Dry Eye Treatments That Work
Many people experience dry eye symptoms throughout their lives.
These symptoms may show up from time to time, or they may be chronic and affect eyes daily. Either way, red, burning eyes are never a welcome feeling.
Treating dry eyes can prevent larger issues, which is why we’ve compiled this list of the latest treatments to help elevate your eye health and keep your eyes moist.
The Importance of Healthy Tear Film
Before you receive treatment for dry eye syndrome (also known as dry eye disease), you will want to meet with your optometrist to have your tear film assessed.
Your tears are made up of 3 parts: a mucous layer, an aqueous (watery) layer, and an oil (meibum) layer (produced in your meibomian glands). These 3 components work synergistically to keep the surface of the eyes properly lubricated.
Dry eyes can be the result of 2 causes: either our eyes don’t produce enough tears, or the tears our eyes produce are imbalanced.
Symptoms of Dry Eye
Common dry eye symptoms can include:
- Sandy or gritty feeling
- Blurry vision
- Light sensitivity
- Stringy discharge
- Sudden and extensive tearing
- A foreign body sensation
Dry eyes can be exacerbated by environmental factors like dry air, wind, and smoke, lifestyle factors, like wearing contact lenses, and by existing health conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.
Your eye doctor may recommend at-home solutions like supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids, using warm compresses or prescription eye drops, or they may recommend in-office treatments for moderate to severe dry eye symptoms.
Combining warmth and gentle pressure, Lipiflow Thermal Pulsation naturally encourages your eyes to create healthier tears.
A clinical study showed that 79% of patients reported a significant decrease in dry eye symptoms within 4 weeks of a single Lipiflow treatment. A single treatment takes only 12 minutes and helps alleviate chronic dry eye symptoms in the long term.
Lipiflow is a particularly effective dry eye treatment because it treats the cause of dryness at the source—in the eyelids and glands that produce tears.
Your optometrist will help determine if Lipiflow is a good option for you.
Some cases of dry eye are caused by blepharitis, a condition that causes our eyelids to become inflamed, crusty, and sore.
BlephEx is a device that gently cleans and exfoliates the edge of the eyelid and eyelashes to relieve blepharitis symptoms. The procedure is painless and effective. Before beginning the BlephEx treatment, your eye doctor will apply numbing drops to your eyes to ensure your comfort.
The procedure usually lasts between 6 and 8 minutes and can provide immediate relief and encourage your eyes to resume producing normal tears.
Doctors have discovered a protein that is deficient in patients with dry eye—lacritin. Because of this discovery, Lacripep was developed.
Lacripep is a topical eye drop that aims to treat the causes of dry eye. Results from clinical trials showed a rapid improvement—as quickly as 2 weeks—in corneal health and a reduction in dry eye symptoms.
While traditional eye drops seek to reduce inflammation, Lacripep aims to stop our eyes from becoming inflamed in the first place by targeting the cells in our eyes that come in contact with our tears and creating a stable tear film (which reduces evaporation).
Lacripep remains in the eyes for up to 24 hours by soaking into the lipid layer. This allows the eye to release the medication slowly, providing continuous relief as it works.
Intense Pulsed Light
Using wavelengths of light, intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy is applied to the areas around the eyes to break up clogged oil glands, eliminate damaged blood vessels, and reduce inflammation.
As the light heats up and liquefies hardened oil in your meibomian glands, it allows the oils to flow freely into your tears, reducing tear evaporation.
This in-office treatment has minimal side effects, but some patients may notice reduced fine lines around their eyes.
Find Relief From Dry Eyes
New and innovative treatments for dry eyes are available to help if you are struggling with these irritating symptoms. Many of these treatments encourage our eyes to produce higher-quality tears to keep our eyes moist, reducing or eliminating dry eye symptoms entirely.