Dry Eye Treatment
Dry eye treatment will vary depending on the causes of the condition. Treatments may include medication designed to reduce eyelid inflammation or stimulate tears. Some patients may need eye inserts, special contact lenses, or other procedures such as closing the tear ducts, unblocking oil glands, or light therapy. Drs. Peter Broberg, Halsey Settle, William McGlathery, or Dr. Ximena de Sabra will first determine the cause of your symptoms and then recommend an appropriate treatment plan. If you have dry eye irritation or excessive tearing, we can help. We can diagnose the cause of your symptoms and create a dry eye treatment plan for you. Contact our Austin, TX, office for an appointment.
The first thing your doctor will look for is any indication of an underlying cause for your dry eyes. Certain medications, such as antidepressants, beta-blockers, antihistamines, and oral contraceptives can all lead to a decrease in tear production. A simple adjustment of your medication may be all that is needed to resolve the issue.
Certain medications, such as antidepressants, beta-blockers, antihistamines, and oral contraceptives can all lead to a decrease in tear production.
Certain medical conditions like autoimmune diseases may cause dryness, and should be addressed before starting a treatment specifically for dry eyes. Some patients may have an infection along the eyelids, called blepharitis, which results in a breakdown of the oil in tears. This prevents the tears from spreading over the whole eye. Blepharitis can be treated with a regimen of good eyelid hygiene and antibiotics. Like other medical conditions, blepharitis should be treated before starting dry eye treatment, as it may actually be the cause of symptoms.
Dry Eye Treatments
In many cases, dry eye can be soothed with a humidifier or over-the-counter lubricating drops. More serious cases may require prescription drops, such as RESTASIS®, or corticosteroid drops. Another option is LACRISERT®, which is an artificial tear insert. Worn much like a contact lens, LACRISERT® is inserted into the eye one or two times a day. The insert contains cellulose that helps thicken and stabilize the tear film. These inserts also prolong the time the film of tears is effective.
If there are not enough tears present on the eye’s surface, the doctor can perform a procedure called a punctal occlusion. The punctae are small openings near the inner corner of each eyelid that are the beginning of the natural tear drainage system. The punctal occlusion procedure involves plugging these openings, so that the tears remain on the ocular surface longer, keeping the eyes moist and comfortable. The procedure can be done in our office and only takes a few minutes. The doctor may first recommend a temporary plug that dissolves over time, to make sure the treatment works for you. If it does, he can place a permanent plug, which can be removed at any time.
We also offer a new treatment for patients with evaporative dry eye. This causes an inflammation of the skin on the eyelids that causes the meibomian glands to produce insufficient oil, which results in rapid tear evaporation. The treatment, called Intense Pulsed Light therapy (IPL), directs bursts of light at the lower eyelids and upper cheeks, heating the eyelid glands. This process produces secretions that the doctor is able to remove when heated. For full results, most patients will require four monthly treatments, but many start to see improvement after just one treatment. Patients with severe cases of evaporative dry eye may need to return for maintenance treatments every three to six months.
Learn More During a Consultation
Dry, uncomfortable eyes and blurred vision can significantly impact several areas of your life. Contact our eye care center today to learn more about your treatment options and schedule an appointment.