Clinical Treatment OptionsThe treatment prescribed for you will rely on our comprehensive evaluation at Center For Eye Comfort. Once we have analyzed the status of your dry eyes, we will design a treatment plan specific to your diagnosis. Because not all treatments work for everyone, our goal is to find what works best to treat and prevent the progression of your condition.
Omega 3 Supplements
Omega 3 fatty acids are involved in the natural anti-inflammatory process of the body. These fatty acids help stabilize the tear film of the eye by providing good quality oils and improve the secretion quality of meibomian glands. EPA and DHA are the two active ingredients in omega 3.
NOTE: Not all omega 3 supplements are created equal. Many supplements available at local drugstores contain only 20-30% EPA and DHA; the rest consists of filler ingredients such as omega 9, which has pro-inflammatory properties, dioxides, or plastics. Higher quality supplements provide 100% EPA and DHA and therefore are more effective and require smaller doses. Before adding omega 3 supplements to your daily regimen, check the label to ensure that you are taking a quality supplement. Alternatively, ask us about Nordic Naturals.
Steroid eye drops: This short term treatment decreases inflammation in the eye. These drops provide quick relief, but long term use is not recommended due to the risk of cataract formation and increased eye pressure (which can lead to glaucoma).
Cyclosporine (Restasis): If steroid eye drops improve the comfort of the eye, this is an indication that Restasis can help. Although it is slower to act, Restasis has been shown to improve tear production, alleviate symptoms (via dry eye surveys), reduce dependency on artificial tears, and stabilize vision.
Anti-histamine and Mast Cell Stabilizer: This is an effective treatment for allergic, itchy eyes. Histamines are a substance produced by the body as an immune response to an allergen or irritant. Mast cells are white blood cells that are responsible for releasing histamine.
Our natural tears are composed of various components that cannot be duplicated by a normal artificial tear. These include growth factors, vitamins, electrolytes, antioxidants, amino acids, antimicrobial factors and anti-inflammatory factors. A new treatment option is to produce tears from your own blood serum. Blood and tears have nearly the same salinity and pH, so these drops don’t burn or sting upon insertion.
Two particular classes of antibiotics, Azithromycin and Doxycycline, are known to decrease inflammation in the eyelids and improve symptoms of dry eye. The mechanism is not fully understood, but studies show a significant symptomatic improvement, stabilization of the tear film, and an improvement in ocular staining with treatment.
The tears coating the eye are continuously produced by glands around or within the eyelids. The tears then leave the eye through a small drainage system found near the nose on the upper and lower eyelid. In people who produce low amounts of tears, one effective treatment option is to plug the entry points to the tear drainage system, called the puncta.
LipiFlow is the only FDA approved treatment for meibomian gland dysfunction that restores gland function with heat and gentle pressure. The procedure lasts about 12 minutes and is typically done on both eyes at the same time. Click here to read more about LipiFlow: Dry Eye and MGD, Patient Story Videos: MGD and Dry Eye Relief.
Many patients with dry eye symptoms are told they are no longer candidates for contact lenses or decide to discontinue wearing them due to poor comfort. But you may still have options. Aside from conventional soft contact lenses, you may be a candidate for custom contact lenses that. Scleral contact lenses are large lenses that rest on the sclera, or white of the eye.
Scleral contact lenses provide a fluid barrier to the ocular surface, thus they can be a therapeutic option for patients with dry eyes.
In cases of highly inflamed or overactive tissues, advanced treatment options are often required to quiet the inflammation and heal the tissue. This unique ocular surface bandage is created from cryopreserved, human amniotic membrane tissue. It provides neuroprotective, healing properties to an aching eye and has been approved by the FDA for treating injuries to the cornea and conjunctiva.
Did you know that the average mild to moderate dry eye patient spends approximately $600 annually on treating their dry eye symptoms? There are many choices for which type of artificial tear is best for you (brand, severity of dryness, with or without contacts, with or without preservative), how do you know you are spending your money on the right treatment? Some drops are better for gritty eyes, some better for morning discomfort, some better for itchy eyes. Let us advise you on the best lubricating drop for your eyes.
Home Treatment Options
Aside from the medically recommended treatment options, there are several modifications you can make in your daily life that may help treat your eye discomfort.
Full, complete blinking: Majority of dry eye sufferers do not completely blink their eyes. Most of this habit stems from the modern lifestyle of increased time at the computer, decreased blink frequency, and decreased lid strength/endurance. Starting blinking routines can dramatically improve symptoms due to fully lubricating the eyes and stimulating the meibomian glands to secrete oils.
Proper Contact Lens Hygiene: Following the recommendations of your eye care provider in regards to cleaning your contacts is crucial to maximizing your comfort and safety in lenses.
Replace as advised: Lenses worn past their recommended wear time are providing less oxygen to the corneal surface.
Proper cleaning solution: Follow your provider’s advice on the best cleaning solution for your contacts, because some contact lens materials have poor compatibility with particular cleaning solutions.
Wear a night time mask: Many people don’t completely close their eyelids during sleep. This causes dryness of the surface of the eye through the night leading to increased dryness, burning or blurry vision in the morning.
Evaluate systemic medications with health care provider: Some oral medications can cause dryness, such as allergy medications.
Take breaks from screen work: The 20/20/20 Rule states you should take a break every 20 minutes to look 20 meters away for 20 seconds. This helps the eyes relax.
Lower screen to eye level: Setting up the best ergonomic workspace.
Consider acquiring a pair of computer spectacles: Standard progressive lenses often have a small area of clear vision at the computer. Many of us spend most of our days at the computer, so fighting for clear vision can make our lives a little harder than it needs to be.
Regularly blinking during screen work.
Avoiding extended periods of exposure to cold temperatures.
Use air purifier: Purifiers help eliminate indoor dust or dirt within the air that may irritate the eyes.
Use a humidifier: Humidifiers increase the water content in the hair to reduce dryness creased from heating and/or cooling systems.
Wear sunglasses: Wrap around frames will help to reduce exposure to wind and dust.
Staying properly hydrated: Drink More Water!