Facts About Your Dry Eye Treatment Options

The feeling of dry eye is caused by your eye failing to produce quality tears. This can cause blurred vision or itchy eyes that can affect your quality of life.  

Dry eyes can be more than just a nuisance, as it exposes your eyes to harmful infections that can negatively impact your vision. In some cases, these eye infections could even cause vision loss.  

In the last decade, treatment options for dry eyes have evolved. There are plenty of short and long-term remedies designed to soothe your dry eyes. 

If you are experiencing dry eyes, schedule an appointment with an eye doctor at EyeCare Associates. Our skilled team of eye professionals can determine the cause, assess the severity, and provide a treatment plan specially designed for you.  

Learn more about dry eye from the eye care professionals at EyeCare Associates.

What You Can Do to Prevent Dry Eye

Dry eyes can be prevented through a variety of ways. Increase your eye health with these tips to avoid dry eyes:

  • Purchase a humidifier for your home

  • Remember to blink regularly while using electronics

  • Try to limit your screen time or take breaks to refresh your eyes

  • Stay hydrated by drinking enough water each day

  • Try to avoid exposing your eye to smoke

  • Use sunglasses while outside

  • Keep your eyes from being directly exposed to air vents and fans

Dry Eye

What Does Dry Eye Feel Like?

Dry eye symptoms vary from case to case. They can range from a scratchy or burning feeling in your eye to even changes in vision. Those experiencing dry eye disease can even have reduced or blurry vision. It’s also common to experience sensitivity to light.

Possible Causes of Dry Eye

If your eye is unable to produce enough tears to keep the surface of the eye moisturized, it can cause discomfort and potentially lead to vision problems. People over the age of 50, especially women due to menopause, are most at risk for developing dry eye disease. Wearing contact lenses also increases your risk of developing dry eye disease. Dry eye can be caused by a variety of factors, such as screen exposure or even spending too much time in dry environments. Dry eye is commonly seen as a side effect of various prescription medications. Always ask your doctor or pharmacist about the possible side effects of each prescription you are taking, as it can help you determine the cause of your dry eye. 

Those who’ve had past laser eye surgeries, such as LASIK or cataract surgery, are at a higher risk for developing dry eye. Always stay in contact with your eye doctor to discuss any side effects after having laser eye surgery, as they can help determine your treatment options for dry eye. It’s even possible to develop dry eye because of another health condition, such as lupus, diabetes, or thyroids. 

Dry Eye Consultation

How Do Dry Eyes Affect My Eye Health?

Suffering from dry eye increases the risk of developing an eye condition or an injury that may negatively impact your vision. 

The eye produces tears to stay moisturized and free from debris. If a dry eye is unable to keep debris off of the surface of the eye, it increases your risk of developing a corneal abrasion, or an injury to the surface of the eye. An injury to your eye can lead to potentially harmful eye infections that may impact your eye health.

Possible Dry Eye Treatment Options

Using an Eyelid Cleanser

Dry eye can be caused by a blockage of the oil glands around the eyelids. If this is occurring, it can lead to a type of inflammation referred to as blepharitis. If diagnosed, your eye doctor can recommend eyelid cleansers as well as a warm compress regimen to combat inflammation.

Eye Ointments

Eye ointments are also sold over the counter but are thicker than artificial tears. These ointments are typically more intensive than applying artificial tears. They are typically used at night, as they can be thicker and affect your vision. Ointments are especially helpful for those finding themselves frequently experiencing scratchy eyes when waking up.

Over the Counter Relief with Artificial Tears

This treatment option can be found sold over-the-counter. Artificial tears provide moisture to the eyes and can contain ingredients similar to what's found in your natural tears. Your eye doctor may recommend preservative-free artificial tears, as many preservatives can cause further irritation. Artificial tears can be used as needed to make your eyes more comfortable. However, they are a short-term relief option. If you are using eye drops more than four times a day, be sure to set up an appointment with one of our optometrists to discuss a more effective treatment option. 

Relief with Prescribed Medications

There are many prescription medications available for treating dry eyes. Prescription eye drops, such as Cequa, Restasis, and Xidra, work to target eye inflammation and increase the production of tears. These medicines are usually reserved for treating those with moderate to severe dry eye disease. An eye doctor may also recommend taking corticosteroids or antibiotics, which can be taken through eye drops or orally.

Conserve Your Tears with Punctal Plugs

A small device, known as a punctal plug can be inserted into your tear ducts to help conserve your natural tears. These can be recommended by your eye doctor if you’ve attempted to use eye drops or ointments to treat your dry eye without relief.

Advanced Treatment: Autologous Serum Drops

For those with severe symptoms of dry eye, your eye doctor may recommend creating autologous serum drops. These are eye drops that are made from your own blood and can be quite effective. They are created by removing the blood cells from a blood sample, then combining the blood cells with a salt solution. The resulting serum is like your natural tears, allowing you to apply it to your eyes as eye drops. This is however, not a common treatment option.

Schedule an eye exam today

Schedule An Eye Exam Today

There are several treatment options available to alleviate dry eye symptoms.

If you find your dry eye is not responding to over-the-counter eye drops, ask your eye doctor for other treatment options. Find an EyeCare Associates near you to start scheduling your eye exam today.