As the leaves change colors and fall quickly approaches, the air gets drier causing the eyes to dry out. Dry eye’s is a common condition that is suffered by many people around the world. One of the main causes of Dry Eye is Meibomian Gland Dysfunction. Meibomian gland dysfunction causes a blockage of your meibomian gland, and causes inflammation causing discomfort, and irritability in the eye. Tear-flow imbalance, age, side effects from certain medicine can also be common reasons for dry eyes.
For those who have chronic dry eyes there are many treatments available to help you to reduce symptoms, even in some cases fix the problem.
Below are a few treatment options available and symptoms of dry eyes.
- Reddening of the eyes
- Increased rubbing
- Burning sensations
- Foreign body sensation
- Excessive blinking
- Excessive eye rubbing
Treatments for Dry Eyes:
The first line of treatment for dry eyes is non-prescription artificial tears. In addition staying well hydrated, running a humidifier, hot compresses, proper lid hygiene, and oral supplements such as flaxseed, fish oil, and Omega 3’s are all useful therapies.
If artificial tears are needed more than twice daily to stay comfortable, the second line of treatment is punctal plugs. The tears drain from the eye through openings in the upper and lower lids called the puncti. When a very tiny silicone plug is put into the “punctum”, the natural tears and artificial tears stay in the eye longer. This can help with the symptoms of dry eyes and increase contact lens tolerance. Dr. O’Rourke can insert the punctal plugs during an office visit, and the procedure is usually covered by medical insurance.
Medicated Eye Drops
If symptoms are still present with punctal plugs, a prescription drop like Restasis and/or Xiidra may be advised, which increases your own tear production and cuts down on inflammation.
Autologous Serum Drops
In most cases, the more severe the dry eye, the greater the need for autologous serum eye drops. Autologous eye drops are simply eye drops that have been made with the plasma that is located in your blood. Autologous serum eye drops are often used as a last resort, but they are often the only therapy that some people find helpful for healing severely dry corneas. In severe cases of dry eye, the epithelial cells that are located on the top layer of the cornea may become sick and fall off. In order to repair the layer, these drops can be used. These drops contain the patients’ blood’s plasma and serum, a mixture which helps promote the growth of epithelium. This mixture promotes the growth of these cells and repairs the damage that was done to the eyes.
Amniotic Membranes (Prokera)
Amniotic Membranes like Prokera are a form of a medicated contact lens can enhance the healing process in severe dry eye, providing nutrients to the cornea and a scaffold for regeneration of the outer cell layer of the cornea.
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)
The Northwest Eye Center is now offering a revolutionary new treatment for dry eyes called IPL, Intense Pulsed Light. We are the only center in Colorado to offer this treatment, the closest center to offer IPL being the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, AZ.
IPL improves the function of the Meibomian Glands along the lid margin. The purpose of these glands is to secrete the oily layer of the tear film, which prevents evaporation, a significant issue in our dry Colorado environment. IPL also coagulates the blood vessels along the lid margin, which release inflammatory components in the eye, thereby improving the symptoms of dry eyes. In our experience, 95% of patients who have failed other therapies have seen improvement with IPL. The procedure is performed in our Essence Laser Center adjacent to the Northwest Eye office.
For more information on IPL for dry eyes, contact us at Essence Laser & Wellness
Don’t suffer with the symptoms of dry eyes. At the Northwest Eye Center we can help you find what works for you.