Do your eyes ever feel scratchy? Like there is something in there? Do you find yourself blinking to try and clear up your vision? These could all be symptoms of dry eye. Dry eye is not only uncomfortable, it can damage your eyes.
Dry eye is a condition when your eyes don’t have enough of the moisture they need. receive the moisture they need. It could mean that you don’t produce enough tears or that they evaporate too quickly. Tears contain a complex mixture of water, oil, and mucus that nourish your eyes and protect them from infection. Inadequate tear production can lead to both short-term discomfort and long-term eye problems.
Typically, dry eye treatment has two parts: lubricating / moisturizing the eyes and treating ocular surface inflammation.
Stinging and Burning
Scratchy and Gritty
Sensitivity to Light
Redness and Irritation
There are conditions such as diabetes, contact lens use, and autoimmune diseases that may cause dry eye.
Additionally, the increasing use of digital devices and screens can also contribute to these symptoms.
Environmental factors and age can also play a role.
WHAT ARE THE BEST EYE DROPS TO USE?
Over the counter artificial tear drops are a good place to start. If you find yourself using tears more than 2-3x/day, it is a good idea to consider using preservative free tear drops. Try to avoid using drops that say "gets the red out".
Reliable brands include Refresh, Systane, Blink tears, Genteal, TheraTears. Prescription eye drops like Restasis, Xiidra, and Cequa also have a role in the treatment of dry eye especially if you are relying on artificial tears more than 3-4x/day.
ARE EYE DROPS THE ONLY OPTION?
TEAR PLUGS -
If you find it difficult to use eye drops, cannot remember to use eye drops, or only get temporary relief from eye drops, we can consider punctal plugs. Punctal plugs are placed in the tear duct in the eyelid. They allow your natural tears to stay on the surface of your eyes longer thus treating the dryness around the clock. You will not feel them. They are placed in the office pain-free.
HOW DO YOU TREAT OCULAR SURFACE "INFLAMMATION"
Ocular surface inflammation requires specific treatment of the MEIBOMIAN GLANDS (oil glands on the eyelid margin near the base of the eyelashes).
"EYELID HYGIENE" -
Hot compresses 1-2x/day
Eyelid cleansers containing dilute hypochlorous acid and/or tea tree oil - available as disposable wipes or sprays
(Brands include: Optase / Ocusoft / Avenova / TheraLid)
In office eyelid treatment: TEAR CARE®