Dry Eye is a common condition that effects millions of Americans every year. It happens when your tears don’t work correctly, such as not producing enough or poor-quality tears. This tear instability leads to inflammation and damage of the eye's surface. This can make your eyes feel uncomfortable, and in some cases it can also cause vision problems.
Some symptoms of dry eye include scratching, stinging, or burning feelings in your eye, red eyes, light sensitivity, and blurry vision. Treatment for dry eye usually depends on what’s causing your symptoms. There are a few different types of treatment that can ease your symptoms and help keep your eyes healthy.
If you experience dry eyes, simple lifestyle changes may help prevent your dry eyes symptoms. For instance:
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If your dry eye is more serious, your eye doctor may give you a prescription for eye drops.
Prescription medicines used to treat dry eyes include:
If tears are draining too quickly from your eyes, one option to treating dry eyes is plugging the openings to the tear ducts with tiny silicone plugs (punctal plugs). These plugs close the tiny opening (punctum) that you have in the inner corner of your upper and lower eyelids and can help keep your tears in your eyes.
Standard soft lenses sit on the cornea, which can be extremely irritating for dry eye patients. They also act as sponges, soaking up the moisture on the surface of the eye. For dry eye patients, these factors make wearing standard contact lenses virtually unbearable. Scleral lenses, on the other hand, sit on the sclera (the white of the eye) and vault over the cornea. The lenses don’t touch the corneal surface at all, thereby minimizing irritation.
Scleral lenses can drastically improve quality of life: Patients with dry eyes struggle with pain, discomfort, eye exhaustion, confidence issues due to severe eye redness, and more. Scleral lenses do three things at once for these patients: they provide vision correction, they protect the eye, and they serve a therapeutic purpose by lubricating the eye. These factors can improve the quality of life of people with dry eye disease. They decrease pain and/or discomfort, eye redness, the need to repeatedly scratch the eyes or apply eyedrops, and simultaneously provide crisp, clear vision during wear.
LipiFlow® is an FDA-approved treatment for Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) — the leading cause of dry eye. IN fact, 86% of dry eye cases are linked to Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD). Meibomian glands are the tiny gland on the eyelids. These glands are responsible for releasing the natural oil. People produce the oil with each blink to coat the tears helping to keep our eyes comfortable and moist. MGD occurs when the glands do not function properly. If left untreated, the glands can undergo changes leading to degeneration of the glands and permanent damage.
LipiFlow® treats MGD by warming and massaging the inside of the eyelids to restore healthy oil production and improve tear quality.
Patients are evaluated to determine whether they suffer from MGD using LipiScan, an imaging device specifically designed to view the Meibomian glands.
Studies show that while some patients experience some discomfort from the procedure, most find it very tolerable.
After a LipiFlow® treatment, the Meibomian glands begin normal production of oils that are necessary for maintaining high-quality tears. These oils keep the tears from evaporating too quickly, thus improving the overall health of the surface of the eye.
In addition, a reduction in dry eye may improve visual clarity. It usually takes about six to eight weeks to achieve optimal results, but relief can last up to 12 months.