According to the National Eye Institute, nearly 16 million Americans suffer from chronic dry eyes. Dry eyes can lead to a variety of unwelcome symptoms, including itchy eyes, watery eyes, red eyes, stinging eyes, sensitive eyes, blurry vision, and more. When left untreated, severe dry eyes can damage your cornea(s). The good news is, dry eyes are treatable and preventable. Keep reading to learn about the different treatment options for dry eyes, and what you can do to protect your eyes from this condition.
Treatment Options for Dry Eyes
If you are dealing with dry eyes for the first time, we first recommend investing in a humidifier for your home. Many individuals find relief with this simple change. Additionally, lifestyle changes such as less screen time and more sleep can reduce the severity of dry eyes.
If you are still experiencing discomfort after trying a humidifier, the next treatment we recommend is eye drops. Many patients’ eyes can be soothed with over-the-counter lubricating drops.
More serious cases of dry eyes may require prescription drops such as corticosteroids, Restasis® or Xiidra®. The opthalmologists at Broberg Eye Care can prescribe these for you. These drops provide more relief than over-the-counter eye drops, and they can prevent your condition from worsening.
Artificial Tear Insert
Another option for more severe cases of dry eye is LACRISERT®, an artificial tear insert. Worn much like a soft contact lens, LACRISERT® is inserted into the eye one or two times a day. The insert contains cellulose to help thicken and stabilize the tear film. These inserts also prolong the time that the film of tears is effective.
Tear Duct Plugs
If there are not enough tears present on your eye’s surface, we can perform a simple surgical procedure called a punctal occlusion. Punctae are small openings near the inner corner of each eyelid that are the beginning of the natural tear drainage system. The punctal occlusion procedure involves plugging these openings, so that the tears remain on the ocular surface longer, keeping the eyes moist and comfortable. The procedure can be done in our office and only takes a few minutes. Before moving forward with this procedure, the doctor may first recommend a temporary plug that dissolves over time, to make sure the treatment works for you.
Dry eyes can be extremely uncomfortable, but they are treatable! Don’t put off seeking treatment if you are experiencing discomfort from dry eyes. Call us today so that we can get you on the path to comfort again.