Having chronically dry eyes is very common, especially for those who are middle-aged or older. The good news is there is a vast number of treatments available for dry eyes.
Why Dry Eye Occurs
Your eyes may become dry if you don’t have a sufficient quantity or quality of tears, which help keep the eyes lubricated. Your eyes are normally bathed in tears every time you blink your eyes. Tears are important to help wash away dirt, debris, or microorganisms from the eye, as well as keep the surface of the eye moist, clear, and comfortable.
Many medical conditions and medications may increase your risk of developing dry eye, such as:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Sjogren’s syndrome
- Thyroid disease
- Beta blockers
- Birth control pills
- Gastrointestinal drugs
- Hormone replacement therapy
Conservative Treatments for Dry Eye
Dry eye treatments attempt to restore either quantity or quality of your tears – or both. Some of the most popular treatments for dry eyes include increasing fluid in the eyes and/or stopping the loss of tears, such as:
- Over-the-counter artificial teardrops can be administered directly into the eyes. These solutions can be used as needed and are ideal for mild cases of dry eye.
- Oral supplements such as omega-3 fish oil pills or flaxseed oil can help improve the quality and quantity of tears your eyes produce.
- Prescription eyedrops can encourage the eyes to produce more tears.
Procedures to Treat Dry Eye
If eye drops or medications fail to work for you, there are other options available to treat dry eye. The ophthalmologists at Scott Eye Care can help identify which type of procedure may be right for you, based on the extent and cause of your dry eye. These procedures may include:
- Tear drainage can be halted in a variety of ways, including:
- Punctal plugs are tiny devices – about the size of a grain of rice – inserted into the tear ducts to stop tears from draining off the surface of the eye too quickly. The plugs may be temporary and designed to dissolve after a short period of time (few days to months), or semi-permanent and intended to remain in place for years.
- Cauterization involves the use of a heated wire to shrink the area around the tear ducts.
- Surgery to close the tear ducts may be recommended in extreme cases.
- There are several methods to open up clogged Meibomian glands along the eyelids. These glands release oil, which is an important component of tears. Procedures to unclog these glands include manual expression and intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy.
Relief for Dry Eyes in East Orange, NJ
If dry eyes are a constant bother, making it difficult to see without discomfort or sensitivity, it’s time to talk to your ophthalmologist about your dry eye treatment options.
Call Scott Eye Care in East Orange, New Jersey, at (973) 674-1070 for more information and to schedule a visit. You can also request an appointment now.