Dry eyes can happen when one of the three layers of your eyes are not functioning properly, causing your tears to evaporate rapidly or not reach the entire surface of the eye. While dry eyes are most common in women who are over 50 years old, they can actually affect anyone of either gender at all ages. If you’ve been waking up with dry eyes or have experienced grittiness, burning, watering, redness, fluctuating vision, fatigue, light sensitivity, overall eye irritation or intolerance to contact lenses, you might suffer from one of the three most common dry eye syndromes.
The best way to know for sure is to come in for an appointment, and go through our entire dry eye screening process with one of our doctors. From that point, your doctor will suggest an individualized course of treatment to fix dry eyes. Here are some of the treatment methods that they might incorporate.1. Lipiflow
If your dry eyes are caused by Meibomian Gland Dysfunction in particular, you might benefit from this in-office treatment. By using warmth therapy, lipiflow breaks down gland blockages and releases the natural oils that are needed to lubricate your eyes and keep them healthy.2. Artificial tears
As you might guess, artificial tears (in the form of eye drops) are a great salve for those with Aqueous Deficient Dry Eyes, but artificial tears that include oils can be useful to those with Meibomian Gland Dysfunction as well. While helpful to ease eye irritation, artificial tears don’t address the underlying causes of dry eyes, so are usually recommended in tandem with other treatment options.3. Medication
Again, best for those with Aqueous Deficient Dry Eyes and Meibomian Gland Dysfunction, prescription eye drops are usually the go-to method that eye doctors will recommend for healing dry eyes. The exact type of eye drop may vary, along with how long you’ll need to use it, but medicated drops are often one of the most successful treatments.
4. Punctal occlusion
This might sound intimidating but punctal occlusion is a very simple, in-office procedure during which an eye doctor inserts a temporary or permanent plug in the tear drain or puncta of each eye. This helps stimulate increased tear volume, and can help relieve dry eye symptoms as a result.
5. Hydrating goggles
If Meibomian Gland Dysfunction is what you suffer from, you might benefit from wearing hydrating goggles. They can be worn at night, and serve to open up the glands for oil production. This can stabilize the tear film and reduce dry eye symptoms.
6. Fish oil/Omega 3 supplements
Many patients want to find out if there’s a natural way to fix dry eyes. The answer is sometimes yes, depending on your exact situation, in which case omega-3 supplements are one of the best methods out there. By taking fish oil supplements (or vegan versions of omega-3), you can build up your body’s natural oils that prevent (or help overcome) Meibomian Gland Dysfunction.
7. Hot compresses and lid scrubs
Finally, you may be advised to apply hot compresses to your eyes or use lid scrubs in order to loosen up your clogged glands. This can help your eyes create their natural oils again, and decrease eye irritation.
Whichever treatment course your doctor recommends, the key with dry eyes is to get them diagnosed and treated quickly. If left untreated, they can lead to chronic irritation, ulcers, and permanent damage to the cornea or even possible vision loss.
Contact us today to get screened for dry eyes, so we can get you the right treatment path and some relief from your dry eyes.