One of the most common misconceptions we see in our dry eye patients is the idea that one or two quick treatments will mean the end of this troublesome condition. Unfortunately, dry eye is a chronic condition that requires regular attention if you want to keep the symptoms at bay. While this reminder may seem disheartening, it’s important to think like an athlete when it comes to the health of your eyes. If you set out to run a marathon, you wouldn’t jog for a mile two or three times and say “That should do it…I’m done.” If you want to complete the race, you will start a serious training regimen to meet your eventual goal. Regular workouts, watching your diet, getting enough sleep, and finding the perfect pair of shoes will all be on your to-do list to help you cross the finish line.
The same is true with treatment for dry eye disease. To reduce your symptoms and get optimal relief, you need to gather a host of weapons to win the fight and learn to use them all to your best advantage. At Pro-Optix Eye Care, we’re putting together an amazing line of treatments that can be customized to your particular needs. Our eye doctors will design the most effective program to treat your chronic dry eye using a wide variety of options. After a comprehensive vision exam to get your baseline, your optometrist will work with you to create a system of treatment that will produce the results you want.
Dry eye is often due to a tear deficiency, however, most of the time, dry eye is the result of blocked Meibomian glands. These tiny glands are located along the edges of the eyelids, where the eyelashes are found. They produce an oil that is a main component of the tears that protect your eyes. Without it, your tears will evaporate too quickly, causing the surface of your eye to lose vital moisture. Treatments for dry eye take different approaches, but the goal of the treatment is always to increase the effectiveness of this essential protective layer. Let’s talk a bit about some of the options available.
We’re very excited to begin offering OptiLight therapy to our patients! This new treatment is a gamechanger in the fight against dry eye. OptiLight IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) uses specific wavelengths of light in short bursts, reducing the inflammation commonly associated with meibomian gland dysfunction and dry eye disease. This treatment is fast and simple. Your eye doctor applies a coupling gel to the area to be treated and covers your eyes with shields. As the light is applied to your skin, you may feel a slight warming sensation. The treatment is gentle and can be completed in 10–15 minutes. Here’s why it works –
- Promotes oil production
- Increases tear life span
- Reduces the bacteria and mite population that can collect around your eyes
- Eliminates superficial blood vessels contributing to inflammation
A course of treatment typically includes 4 sessions spaced 2–4 weeks apart. Not only does the IPL help with dry eyes, but it helps tighten the skin around the eyes, and also helps with skin conditions such as rosacea.
It’s also a marvelous partner to one of our favorite treatments…
If a spa day for your eyes sounds like the perfect treatment, LipiFlow may be for you! The LipiFlow device has an activator that sits on the eye, and is clipped onto the top and bottom eyelid, all while the eye is numb. The device delivers controlled heat and gentle pressure to the inside of your eyelids in a gentle pulsating motion. It melts the blockages affecting the glands and clears out any remaining debris. The glands can resume their job of producing oil for the tear film, and the stability of the tears is reestablished. Best of all, the entire treatment process only takes about 12 minutes!
One of the latest treatments is low level light therapy or LLLT. A specially designed mask is worn over the eyes, gently warming the eyelids with LED light pulses. Blockages in the Meibomian glands dissolveduring the light treatment, releasing the vital oils to correct the fluid balance of your tears. This painless, relaxing procedure usually takes about 15 minutes and is done right in your doctor’s office. You can resume daily activities as soon as the treatment is completed. Most patients using LLLT therapy report noticeable relief after the very first treatment!
Drops and Sprays
Some of the most – and least – traditional treatments for dry eye fall into this category. They have the advantage of being portable, quick, and easy to use, and can be done anywhere, anytime. And some of them are even available over the counter!
Xiidra – This prescription eye drop is used twice daily to fight the inflammation that causes dry eye. Many patients report relief in as little as two weeks with regular use.
Restasis – Increase your own natural tear production over time with this prescription eye drop. Used twice daily, it can help your eyes generate more of what they need most – moisture! It works differently than many other treatments – it can help increase your eyes’ natural ability to produce tears rather than depending on artificial tears.
Tyrvaya – This innovative nasal spray is the latest “cool thing” to hit the shelves in years when it comes to dry eye treatment. We did a full article on Tyrvaya just a few months ago – you can check out all the details here.
Over-the-Counter Artificial Tears and Gels.
There’s an amazing number of eye treatments available at drug and general merchandise stores, and sometimes it can be hard to decide which ones are best for your needs. Ask your eye doctor for her recommendation, or look to a reputable web resource like this one if you are sitting in the parking lot of Walgreens at 1 am.
These tiny devices are placed in the puncta (tear ducts). These tiny openings drain tears from your eyes. About the size of a grain of rice, plugs stop fluid from draining from the eye, keeping the eye’s surface moist and comfortable and relieving itch, burning, and redness. Your optometrist places them into your tear ducts in a quick, simple procedure right in the office. There are punctal plugs that eventually dissolve on their own, and ones that are made of silicone or acrylic and are designed to last until your eye doctor removes them.
The time has come to get serious about your dry eye disease! Call Pro-Optix Eye Care today to book an appointment with your favorite Houston eye doctor – we’re waiting for your call at 713-360-7095.