Chronic Dry Eye – It’s Time to Fight Back!

January 30, 2020

If you’re dealing with a diagnosis of chronic dry eye, you know how challenging it can be. The symptoms can drive you practically insane. The everyday aggravation of stinging, burning, scratchy eyes, sensitivity to light, redness, difficulty wearing contact lenses or driving at night, blurred vision or watery eyes makes many daily activities difficult. If you’re in this cycle of misery, you may have tried eye drops and medications with little to no success. 

But don’t despair…your eye doctor can help you win the battle against your dry eyes. There are several outstanding, innovative treatments that can reduce or eliminate the symptoms of dry eye. 

Punctal Plugs 

These tiny medical devices are placed in the puncta, the small holes in the upper and lower inside corners of your eyelids, next to your nose. The puncta help your tear ducts control the flow of tears leaving the eye. When the correct amount of tears is produced, the level of tear film covering the eye stabilizes, resulting in the ideal amount surface moisture for the eye. If your eyes are dry, they send signals to your tear ducts to produce more tears to ease the dryness. This can cause excessive watering of the eyes, which decreases the vital tear film, starting the cycle again. Up to four punctal plugs can be placed, if the top and bottom lids of both eyes are treated. 

The plugs come in two types, semi-permanent and dissolvable. Dissolvable plugs are made of collagen or a similar material that can be absorbed by the body. They last anywhere from a few days to a few months, and are usually used to determine if this type of treatment will be effective for the patient. Semi-permanent plugs are usually made of silicone, and are designed to be removed and replaced at a regular interval to be determined by your eye doctor. 

After the tear ducts are measured and the plugs are inserted, you won’t be able to feel them. You can resume all normal activities upon leaving the office.  

Lipiflow 

This treatment is approved by the FDA for the treatment of Meibomian gland dysfunction, a leading cause of dry eye. The Lipiflow machine is connected to a disposable pad. When placed on the eyelid, the pad heats the surface to a temperature of 108 degrees Fahrenheit, causing a comfortable, warm sensation that has been called “a spa treatment for the eye”. The unit then massages the lid to clean and unplug the Meibomian glands. Best of all, it only takes about 12 minutes to complete!  

Although the Lipiflow procedure is not covered by vision savings plans, our optometrists offer financing options that will make this essential procedure available to those suffering from dry eye.  

Amniotic Membrane 

Uncontrolled inflammation on the surface of a dry eye leads to chronic pain and irritation. This can cause tissue damage, resulting in scarring and hazy vision. Amniotic membrane treatment helps heal the surface of the eye, allowing for better, more reliable tear production. Amniotic membrane is the part of the placenta that rests nearest to the baby as it develops in the womb. It has natural therapeutic properties that protect the baby, and once this important job is done, it can be used to help eyes damaged by faulty tear production to heal quickly and safely. Amniotic membrane is provided by tissue banks that are carefully monitored by the FDA. This safe treatment can be completed quickly in your optometrist’s office, with a minimum of discomfort. Not all people suffering from dry eye are candidates for this treatment, but your eye doctor can decide if this option is for you. 

To learn more about advanced treatments for dry eye, Google “dry eye” and “eye doctors near me” to find Pro-Optix Eye Care. Schedule an appointment today with one of the Tanglewood/Galleria Area’s premier optometrists. We’re your allies when it comes to fighting dry eyes! 

 


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