Dry Eye Treatment
There’s no cure for Dry Eye Syndrome. Unfortunately, it’s not a condition that you can see coming either. But once you’re diagnosed properly, you and your eye care professional can do things to help prevent severe symptoms, as well as treat severe symptoms.
Unfortunately like other eye conditions, there’s no way to prevent Dry Eye Syndrome from striking. Dry Eye does not discriminate either. If you live in the right environment, slack on doing simple chores around the home, and sit in front of the computer all day, you could very easily contract Dry Eye. Here are a few things you can do before you begin to experience serious symptoms:
- Drink Water – Water is a great source, and in many cases it’s free of charge. Drinking water helps to keep your body hydrated, especially if you live in dry, hot or cold locations.
- Sunglasses – Wearing sunglasses outdoors can help with the sensitivity to light you experience. Wearing sunglasses can also help keep dust, dirt and debris out of your eyes on windy days.
- Your Location – The environment you live in can play a crucial role when dealing with dry eyes. If you can help it, try living in a location that isn’t dry, dusty, windy or extremely hot or cold.
- Clean More - Doing simple chores regularly like dusting the living room and your bedroom can reduce the amount of pollutants in your home. Vacuuming regularly will also remove and reduce most of the dirt that falls to the floor. Changing your air filters at least once a month can help to keep out new pollutants from entering your home from the outside when you run your air conditioner or heater.
- Humidifiers- Running a humidifier inside your home can bring a certain amount of moisture into the air, especially if you live in the desert, or in a dry location.
Treatment Options for Dry Eye
As there is no preventive steps you can take for Dry Eye, unfortunately there is no cure for it either. There are treatments though, over-the-counter and prescription based. Here are a few things you can go over with your eye care professional about alleviating some of the symptoms:
- Restasis- Restasis is the first prescription of its kind. It wasn’t until 2002 that the US Drug and Food Administration approved this treatment. It’s generally recommended to people who use artificial tear eye drops frequently without getting long-term symptom relief. This treatment increases the body’s ability to produce its own natural, healthy tears by treating one underlying cause of the disease-inflammation.
- Artificial Tears- The most common artificial tear brand is Refresh, which comes in a number of different formulations and strengths. The brand’s Refresh Endura and Refresh Dry Eye Therapy, which are preservative-free, are the first products for dry eye that treat all three layers of the tear film. They give oil to the tear’s lipid layer (to minimize evaporation); water to the tear’s aqueous layer (to keep the eyes wet); and an ocular lubricant to the tear’s mucin layer (to keep the cornea lubricated). Artificial tears also come with preservatives. Many people are sensitive to preservatives in artificial teardrops, making them intolerable. So you should choose brands without preservatives if your eyes are very sensitive. Also, if you are using over-the-counter tear drops, make sure you read the labels carefully, as some are recommended for things like getting the red out, and not really helping with moisturizing.
- Silicone Plugs- This is a non-surgical procedure that involves plugging the upper and lower lids where tears drain into your nose. Tiny bits of silicone are placed in these openings to keep your tears in your eyes and helping your eyes from drying out. These plugs can be temporary or permanent, depending on the severity of your symptoms, and the process is painless.
- Acrylic Plugs- This is a new type of punctual plug that becomes a soft gel once it’s exposed to your body’s heat. It’s supposed to be a one-size-fits-all plug, so things like measurement are unnecessary. It works just the same as the silicone plugs.
- Hydrogel Plugs- This too is a new kind of punctual plug that expands into a soft, pliable gel once inserted into your tear duct canal. If removal of this plug is needed, your eye care professional can simply flush it out with saline solution.
- Surgery- Surgery is a last resort, and is for people who can’t take the plugs being inserted into their tear ducts. Instead, the tear ducts are surgically closed.
- Natural Supplements- Natural supplements such as flaxseed oil and Omega-3 are a great way to help you decrease your dry eye symptoms. Fatty acids are proven to do this. You’ll find that by eating more cold-water fish like salmon, herring, cod and sardines, you’ll be taking in your necessary dosage of Omega-3 fatty acids. Also, staying away from foods and drinks that include caffeine can also reduce your dry eye symptoms, as caffeine is known to rob you of your body’s fluids, and dehydrate you. Some of the natural supplements you can find in your local store are TheraTears Nutrition, HydroEye, and Hydrate Essential.