Dry Eye Management
Dry Eye Treatment in Dallas
Blinking causes a film of tears to spread across making the surface of the cornea smooth and clear. Dry eye occurs when the tear film is insufficient to properly moisturize the cornea leading to blurred vision, itching, redness and pain. The normal tear film consists of 3 layers: an inside mucin layer, a watery middle layer, and an oily outside layer. All 3 layers have to be in the right balance for proper function. People usually begin experiencing dry eye symptoms as they age, but the condition can also result from certain medications, conditions or injuries.
Common causes of dry eye include:
- inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus
- decreased corneal sensation caused by herpes zoster, herpes simplex, long term contact lens wear, LASIK, or stroke
- medications such as diuretics, beta blockers, antihistamines, anti-anxiety medications, and pain relievers
- abnormal blinking caused by Bell’s palsy, cosmetic surgery, and lid abnormalities
Treatment of dry eye syndrome is first targeted at removing any offending cause. Artificial tear supplements are usually the first line treatment. Restasis (cyclosporin) and the newly released Xiidra (lifitegrast) are initiated if artificial tears alone are not helpful. Punctal plugs are microscopic plugs that can be inserted into any one of the 4 tear ducts that drain tears from the eye. There are special contact lenses that provide comfort for severe dry eye patients. We also may be able to prevent or treat dry eyes nutritionally. There are many studies being conducted to help us learn more about the relationship between vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and eye health. So far, there have been promising findings associating Omega-3 fatty acids and flaxseed oil with a reduction of dry eye symptoms. Eating foods such as walnuts and coldwater fish like herring and mackerel that are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids or taking a supplement has been shown to lower the risk of developing dry eye syndrome.