Dry eyes or dry eye syndrome is one of the most common conditions to affect this part of our anatomy. It occurs when the eyes no longer receive the lubrication that they need to keep them functioning comfortably. There can be several reasons why this happens, from our bodies no longer creating enough tear film to moisten the eyes, to the tear film draining from them too quickly. Whatever the reason, dry eyes can have a significant impact on our day to day lives. Whilst for some people it will clear up without intervention, other people may desperately seek treatment to alleviate their symptoms. Some of the indicators of dry eyes include stiff, scratchy and irritated eyes, redness, soreness, blurred vision and struggling to spend time in bright light.
So, what is the best treatment for dry eyes? Well, in addition to making some important changes to your lifestyle, there are several other options. Since every patient is unique, there is no ‘one size fits all approach’ to treating dry eye, and you may need to work with your eye doctor to determine which is most effective at alleviating your symptoms.
Eye drops are almost certainly the first line of treatment that will be recommended for you to try to resolve your dry eyes. There are lots of different types of eye drops. Some eye drops are known as artificial tears because they work by emulating real tear film to lubricate the eye. Others contain ingredients that boost the health of your eyes as well as lubricating them. There are also eye drops that contain medications such as anti-inflammatories and steroids that can help to reduce the symptoms of dry eyes.
Topical treatments are the name given to those which are applied to the eyes in the form of gels, creams, lotions, and other similar substances. These are typically placed inside the inner eyelids where the ingredient contained within them stimulates the glands responsible for tear film production.
In addition to topical treatments, numerous oral medications can increase tear production and flow and have an anti-inflammatory action. The name for this group of medicines is tetracyclines.
Also known as punctual plugs, this treatment is usually recommended for patients whose dry eyes are believed to be caused by the tear film draining too quickly from the surface of the eyes. These tiny devices are placed into the drainage channels inside the eyes to prevent the moisture from leaving the eyes too quickly. Instead, it will remain on the surface of the eye for longer, keeping them lubricated and reducing your dry eye symptoms.
If your dry eye is believed to be being caused by blockages in the glands that produce your tear film, you may be recommended to try a treatment called Lipiflow. Lipiflow is a thermal pulsation device that delivers heat and a massaging motion to the glands to break down any blockages and enable tear film production to recommence.
If you have any questions about dry eyes, or if you would like to schedule an appointment with our experienced eye care team, please contact our offices where they would be delighted to assist you.