Dry eye is a common condition that can affect patients of any age. Dry eye is especially common among older men and women. It is estimated that almost five million men and women over the age of 50 are affected by some degree of dry eye. Certain medications, certain health conditions and diseases, certain eye conditions and diseases, hormonal imbalances, allergies, infrequent blinking, and environmental factors can cause dry eye. The symptoms of dry eye can negatively impact a patient’s life. These symptoms include the feeling of something in the eye, pain, redness, and blurry vision.
Dry Eye Treatment
At Family Eye Care in Cleveland, dry eye treatment is always customized to each individual patient. The cause of the condition, the unique needs and goals of the patient, and the patient’s medical history and eye health, among other factors, will determine the most suitable dry eye treatment. There are many effective dry eye treatment options available today, including:
- Over-the-counter artificial tears solutions: Artificial tears, lubricating eye drops, gels, and ointments are available over-the-counter. These artificial tear solutions can help provide lubrication and moisture to the surfaces of the eyes. Optometrist Jeffrey E. Schultz recommends using preservative-free artificial tear solutions. Lubricating eye ointments can help provide much-needed moisture to the eyes, but the thickness of the ointment may cause vision to appear blurry. Because of this, many patients find it beneficial to apply eye ointment right before going to bed. Eye drops are typically used four to six times a day.
- Prescription eye drops: While there are many varieties of eye drops available over-the-counter, there are also prescription eye drops available as well. Eye drops may be prescribed to promote tear production. Eye drops may also be prescribed to decrease inflammation around the surface of the eyes that may be contributing or causing dry eye to occur.
- Warm compresses and massage: Warm compresses, massage, and eyelid cleansers may be recommended in the treatment of dry eye. If the oil glands in the eyelids do not secrete an adequate amount of oil, the tears will evaporate too quickly, resulting in dry eye. To promote the release of this oil from the oil glands, warm compresses and massage may be recommended. The warm compress and massage help the hardened oil to become soft and begin to flow. Once the oil in the oil glands has been released, an eyelid cleanser may be used to decrease the amount of bacteria within the oil glands and to further help break down the oil.
- Changing medications: Dry eye may result from taking certain medications. In such cases, changing medications may be the only treatment necessary.
- Punctal plugs: Punctal plugs may be used to increase moisture in the eyes. The punctal plugs work by blocking the drainage of tears. By doing so, moisture remains in the eyes, instead of draining into the tear drainage system. A benefit of punctal plugs is that they can be easily removed at any time.
- Punctal cautery: In severe cases, punctal cautery may be recommended in the treatment of dry eye. As with punctal plugs, the purpose of punctal cautery is to block tear drainage. While punctal plugs can be easily removed, punctal cautery is permanent.
Learn More about Dry Eye Treatment
If you are suffering from dry eye and would like to learn more about dry eye treatment, please call or email Lifetime Eye Care today. Our caring, professional staff would be happy to answer any questions you may have.