Dry Eye Disease: Treatments
There are a variety of methods used to treat the symptoms of Dry Eye Disease. Treating the symptoms will help bring temporary relief by focusing on tear replacement or the reduction of inflammation.
Common Symptomatic Treatments*
- Artificial Tears (AT) or Eye Drops – AT drops provide lubrication to the eye. Different AT replacement drops have varying degrees of viscosity. Our office has a variety of eye drops tailored to the individual’s eyecare needs. For most Dry Eye Disease patients, our doctors will recommend Systane Balance, Oasis Plus PF and/or Blink Contacts.
- Punctal/Lacrimal Plugs – Very small inserts (collagen or silicone) designed to reduce the drainage of tears from the inner corner of the eyelid. Available in permanent or semi-permanent, these plugs will keep the tears on the eyes longer.
- Hot Compresses – Application of heat to the outside of the eyes can keep the local gland oils less viscous (thick and sticky). We highly recommend D.E.R.M heat masks.
- Supplements – Omega-3s are recommended to reduce inflammation and/or irritation. Our doctors recommend EZ Tears. Click here to learn more about how fish oil can protect your eyes.
- Eyelid Cleansing Products – Keeping the eyelids and lashes clear of unwanted microorganisms and debris is important and effective in the treatment and prevention of eye conditions such as, Dry Eye Disease, Meibomian Gland Dysfunction, blepharitis, meibomitis and stye. Our doctors recommend eyelid scrubs by Avenova.
- Prescription Medications – In some cases, a prescription medication may be advised. Our doctors generally recommend Xiidra™ from Shire™ and Restasis® from Allergan.
*The treatments/products listed above are available in our office.
To effectively treat Dry Eye Disease, however, the root cause must also be addressed.
Dry Eye Disease (DED) is a common ocular surface disease (OSD) affecting the tear film. An OSD is a disorder of the corneal surface, the transparent layer on the front of the eye. These disorders can significantly affect one’s eyesight and in untreated/worst cases, cause blindness due to scarring. Common symptoms of OSDs are blurry vision, discomfort or pain, redness and itching.
Lesser Causes of DED:
Environmental – Weather, elements, altitude, etc.
Lifestyle Induced – Nutrition, reduced blinking due to long hours of computer work, etc.
Physical Conditions or Surgeries – Reduced tear production, aging process, hormonal fluctuations, thyroid related eye disorders, Sjögren’s Syndrome, laser eye surgery, etc.
For the majority of Dry Eye sufferers, the actual underlying cause is Meibomian Gland Dysfunction.
Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) is a disruption of the meibomian glands reducing the secretion of oil into the eye’s tear film. This blockage causes the natural protective tear film to evaporate too quickly causing Dry Eye Disease (DED).
The clinical science behind MGD as the primary cause of DED and its treatment is supported by over 25 years of scientific research. Removal of the gland blockages is essential to improve gland function and reduce the progression of MGD. Over time after treatment, the meibomian glands may become blocked again because of continued evaporative stress, which is caused by infrequent blinking from modern lifestyles and leads to thickening of the gland secretions and blockage of oil production.
(MGD is also associated with an eyelid condition called blepharitis, for which our doctors recommend BlephEx treatments.)
Since MGD is the leading cause of Dry Eye Disease and is a blockage of the meibomian glands, a patient’s treatment plan should involve clearing this blockage.
For this, our doctors recommend LipiFlow®.
LIPIFLOW® – the only FDA-cleared medical device for in-office MGD treatment, proven in clinical studies to restore gland function.
LipiFlow® uses vectored thermal pulsating eyepieces known as ‘activators.’ LipiFlow® Activators are precisely designed to provide necessary inner and outer lid contact to properly apply heat and massage and evacuate the meibomian glands. When the Vectored Thermal Pulse (VTPTM) LipiFlow® treatment is properly applied, the heat and gentle massaging action evacuate the blockages from the glands, allowing the glands to resume oil production.
The entire treatment takes approximately 12 minutes. Your doctor will help you decide how frequently the LipiFlow® procedure should be repeated.
How Does LipiFlow Work?
“The LipiFlow® has brought immense relief. I no longer feel the burning and itching, and the watering has decreased significantly . It is so nice to not be constantly thinking about my eyes! Thank you for the relief!” – Eyes For Life LipiFlow® patient Michele Talarico
Check out our current Dry Eye Treatment Promotions!
At Eyes For Life in Spokane, WA, we specialize in Dry Eye Relief. To have your eyes evaluated for Dry Eye Disease and to discuss treatment options with one of our doctors, contact our office today! Online or by phone (509)448-7300.