Your eyes are overly dry, overly teary, scratchy, and irritated, and you’re tired of these symptoms interfering with your ability to see clearly. Nearly five million adults over the age of 50 in the United States have dry eye syndrome, and many have found relief.
Dr. Curtis Frank and the team here at Vision and Ortho-K Center specialize in helping patients find the right solution for remedying dry eyes, and we review these effective treatment options here.
In order to identify which treatment is right for your dry eyes, it’s important to understand what’s behind your condition .
Under normal circumstances, glands around your eyelids produce tears that contain three ingredients:
One common driver behind dry eyes is an imbalance in these ingredients, which leads to tears that aren’t spread evenly over your eyes or tears that evaporate too quickly from your eyes. For example, your meibomian glands, which produce the oil, may be clogged, which causes premature evaporation of your tears.
Another problem may be that your tear production has waned over time, which means you don’t produce enough tears to keep your eyes properly hydrated and nourished. This problem can be exacerbated if you live in an environment that’s excessively dry or windy.
After we determine what's behind your dry eyes, we set about restoring the balance of tears in your eyes.
If we find that blocked meibomian glands are to blame, we unblock these glands to restore balance to your tears.
If your tear production has decreased, we typically prescribe Restasis® — eye drops that increase your natural production of tears. As well, we can also prescribe eye drops that act as artificial tears to help combat the dryness in your eyes.
Another approach is to decrease the drainage in your eyes with punctal occlusion, which forces your tears to stay on your eyes longer. To accomplish this, we insert silicone or collagen plugs into your tear ducts to prevent your tears from exiting your eyes.
There’s also much you can do on your own to improve your dry eyes. One great trick is to follow the 20-20-20 rule when you’re looking at a screen — every 20 minutes, look away and focus on something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
We encourage you to wear protection over your eyes on windy days, and you might consider using a humidifier in your house, especially during the winter when your heating system dries out the air.
Lastly, taking a supplement that contains omega-3 fats is a great way to boost your eye and tear health.
In most cases, we recommend a combination of treatments and at-home practices for successfully addressing dry eyes.
To get a complete evaluation and a treatment plan for your dry eyes, contact our office in Boston, Massachusetts, to set up a consultation.