Treating Dry Eyes
Suffering from dry, itchy eyes? Check out the top treatments for dry eyes! Normally, our tears are a mix of water, oil, mucous and antibodies that protect our eyes from infection. While you’ll always have tears, your tear system can easily go off-balance, causing you to suffer from a variety of uncomfortable symptoms. Dry eyes can happen to nearly anyone, especially if you are older or have a disease that may be an underlying cause. However, there is always a solution. So, if you have dry eyes and are looking for the right treatment, read on to learn more.
Causes and Symptoms
Dry eyes can have a number of underlying causes. It is a common problem due to aging, especially in women going through menopause. Diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and certain collagen vascular diseases can prevent your body’s ability to make tears. Dry eyes can occur when your tears lack enough lubrication, mucous or other elements necessary for keeping the entire eye lubricated and moisturized. As contradictory as it might sound, you might produce an excess of tears when you have dry eyes because the tear ducts create too many tears in order to compensate for the lack of moisture in your eyes, leaving you with watery eyes. Those with dry eyes can experience redness in the eyes and will often feel itchy. Dry eyes can produce a feeling of grittiness in the eye as if there was something in it due to the lack of lubrication. Blurry vision and light sensitivity may occur because of dry eyes as well.
Eye drops are easily the most common solution for dry eyes. Eye drops provide many of the same qualities of our actual tears, acting as artificial tears. Eye drops moisturize, provide lubrication and spread around the eye. Using eye drops continuously as directed, even when you feel like you don’t need them is the most effective way to take them. The best part about eyedrops is that they are readily available over the counter. But there are prescription eye drops too.
A Punctal Occlusion can be an effective procedure for patients with dry eyes. With the procedure, the doctor will close the duct in your eye that drains tears from the eye, so that the tears remain in the eye rather than being continuously drained away. A doctor will usually install a temporary plug that dissolves over time and if it is proven an effective solution for the individual patient, the doctor may then put in a permanent plug. Of course, the permanent plug is nothing like a wine bottle cork or something like that. It’s all natural – made from scar tissue. The doctor cauterizes the duct with a special tool. While this sounds painful, patients are often drugged during this process, so you usually won’t feel a thing.
Lipiflow is a great option for those whose tears do not contain enough oil for lubrication. The Lipflow device uses heat and pressure to unclog oil glands on your eyelids that may be blocked. This oil also helps keep your eyes moisturized by preventing tear evaporation. It’s a safe procedure and there’s little risk. However, it will not likely be the first recommended treatment when consulting a doctor.
There is no doubt dry eyes are unpleasant, but no matter how long you’ve been living with them, it’s important not to give up hope. With the top treatment options available, there’s a solution out there that can help you - no matter the cause of your dry eyes. Talk to your doctor about any of the solutions mentioned above and ask about other treatments that can help.