Dry Eye Treatments

Chronically dry, irritated eyes may require more relief than over-the-counter eye drops can offer. Dry eye disease is a common but complicated condition requiring extensive time to diagnose and find the right treatment plan.

At Jones Eye Clinic, we specialize in diagnosing and treating dry eye disease with custom management plans ranging from lifestyle changes to surgery.

What is dry eye disease, and what causes it?

Dry eye disease occurs when tear ducts cannot produce enough good-quality tears to lubricate the eyes adequately. This lack of lubrication leads to inflammation and damages the eye’s surface over time.

Tears that dry too quickly, low tear production, problems with the eyelid, and the use of certain drugs can all cause chronically dry eyes. In addition to these factors, environmental irritants such as air travel, air-conditioning, windy conditions, and prolonged periods in front of screens can cause more intense symptoms.

What are the signs of dry eye disease?

Dry eye disease typically affects both eyes and can be challenging to diagnose on your own. Situations with reduced blinking, such as working on a computer or watching TV, can intensify irritation, and patients notice that symptoms are often worse at the end of the day.

The symptoms of dry eye disease may include:

  • Eye redness
  • Stinging, burning, or a scratchy feeling in the eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Mucus discharge in or around your eyes
  • The feeling of having something in your eyes
  • Difficulty wearing contact lenses
  • Trouble driving at night
  • Watery, irritated eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Fatigued eyes
  • Excess tearing

How is dry eye disease treated?

Dry eye treatments range from prescription eye drops and medicines to tear duct plugs or surgery. Our physicians work with each patient to identify the root cause of dry eye disease through extensive, painless testing. We then create a comprehensive treatment plan to fit unique needs and lifestyles.

Punctal Occlusion

In cases of decreased tear production, punctal occlusion can be a very helpful option to keep the tears on the eye longer. Punctal Plugs or punctal cautery can be done to achieve this. Most of the time, the plugs are made of a silicone material. Plugs are placed in the lower puncta, a hole that drains about 60% of the tears off the eye. By blocking this drainage, the tears stay on the eye longer, and the eye does not feel as dry.

Meibomian Gland Expression

Meibomian gland dysfunction can be a major factor in ocular surface disease and dryness. In-office expression of these glands can help reset the glands to produce the correct type of oils. Sometimes more than one in-office expression is needed to achieve optimal results.

Lid Scrubs and Warm Compresses

Proper lid hygiene can help maintain ocular surface homeostasis. Warm compresses with a heated mask encourage the meibomian glands to function properly, while lid scrubs clean excess debris and microbes from the lids and lashes. Together, these can be very useful tools in ocular surface disease management.

Medications

A number of medications can help manage different aspects of ocular surface disease. While Restasis and Xiidra are the two main drops available for the treatment of dry eye syndrome, there are many other options that we will commonly use to achieve better and faster relief of symptoms. Also, depending on tear chemistry, we may find it beneficial to do long-term medications to help maintain and keep control over the dry eye syndrome

Bandage Contact Lenses

In some severe dry eye cases, it is helpful to use bandage contact lenses as a way to protect the cornea. This provides a buffer for lid-cornea interface issues and encourages smoothing out of the ocular surface.

Prokera (Amniotic Membranes)

Amniotic membranes can help get corneal tissue to heal and are also beneficial in breaking inflammatory cycles on the front surface of the eye. Prokera is one cryo-preserved (frozen) amniotic membrane available, and we use several other dried (re-hydrated prior to insertion) amniotic membranes. These have also proven effective at smoothing out the corneal surface and preventing the recurrence of corneal erosions.

Nutritional Supplements and Diet

As with many diseases, it is important to consider diet and appropriate supplementation to help stabilize the tear film. This can also assist patients in producing higher-quality tears of their own, which is the ideal situation. Our doctors and staff are ready to make recommendations that apply specifically to your tear chemistry and health history.

Autologous Serum Drops

Autologous serum drops are specially-designed drops to help relieve dry eye symptoms made from your own blood serum.  This allows you to take advantage of your own body’s ability to produce anti-inflammatory and lubricating molecules.

Scleral Lenses

Scleral lenses are an excellent option for patients with keratoconus, irregular corneas, or severe dry eye syndrome. The lens vaults completely over the cornea and rests on the sclera (the white of the eye). As a result, comfort with these lenses tends to be much better than with a conventional RGP. The liquid reservoir made by the lens corrects corneal irregularities and provides relief for severe dry eye.

Plus, Many, Many More Options…

We have very resourceful and creative doctors. We constantly look for new ways to diagnose and treat dry eye syndrome and ocular surface disease. We will partner with you to develop a unique treatment plan using the latest technologies and studies to achieve the best results.

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Contact us to learn how our broad range of services can give you the gift of clear vision and total eye health that you deserve.

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