When your eyes fail to produce enough tears for lubrication, dry eye results. For some patients, the eyes create an adequate number of tears, but the tear quality is poor. Dry eye symptoms include a scratchy feeling in the eye, redness, a burning sensation or blurred vision. Certain medications used for treating other medical conditions, including anxiety and high blood pressure, may cause dry eye. Substituting these drugs may ease symptoms — but never make changes without consulting a doctor.
Board-certified and fellowship-trained ophthalmologist Binoy R. Jani, M.D., discusses treatments that may relieve dry eye.
OTC Eye Drops
Artificial tears administered via over-the-counter eye drops can alleviate mild or occasional symptoms of dry eye. However, if your dry eye is more serious or does not clear after the use of artificial tears, see an eye doctor as soon as possible for an examination and treatment.
Medications To Increase Tear Production
There are also prescription-only eye drops available that increase tear production. Cyclosporine, marketed under the brand name Restasis or Cequa, is one example.
Eye drops containing corticosteroids can reduce corneal inflammation, which may contribute to dry eye. While effective, these eye drops are unsuitable for long-term use.
If your dry eye does not respond to these eye drops, autologous blood serum drops are another treatment alternative. These drops are made from a sample of your own blood, which is processed to remove red blood cells. The serum is mixed with a solution to produce the eye drops.
Other medications to increase tear production come in pill and gel forms.
Hydroxypropyl cellulose, available as Lacrisert, is a tiny insert placed in the eye daily to boost tear production. When put between the eyeball and the lower lid, Lacrisert slowly releases a substance to keep the eye lubricated.
Tear Duct Closure
Sometimes, tears drain from the eyes too fast. A removable punctal plug placed in the tear duct keeps tears from draining. A procedure known as thermal cautery plugs the tear duct via heat. This closes the ducts permanently.
Special Contact Lenses
In recent years, the development of special contact lenses, i.e., scleral lenses, that trap moisture has enabled some patients with dry eyes to find relief. The eye doctor will let you know whether you are a candidate for these lenses.
Contact Our Doctors
If you would like to know more about dry eye and how to treat the condition, contact our doctors at Vista Eye Specialists today and schedule a consultation. After a thorough examination and taking a complete medical history, we will discuss your treatment options and answer all of your questions.