Dry Eyes & Dry Eye Problems
Dry Eyes & Dry Eye Problems
Dry eyes and dry eye problems are a very common eye condition that can affect eye health and vision. Dry eye is a chronic condition in which there is an insufficient quantity or unhealthy quality of tears to lubricate and nourish the eye. Dry eye often goes undiagnosed and untreated, despite being a very common and treatable disease. As the population ages, its prevalence is also increasing. Currently between 20 and 25 million Americans suffer from dry eyes. Women are more prone to suffer from dry eye disease. This includes 3.2 million women over the age of 50 and 15% of all Americans over age 65.
Symptoms of Dry Eyes
The symptoms of dry eyes include a scratchy, dry, sandy or gritty feeling that can be accompanied by a stringy, clear, white discharge, excess tearing with noticeable pain and redness. Fluctuation of your vision, light sensitivity and tired heavy eyes are common. These symptoms are often troubling enough that they cause patients to have difficulty while trying to read, use computer screens, mobile devices, drive, or even watch television. Dry eyes and dry eye syndrome not only cause discomfort, but can also have a negative impact on performing daily activities. In order to be comfortable and see clearly we need to have a sufficient quantity of healthy tears on the surface of the eye at all times. Dry eye can result from not producing enough of your own tears or an excessive evaporation of the tears you do produce, or a combination of these factors.
Treatment & Help for Dry Eye
Depending on the severity and the cause of your dry eyes, we may recommend a number of different treatment options to help your dry eye problems including prescription medications such as Restasis®, Xiidra®, MIEBO™, Tyrvaya® or Cequa™ eye drops, punctal plugs, artificial tears, dietary supplements and vitamins and/or IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) Treatment all of which help dry eye problems and address Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) by stabilizing and maintaining your tear film and eyelid health.
The prescription of Restasis®, Xiidra®, MIEBO™, Tyrvaya® or Cequa™ eye drops, with or without the other treatments, may often help alleviate your symptoms. Even with these and other treatment options, there are some patients that may not respond as well as desired due to some underlying, low-grade inflammatory or infectious process. In these cases, it may be necessary for us to also prescribe an oral antibiotic such as doxycycline or an anti-inflammatory eye drop such as an anti-inflammatory eye drop such as a steroid eye drop.
We may suggest the insertion of tiny punctal plugs that will slow down or even stop the drainage of tears from the eye. These plugs are easily and comfortably placed in the Lacrimal Puncta in your eyelids. There are two puncta per eye, one per each of the upper and lower eyelids. Initially you may have a temporary dissolving plug put in place to see if your dry eye symptoms are responsive to this treatment. If the results are good, it may be necessary to place a more permanent type of plug in the Lacrimal Puncta to affect a long-term solution. These plugs can remain in place indefinitely, but can also be removed as needed.
Supplements & Vitamins
If the oily layer of the tear film is deficient, we may suggest that you increase your consumption of oily fish, take omega 3 vitamin supplements, or even take flax seed oil as a dietary supplement. Supplements can vary in their potency and efficacy, and the eye doctors at D’Ambrosio Eye Care will make the appropriate recommendations. Most likely you will also be asked to drink plenty of water.
IPL (Intense Pulsed Light)
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) is a light therapy that has long been used in treatment of various skin conditions, such as rosacea, sun damage, and acne. Studies have shown that it also helps treat moderate-to-severe chronic dry eye disease and Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD). It works by heating the Meibomian glands and liquifying the oils, reducing the inflammation and redness associated with rosacea and blepharitis, and eliminating harmful bacteria and mites that often live on the eyelids and eyelashes. Although many patients notice improvement in dry eye symptoms after their first or second treatment, an initial series of three IPL treatments, performed once a month over the course of three months, is recommended. This initial treatment series is designed to help with long-term success in treating both chronic dry eye disease and MGD. After the initial series of IPL treatments, maintenance treatments may be provided 1 to 2 times per year, depending on the severity of the condition.