Dry EyesDry eye refers to the reduction of quality of the tears produced for the eyes. Tears are very important to keep the front of the eyes, especially the cornea (the front window of the eye) well lubricated. Tears are produced by the glands around the eyes and have three separate layers: mucous, aqueous and lipid layer. The quality of these layers decides if the tears work to lubricate the eyes or not. If the quality of tears is poor, then the tears will just slide off the eyes, like water off a ducks back and not do their job properly. This can lead to the brain sending more tears to try and fix the problem, unfortunately, the same poor quality of tears are secreted and this can lead to watery eyes.
Poor production of tears can be caused by menopause, medication (e.g. antihistamines, the pill), general health conditions (e.g. arthritis), contact lenses or even dehydration. There can also be increased tear evaporation caused by environmental factors like air-conditioning or poor blinking. Eyelid problems can also cause poor spreading of the tears, or the eyelids may not fully close over at night leaving the cornea to dry out.
The first step is to try and look at the cause of the dry eyes. If it is occurring due to the eyelids not closing over at night, then an ointment before bed at night would be the first step to try. Lacrilube or Polyvisc are excellent options. Remember to only use them just before bed, as they will cause your vision to be blurry.
Practicing to learn how to close the eyes fully, by getting someone to look to see if you can close the lids fully and to give you feedback on when you are successful at doing it. Eventually, after practicing every day for a few months your brain will hopefully learn how to fully close the lids on its own.
Computer use decreases a person's blink rate. This may be worsened if a person has a glasses prescription for computer and is not wearing them. Simply remembering to wear your computer glasses and remembering to blink during computer use can improve the symptoms of dry eyes.
Artificial tears are a common option for dry eye sufferers. Unfortunately, these tear supplements only seem to work for a short time and can be frustrating to keep re-applying. Our recommendation for dry eye lubricants are Thera tears supplement. Hylo-Fresh and Hylo-Forte are also good options.
Nutritional supplements are an option to take for dry eye treatment. There is evidence to suggest that products rich in Omega 3's and 6's are beneficial. This can be taken as a form of fish or flaxseed oil. Having a good diet is extremely important. Limit processed foods as much as possible.
Another option of dry eye treatment is punctal plugs. These plug up the puncta, which is the duct going form the eye to the nose and thus keeps whatever tears the person has in the eyes. This can give relief to some dry eye sufferers.
Warmth to the Meibomian glands of the eyes along with a massage technique along these glands on the upper and lower lids is showing signs of being very effective for dry eye treatment. There are a number of eyelid warming masks available on the marked including Tranquileyes, MGDRx Eyebag, EyeDoctor, Bruder and Thera Pearl.
If your dry eyes does not seem to be improving, please come in and see us. There are medicated prescription eye drop options to reduce inflammation that can help some patients with dry eyes.