Dry Eye Disease
Dry eye is a complicated problem. Factors affecting tear production and the ocular surface result in symptoms of tearing, stinging and poor vision. When severe, dry eye can cause damage to the ocular surface, resulting in increased osmolarity of the tear film and inflammation of the ocular surface. Dry eye is one of the most under-diagnosed ocular diseases, and yet it is the most common reason why patients visit their eye care professional.
Dry Eye Treatment
Dry eyes are common in our climate; and treatment is done in a step-wise fashion. We start with simple modifications to your daily routine.
- Avoid exposure to wind and the elements, as well as forced air (i.e. ceiling fans, air vents). Sometimes these situations are unavoidable, but doing the best you can to protect your eyes will greatly reduce your symptoms. There are even special sunglasses made to block exposure, which are available in our optical department.
- Remember to blink. When we read, work on the computer, or watch television, we tend to stare and blink less frequently. Try to be conscious of this and pause every five minutes to blink.
- Lubricate your eyes regularly. Use artificial tears at least 4 times a day (more if you’re noticing symptoms or are experiencing increased exposure to air movement). Brands we recommend are Systane, Refresh, Blink, Genteal, Freshkote, and TheraTears.
- Supplement with Omega 3’s orally. You need 1000mg from a fish-derived source (fish, krill or salmon oil) and 1000mg from a vegetable-derived source (flax seed, evening primrose or borage oil). We suggest you alternate your use of these, taking one in the morning and the other in the evening for maximum benefit. High quality fish oils are very important for proper absorption. Some recommended brands are PRN (sold here), Nordic Naturals or Core Omega.
- In cold weather, use a humidifier in your home.
If the treatment outlined above fails to improve your symptoms sufficiently, more advanced treatments may be called for:
- Restasis and Xiidra prescription eye drops to help you create more of your own natural tears.
- MiBo ThermaFlo, which provides a gentle heat treatment to unclog the oil glands along the margins of your eyelids and restore a healthy tear film.
- Tear-saver plugs, which help retain moisture in your eyes by plugging some or all of your tear drains.
- Punctal cautery if other treatments are ineffective.