Treatment for Dry Eyes
Nearly everyone will experience eye dryness, itchiness or irritation at some point or another. When these symptoms persist, it could indicate chronic dry eye syndrome. Patients with dry eye trust Brooklyn ophthalmologist Dr. Samer Khosrof, medical director at Leading Lasik, for quick and effective relief from symptoms.
What Causes Dry Eye?
In a normal, healthy eye, the constant production of tears is necessary to keep the surface of the eye moist and wash away dust and debris. Special glands called the lacrimal glands produce the tears, and different glands, known as the meibomian glands, produce lipids (oils) to keep the tears from evaporating from the eye too quickly.
People with dry eye syndrome experience one of two scenarios. In the first, the lacrimal glands fail to produce enough tears; this type of dry eye syndrome is called aqueous tear-deficient dry eye. In the second scenario, the meibomian glands malfunction and do not produce the lipids needed to prevent the tears from evaporating; this is known evaporative dry eye.
Dry eye can be caused by inflammation, a disease that affects the components of tears, thyroid eye disease or cosmetic eyelid surgery. Certain medications, like antihistamines and decongestants, may cause dry eye symptoms.
Symptoms of dry eye include the following:
- A stinging or burning sensation in the eye
- Sandy or gritty feeling in the eye
- Eye discharge
- Pain or redness in the eye
- Discomfort wearing contact lenses
- Eye fatigue
Symptoms of dry eye can progress to the extent where it is uncomfortable to perform everyday tasks (like using a computer) for a prolonged period of time. Dry eye symptoms can also make certain environments, like an airplane cabin, nearly unbearable. It is at this point that most people seek out diagnosis and treatment with a trusted ophthalmologist.
Dry Eye Treatment Options
Dry eye treatment depends on the cause and severity of the condition. If you seek treatment with Dr. Khosrof, he will first want to determine whether dry eye is caused by an underlying medical condition or disease.
The simplest type of dry eye treatment is the frequent use of artificial tears. These products can be obtained over-the-counter and usually provide rapid, yet temporary relief from symptoms. In addition to using artificial tears, a prescription for eye drops called Restasis might help; this medication helps to lubricate the eyes, decrease inflammation and increase the production of tears. Steroid eye drops can also help to decrease inflammation that may be causing dry eye symptoms.
Another type of dry eye treatment involves placing punctual plugs into the openings of the tear ducts to stop tears from draining through the eye. With the plugs in place, the tears stay on the surface of the eye longer and then usually evaporate.
If the malfunctioning of the meibomian glands has caused dry eye, treatment can involve clearing these glands, either by using warm compresses or an in-office system called LipiFlow. LipiFlow combines the application of heat and pulsed pressure to express the meibomian glands so they can resume producing oils and eliminate dry eye symptoms.
Contact Dr. Samer Khosrof
If you are experiencing dry eye symptoms and would like to discuss your treatment options with Dr. Khosrof, please contact Leading Lasik at 718-630-1070 today.