Need a dry eye treatment? There are many options:
Some can be purchased over the counter. Others require a prescription from your eye doctor or optometrist.
Dry eyes can cause:
1. Sensitivity to light.
3. A gritty feeling as if a foreign object is loaded in your eye.
5. Blurry vision.
What type of dry eye treatment you need depends on what is causing your eyes to be so dry.
There are all types of treatments available, from non-prescription drops to surgery for extreme cases.
Your eyes depend on the natural flow of tears for moisture.
Your tears are made up of water, oils, mucus, special proteins and antibodies. This combination is secreted through glands around your eyes. If this combination is not properly balanced, you may develop dry eyes.
An imbalance in this composition can also lead to watery eyes. It might sound strange to have dry eyes and have tears running down your cheeks at the same time. This is due to a lack of lubricants.
The nervous system receives a signal that the eye is dry, so it sends more tears. But these tears are missing the essential oils and proteins of normal tears. Debris will be washed from your eyes, but the surface will not be properly coated.
Dry Eye Causes
As well a malfunction in the tear flow system, dry eyes may be caused by the tear film drying out too much. This can be due to environmental conditions inside or out, such as dry air, air conditioning, or your furnace.
Dry eyes may also be caused by:
1. Aging, especially during menopause.
2. Medications, such as antihistamines or birth control pills. If your dry eye problem is a side effect of the medication you are taking, you can either change medications, or manage the problem with eye drops.
3. Diseases affecting the ability to make tears, such as Sjogren’s syndrome, collagen vascular diseases and rheumatoid arthritis.
4. The structure of your eyelids, which may prevent them from closing properly.
Dry eye facts and treatments from the National Eye Institue
Dry Eye Treatment Options
Since there are various causes of dry eyes, there isn’t one cure or treatment that works for everyone. You may have to experiment with several treatments before you find one that works for you.
You may have to consult an ophthalmologist if the condition doesn’t improve. Some dry eye treatments include:
Drops – There are several types ranging from artificial tears, which are not much more than water, to prescription drops which contain special medication.
Temporary punctal occlusion – This is a plug inserted into the draining ducts. A temporary, dissolvable plug is used initially to see if an adequate amount of tears are produced. If the temporary plugs solve the problem, your doctor will insert permanent plugs.
Permanent punctal occlusion – The permanent plugs are made of silicone, and can be removed if necessary. In rare cases the plugs may come out on their own, or slide down the tear drain.
Restasis – This is prescription eye drop medication approved by the FDA. The drops may help your eyes produce more natural tears and reduce dryness.
Surgery – In extreme cases your doctor may recommend permanently closing the drain ducts in order to keep more tears around the eye. This is a fairly simple procedure, requiring just a local anesthetic.
Eye lubricants – These are small lubricants, about the size of a rice kernel. The insert dissolves slowly, keeping your eyes constantly lubricated. You only need one per eye, per day. Many people find this method more convenient than drops. Others find the inserts hard to place comfortably into the eye.
Just as with any medical concern, you should always consult a doctor. Your dry eye problem could be caused by an underlying disease. Over the counter dry eye treatment may give you temporary relief, but in the meantime, your disease is progressing.
Alternatively, the problem could be with your vision and you may need glasses. Your doctor can check the physical health of your eyes and recommend the best dry eye treatment for you.
More about Restasis
Restasis are the only eye drops which are approved by the FDA for treatment of a dry eye condition.
These drops are required to be used on a long term basis, dosage is one drop daily.
Side effects which can occur with some steroid based eye medications are not common with Restasis.
These drops work by encouraging increased and more stable tear fluid production.
Dry Eye Treatments.
Hypotonic Eye Drops
These are all artificial tear fluid replacement which help to lubricate and moisten the eye tissues.
They help to prevent eye itching and stinging.
Often they contain components such as eye nourishing omega 3.
They help to produce a stable tear film and eye comfort.
Bicarbonate Based Eye Drops
These include Murine and the medically prescribed Bion tears.
They help to prevent eye dryness, eye itching and burning.Both drops replace many of the components which are found in natural eye tear fluid.
Systane Gelling Eye Drops for Dry Eyes.
Systane are preservative free lubricating eye drops.
They can be applied nightly to help lubricate the eyes during sleep time, leaving you to awake with fresh moist eyes.
These Systane eye drops are available without an eye doctors prescription and are currently one of these most popular dry eye medications.
Oil Based and Preservative Eye Drops
These are a wide range of dry eye medications.
They help to improve the lipid component of the tear film.
This promotes tear fluid stability and helps prevent common symptoms of dry eyes such as burning and itchy eyes.
Serum and Steroid Based Eye Drops.
These dry eye medciations are only available under a medical prescription.
There usage must be strictly controlled due to possible side effects.
Steroid eye drops used in extreme cases of dry eyes have been linked to cataract formation and also increased eye fluid pressure leading to possible secondary glaucoma.
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