Dry eye is caused by a lack of proper lubrication (hence its namesake). This is generally due to your body not producing enough tears to keep the eye properly lubricated. Another cause of dry eye is when your body produces poor quality tears. In this case, the tears evaporate too quickly and fail to properly lubricate the eye.
There are many causes of dry eye, including computer work, hormonal changes, allergies, autoimmune diseases, recent eye surgery, contact lens wear, infections, and certain types of medications (antihistamines and antidepressants, mostly).
Many dry eye symptoms are similar to other eye conditions and are often misattributed. Symptoms include:
Treating dry eye is generally focused on improving the quantity and quality of tears your body produces, or by providing artificial lubrication (via eye drops).
Artificial tears – Proven quite effective for relatively mild cases of dry eye, such as when dry eye is caused by computer use, artificial tears (lubricating eye drops) are available both over the counter and by prescription.
They are available in different thicknesses. “Light” eye drops are low viscosity, providing quick but temporary relief; thick eye drops provide long lasting relief, but can impair your vision for a short period.
Certain types of artificial tears work best on different causes of dry eye. We will work with you to find the appropriate version for your needs.
Restasis – We may prescribe restasis in addition to or replacement of artificial tears. Used daily, restasis provides lubrication and acts as an anti inflammatory. It also helps your body produce more tears, keeping the eye moist and lubricated.
Restasis must be used for at least three months before you will experience its full benefits.
Steroid eye drops – Used to quickly reduce symptoms of dry eye that are the result of inflammation, steroid eye drops are not intended for long term use due to the increased risk of developing cataracts and high blood pressure. However, these risks are negligible when used responsibly in the short term.
If you suffer from chronic dry eye, we will create a treatment plan focused on relieving your symptoms and providing long-term relief.
One of the tools we use to do this the Bio-Tissue® Prokera®. The Prokera® is used to reduce inflammation and help restore a healthy epithelium. It’s an effective tool for repairing corneal damage and promoting fast healing.
We may also look at placing punctal plugs in your tear drainage ducts, effectively blocking them. Because the tears can no longer freely drain via the drainage ducts, they stay on the eye longer and provide better lubrication.
In advanced cases of dry eye, the treatment plan is customized to you and your symptoms. We will walk you through our recommendations once we are able to assess the cause and severity of your dry eye.
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