Treatment for Dry Eye Syndrome
Unfortunately, there is no cure for chronic Dry Eye Syndrome. However, an experienced dry eye specialist will be able to provide patients many effective options for relieving and managing the symptoms that accompany the condition. Since the underlying causes of dry eye have often been present for many years, the treatment of Dry Eye Syndrome is by no means an overnight process, but rather, should be considered a long-term course of therapy.
Many patients have already tried various forms of treatment and grown understandably frustrated by the lack of apparent benefit. Such treatment failures are often the result of therapies pursued in a disadvantageous order or therapies that were prematurely discontinued. Your eye care provider may refer you to a dry eye specialist for further evaluation and treatment.
Our Treatment Options
For many years the mainstay of therapy for mild Dry Eye Syndrome consisted almost exclusively of over-the-counter artificial tears or lubricants. There are hundreds of brands and formulations of artificial tears which can be quite confusing for patients. However, all these drops are not the same. A dry eye specialist will be able to identify your specific form of dry eye and recommend a brand and formulation of tears ideally suited for you. For patients with more than just mild or temporary symptoms, over the counter artificial tears alone do not constitute adequate treatment. Some over the counter remedies can actually worsen the condition.
Environmental modification is a frequently overlooked but important part of reducing dry eye symptoms. Patients should limit direct exposure to dry air from vents, fans, and other sources. Whenever possible, dry eye sufferers should also avoid allergens like dust, smoke, pollen, and pet dander. Room humidifiers and moisture goggles can also be useful.
Severe Dry Eye Syndrome is likely to initially require more intensive therapy to break the cycle of inflammation. Your eye care professional may recommend a short course of anti-inflammatory eye drops to start you on the road to recovery and to break the cycle of irritation, inflammation, and worsening dryness. Prescription drops, such as Restasis (Cylcosporin 0.05%), may be recommended. Restasis is effective by simultaneously improving the quality of tears, restoring the balance of tear film components, and increasing the natural production of healthy tears. Several other agents promoting healthy tear production are currently under study.
Dry eye management would not be complete without an assessment of, and treatment for, eyelid diseases. Many of the important glands contributing to tear production are located on the edge of the eyelids and are prone to inflammatory disruption. Warm compresses, specialized eyelid cleansers, and prescription medications can reduce the eyelid inflammation, called blepharitis, that frequently accompanies Dry Eye Syndrome. Laser therapies like IPL treatment can also be beneficial.
Tear duct plugs come in various forms and can be painlessly inserted by your eye doctor only after ocular surface inflammation has been adequately treated. These microscopic plugs, commonly made of dissolving collagen or longer-lasting silicone, comfortably reduce the drainage of tears away from the eye’s surface, thus retaining moisture where it is needed most.
Some patients may also benefit from nutritional supplements such as Flax Seed Oil, Fish Oil, and other dietary modifications rich in essential fatty acids, such as Omega-3, Omega-6, and linoleic acid, which may aide healthy tear production.
The key to unlocking the right medication for severe dry eye syndrome may lie in the ingredients of your own blood. Autologous Serum Eye Drops are a derivative of your own blood serum (the clear fluid in your bloodstream) and is used to aid in the relief of ocular surface disorders. Click for more information on Autologous Serum Eye Drops.
A select few Accredited Dry Eye Centers of Excellence in the country are now able to offer dry eye sufferers a revolutionary treatment called Intense Pulsed Light Therapy (IPL). This mild non-invasive treatment allows us to target the most common underlying causes of Dry Eye Syndrome like ocular rosacea, blepharitis, and meibomian gland dysfunction, rather than just treating the symptoms. Click for more information on Intense Pulse Light treatment.
Schedule your Dry Eye Evaluation today
Call (727) 581-8706 to schedule your appointment
Meet Your Dry Eye Care Specialist
Neel R. Desai, M.D. is a fellowship-trained, board-certified, ophthalmologist strictly specializing in LASIK, cataract, and corneal diseases of the eye. Dr. Desai is a top graduate of the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine and completed his fellowship in cornea, cataract, and refractive surgery at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins University. He is recognized throughout the country and internationally as one of only 100 surgeons able to perform advanced corneal transplants and another complex cataract, corneal and refractive procedures. He holds pending patents to new surgical products and advanced cornea surgical procedures of his own design. Additionally, Dr. Desai has authored many book chapters in his field of study and continues to write articles in peer review journals.