react to this form of dry eye therapy. Even a permanent punctal plug can be removed if the dry eye treatment is ineffective or has become unnecessary. When placed by a trained professional, punctal plugs are comfortable and visually undetectable. If punctal plugs do not improve the eye’s moisture levels, dry eye surgery may be required.
Dry Eye Surgery
The most effective method of dry eye treatment, used only in extreme cases, is dry eye surgery. This procedure involves cauterizing the tissue at the opening of the punctum, which seals the eye’s fluid drainage system permanently. Unlike the use of punctal plugs, dry eye surgery is irreversible. The surgery requires only local anesthesia and is mildly uncomfortable, rather than painful. During the operation an eye surgeon fuses the walls of the eye’s drainage duct together at its entrance using a tiny heated metal instrument. For chronic sufferers of dry eye syndrome, clearer vision and an end to eye agitation are all the reasons they need to undergo the procedure.
Natural Dry Eye Therapy and Eye Care
If you have dry eyes you don’t have to wait for a doctor’s intervention to find some relief. Making a few small and practical alterations to your daily routine can help your eyes remain irritation free. If you have sought medical intervention for your condition, these tips can aid the success of your dry eye treatment.
- Blink! It may sound simple but many people who regularly perform eye-straining tasks such as reading or computer use get so absorbed in the activity at hand that they forget to rest their eyes. When you are on the computer for long periods of time remember to look away from the computer for about 15 seconds every hour or two, letting your eyes blink freely.
- Often dry eye syndrome is caused by or worsened by dehydration. Drink eight to ten glasses of water each day to give your eyes the ability to produce enough fluids.
- Wear sunglasses when you are outdoors to reduce sun, wind, and dust exposure.
- Stuffy indoor environments can also take a toll on the eye’s moisture level. An air filter can be used to remove dust and other airborne eye agitators.
- Indoor humidity should be between 30 and 50 percent. If you frequently use artificial temperature control such as air conditioning or a heater, consider investing in a humidifier. Fill the humidifier with filtered water. “Hard” tap water can create an airborne mineral dust that can act as an eye irritant.
- When the dry eye symptoms are at their worst, wear glasses instead of contact lenses. Contact lenses can stress an eye that is already not producing enough tears. Also, many eye drop brands cannot be used while contact lenses are inserted.
- If you wear eye makeup make sure it is waterproof to avoid bleeding. When applying mascara only apply it to the tips of the upper lashes. Moisture retention around your lower lids is more important for the overall comfort of your eye. If you can, try to avoid applying makeup to the lower eyelid and lashes all together.
- Supplement your diet with foods that are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids. These foods include walnuts, cod liver oil, flax seed oil, primrose oil, and cold-water fish. Eating foods rich in vitamin A such as eggs or dark green and yellow vegetables may also help nourish the parts of your eyes that retain moisture.
Locate an Eye Doctor in Your Area
If you are suffering from dry eye syndrome you should seek help from a qualified eye doctor in your area. Over the counter eye drops for dry eyes are not always effective and other dry eye medication, care, and treatment is always available. Dry eye syndrome is the number one reason that people decide to see an eye doctor, so you are certainly not alone.
Ophthalmologists are eye experts who specialize in treating disorders and diseases of the eye. An experienced ophthalmologist can determine the causal factors behind your dry eye syndrome and customize a dry eye treatment strategy to help you find relief. Artificial tears, punctal plugs, and dry eye surgery are all possible options that you can discuss with your local ophthalmologist while receiving more helpful hints on how to feel better immediately. Visit DocShop’s extensive listings of eye care specialists to find an ophthalmologist near you.