Having dry eyes can be extremely uncomfortable. Many people run for over-the-counter eye drops or artificial tears to give them relief. However, the best treatment is to focus on reversing the condition. To do this, you will need to know the underlying cause of your dry eyes.
Tears are a mixture of water, oil, mucus, and antibodies. They all work together to protect the eye and keep infections at bay. These ingredients come from special glands around the eyes. When these glands are out of whack, the tears will not provide enough moisture for the eyes. It causes the eyes to feel gritty, itchy, and painful. They also become sensitive to light and red in color and give you blurry vision.
To treat the condition and avoid just giving topical therapy, one needs to understand:
Now that you know some of the underlying causes, what are the treatment options available?
These are ideal for people experiencing excess tear duct drainage. It is one of the most effective, non-invasive treatments. However, the doctor will first diagnose the cause of your dry eyes before opting for punctal plugs. These eye inserts are the size of a grain of rice and go into your eyes. They fit between your eyeball and lower eyelid.
If you have a low production of tears, then punctal plugs are not an option. The doctor will find out the cause of your low production and treat that. The use of punctal plugs also depends on the severity of your condition. The doctor will also look into whether it is causing other issues for the patient.
You may find relief from dry eyes by wearing scleral or bandage contact lenses. Scleral lenses cover the entire corneal surface, preventing the quick evaporation of tears. They also protect the eyes from smoke, dust, wind, and other debris.
Bandage lenses reinforce damaged tissues and prevent irritation. They also protect the nerve endings from abrasion by the eyelids. Scleral and bandage lenses ensure that the eye bathes with tears and reduces irritation. They also protect the eyes from infection.
You can do this from home by cleaning your eyes and applying a warm compress for a couple of minutes. The doctor may also recommend other procedures like LipiFlow® thermal pulsation. All these procedures aim to clear any blockage in the meibomian glands.
Blockage of the meibomian glands leads to low-quality tears. They do not have enough oil to lubricate the eye and prevent water evaporation from the tears. Once you clear the blockage, the symptoms of dry eye syndrome also disappear.
Your doctor may prescribe the use of oral medication or eye drops. The focus of prescription medication is to reduce inflammation in your eyelids. Swollen eyelids prevent the meibomian glands from releasing oil into your tears. Without oil, your tears will evaporate fast.
Your doctor will prescribe anti-inflammatory antibiotics to reduce inflammation. The medication will also stimulate oil production in the glands around the eyes.
For more information on treating dry eye, visit True Vision Optometry at our office in Montebello, California. You can call (323) 403-4116 today to schedule an appointment.