What is Dry Eye?
Dry eye is a condition where your tear ducts do not provide enough lubricant for your eyes. You might not be able to produce enough tears or quality tears to be able to keep your eyes moist. Dry eyes can make your eyes sting and burn. There are many instances that you may get dry eye, such as being in an airplane or riding a bike.
There are many treatments that you can get for your dry eyes and most of those treatments you can get from your eye doctor. There are also many reputable clinics like Durango Eye Care that can help to treat your dry eye quickly.
Some symptoms that you might have with dry eyes are a stinging or burning sensation in your eyes, stringy mucus in your eyes, sensitivity to light, red eyes, a feeling that something is in your eye, difficulty with driving at night, watery eyes, and blurred vision or tired eyes.
There are many reasons that you can get dry eye and usually it is because your tears and tear ducts are not working properly. This can be due to aging, medical conditions, medications, or corneal nerve desensitivity. Other causes could be gland dysfunction, blinking less often, eyelid problems, eye allergies, eyedrops, wind, smoke, or dry air, or a vitamin A deficiency.
Some of the risk factors for dry eye may be being a woman over 50, if you do not consume enough vitamin A, wearing contacts, or having a history of surgery. Dry eye can lead to complications such as eye infections, damage to the surface of your eyes, and decreased quality of life.
There are some things that you can do to prevent dry eye and help your eyes to be healthier in general. You can do things like avoid having air blow in your eyes, use a humidifier, wear wraparound eyewear, take eye breaks when working for a long time, be aware of dry weather conditions, put your computer below your eye level, stop smoking and avoid smoke, and use artificial tears regularly.
There are some treatments to treat dry eye that you can use if the preventative steps did not work. There are some of these treatments listed below, hopefully they will work for you.
Over the Counter Eye Drops
Over the counter eye drops can help your dry eye tremendously. The most common type of over-the-counter eye drops are artificial tears, and this can moisturize your eyes enough for a mild case of dry eye. You can get these eye drops without a prescription and get them at most pharmacies and drug stores.
There are two medicines that your eye doctor can give you if you have serious dry eye. Both of these medicines need a prescription from your doctor and can help your eyes to create tears. These medicines can help your eyes to feel better.
Cyclosporine is one of the medicines that you can use to help your dry eyes. It is found in a ground fungus and was approved for use in the treatment of dry eye syndrome by the FDA in 2003. It is known for increasing the density of goblet cells, which have been found to be a major issue with dry eye. To find some more information about this drug, you can do some research here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4076204/. At this time there is not a generic for this medicine and this sells under the names of Restasis and Allergan.
Lifitegrast is another medicine used for the treatment of dry eye syndrome. It reduces the inflammation of your eyes and can be used along with cyclosporine for a certain gland dysfunction. This medication has been around since 2013 and has been a great treatment for dry eye. It sells under the brand name of Xiidra and has no generic version of this at this time.
Tear Duct Plugs
Tear duct plugs are used when the tears are leaving too fast from your eyes. These plugs fit into your tear ducts to prevent the tears from leaving your eyes. These can be used as a treatment to dry eye. These plugs are the size of a grain of rice and can help your eyes to stay moisturized and pain free. There are two types of tear duct plugs, temporary and semi-permanent.
The temporary plugs are made from a material that dissolves after a certain period. They can stay in the eye for a few days or a few months. These are usually used after certain eye surgeries since you will only need them for a short period of time while your eyes heal. They are also used to see if they work for you before getting the semi-permanent plugs.
The semi-permanent plugs are made from silicone or acrylic and are made to stay in your tear ducts for a longer period of time. They can stay in your eyes for many years and will need to be removed by your ophthalmologist. Some of these plugs can be placed deeper into the tear duct so they will not be seen.
There are some side-effects of tear duct plugs, such as having a scratchy feeling, having eyes that are too watery, they may come out too soon, they can scratch the eye if not placed properly, they can irritate the tear ducts, and can rarely cause eye infections.
Sometimes if the other treatments do not work, you will need to have surgery. This is usually done to repair lower eyelids that are too loose, causing your tears to drain too quickly from your eye. This is not a very common treatment for dry eye and is only done when other methods do not work.
There are many treatments for dry eye, so do not suffer needlessly when this condition occurs. Your best bet is to get to the eye doctor as soon as you can after noticing the symptoms. Your eye doctor can help you find the treatment that is best for you.