Looking for a Specialist to help you treat Dry Eye in New Jersey?
Read about how to treat Dry Eye below:
- What Causes Dry Eyes?
- Treatments for Common Causes
- What Treatments for Dry Eye Are Recommended?
- Dry Eye Exam With Dr. Alan B. Schlussel
There are numerous causes and risk factors that contribute to the development of dry eye syndrome.
Activities That Cause Dry Eye:
When you stare at something you tend not to blink as frequently, and the lack of blinking actually causes the eyes not to replenish the tears often.
The main component of tears is water. Most of us don’t drink enough water. If you are dehydrated or not drinking enough, then you may not produce enough tears to keep your eyes moist. Snapple, Coke and other caffeinated drinks like coffee and tea may feel like they quench your thirst, but they actually dehydrate the body. Your body needs water to prevent dry eyes symptoms.
Environmental Factors and Dry Eye:
Environmental conditions can also play a role in dry eye syndrome. Exposure to cigarette smoke, dry air and pollen are also common dry eye causes.
Medications and Dry Eye:
Speaking of which, certain medications are known to contribute to dry eyes; in particular, allergy medication. Especially pervasive at this time of year, the use of Claritin or other antihistamines to control eye allergies or systemic allergies, will often lead dry eye symptoms.
Another widespread type of medication that can certainly cause dry eye symptom is beta blockers used for blood pressure.
Women that are on antigen therapy are likely notice symptoms of dry eyes. They tend to have a lot more irritation.
Age and Dry Eye:
Hormonal changes can cause dry eyes; women especially over 50, and men as they age in general, are more prone to developing dry eye symptoms.
Systemic Diseases and Dry Eye:
Rheumatoid arthritis, and Sjogren’s syndrome, which is a common symptom that rheumatologists treat, can also contribute to dry eyes. Diabetics or those with Glaucoma that requires medication are more likely to have dry eye syndrome.
Headaches and Dry Eye:
I recently came across an interesting study about the correlation between migraines and dry eyes. They looked at 33 migraine sufferers and compared them to 33 people without headaches. The results showed greater prevalence of dry eye in the migraine group than in those without headaches.
So, researchers are speculating that some migraines may worsen when dry eye symptoms are present. Another study I read recently looked specifically at office work and hypothesized that headaches that people complain of are really being caused by dry eyes.
However it is unclear whether one causes the other, or whether computer use is a contributing cause of both headaches and dry eyes.
Blepharitis and Dry Eye:
Another very common cause of dry eyes that we are seeing more and more is something called blepharitis, or meibomian gland dysfunction. That is inflammation of the lid glands that allow produce the oil in the tear film.
Over time, those glands that line the lids can get clogged and the oils in your tear film don’t flow on top of the tear film to protect it. People suffering from meibomian gland dysfunction are producing tears, but they’re evaporating too quickly.
So in between blinks, the tear film is just drying up or breaking down. That causes redness and other symptoms and classic signs of dry eye. We call that evaporative dry eye. Some suggest that many years of staring at a computer screen increase the prevalence of chronic blepharitis.
Treatments for Common Causes of Dry Eyes
Omega 3 Benefits
Omega 3 vitamins are very well-known to be good for general health, and heart health, but they are also helpful in treating dry eyes. We recommend at least 3 grams a day of Omega 3. There are a number of commercially available products. The one we carry in the office, made by PRNworks very well, but certainly any of the Omega 3’s that are available are helpful in reducing the symptoms of dry eyes. Omega 3 vitamins are very well-known to be good for general health, and heart health, but they are also helpfulin treating dry eyes. We recommend at least 3 grams a day of Omega 3.
Xiidra, also known as Lifitegrast, is a major breakthrough medication because unlike Restasis and other medications, it treats both the cause and the symptom and requires less time for it to show significant improvement. While Restasis only showed significant improvement in 15% of those in trials, Xiidra's trials have shown overwhelming improvement in as little as two weeks. In addition to its improvment in efficacy and speed, Xiidra shows improvment over the existing drugs used to treat dry eyes, with a low level of side effects and high safety profile.
Dry Eye Omega 3 Benefits
There are a number of commercially available products. The one we carry in the office, made by PRN works very well, but certainly any of the Omega 3’s that are available are helpful in reducing the symptoms of dry eyes.
- The Right Form and Serving. 4 softgels per day of our patent pending Dry Eye Omega Benefits® provides 2-3 grams of Omega-3s in the re-esterified triglyceride form (rTG).*
- Heart healthy benefits. 2-3 grams of Omega-3s per day has been shown to provide heart-healthy benefits.*
- Safe. This product offers an effective and safe way to increase your omega-3 intake.*
- Third party tested for purity. Dry Eye Omega Benefits® is third party tested for over 400 contaminants. Our unique molecular distillation process guarantees the removal of significantly more PCBs (known carcinogens) than non-molecularly distilled omega-3 products commonly found over the counter.
What Treatments for Dry Eye Are Recommended?
Restasis® Eye Drops for Dry Eyes
One of the most common dry eye treatments we prescribe is Restasis®. Rerstasis® is an eye drop that is used twice a day. It’s the tear drop form of cyclosporine, a medication that is prescribed for many chronic conditions, and it has been found to alleviate the symptoms of dry eyes as well. The downside of Restasis® is that, when you first start taking it, it causes some burning of the eye in some patients, and it does take up to 3-6 months to really work its way into the body. So, often when we prescribe Restasis®, we also prescribe a steroid to reduce inflammation, and avoid the initial side effects like burning and itching eyes.
Restasis® seems to improve the quantity of the watery part of your tears, but it doesn’t necessarily help to improve the outflow of the oil that needs to be produced on top of the tears so that the tears don’t evaporate. Right now some of the studies are suggesting that over 50% of people with dry eyes actually have meibomian gland dysfunction. So, if the first lines of treatment are failing to manage dry eye symptoms, consider more rigorous treatments for dry eyes and blepharitis.
Prokera and Dry Eye
The only FDA-cleared therapeutic device that both reduces inflammation and promotes healing!
Dry Eye Treatment Center of NY is pleased to offer our patients PROKERA®, a biologic corneal bandage / medical device used by eye doctors around the world to treat eye diseases such as keratitis, recurrent corneal erosion, dry eye syndrome and chemical burns.
This unique treatment is safe and effective, and it is comprised of cryopreserved amniotic membrane tissue in a thermoplastic ring set. Amniotic tissue is proven to have natural therapeutic actions to help damaged eye surfaces heal faster.
PROKERA insertion occurs in the office and is a coverage procedure with most insurance plans. The biologic corneal bandage is placed on the first eye for about 3-5 days; the patient can continue their daily activities and use artificial tears as needed. When the bandage on the first eye is removed, the eye is evaluated and a second eye can be scheduled.
For additional products that are specifically geared toward dry eye, including dry eye cosmetics and dry eye sleeping masks, visit the Dry Eyes Store.
The FDA recently approved of a new device called LipiFlow. It has just become available and will be coming to certain eye care practices around the country. The procedure to attach the device to the eye lid is done in the office. LipiFlow actually purges the eye from all the clogged oils by heating up the glands so that the oils get unclogged.
During the first session of our eyecare radio show, Laura from Florida, was very satisfied with the LipiFlow procedure we recommended. She high recommended it, saying that LipiFlow is “not uncomfortable at all. It takes about 12 minutes and the results seem to be immediate.” Laura, who had suffered from unmanageable dry eye syndrome for many years, noted that, while “many doctors have never heard of it,” LipiFlow has been “a miracle.”
Come in for an eye exam so we can help you treat dry eyes more effectively, especially since over half the people suffering from dry eye might actually have blepharitis or meibomian gland dysfunction and they often don’t respond well to over the counter eye drops. There are different methods that are most effective for treating different types of dry eyes. Now, when you come into the office, we’ll be able to do a thorough examination and to evaluate that.
Treatments for Blepharitis and Dry Eye
There are some treatments aimed at treating blepharitis and meibomian gland dysfunction in particular. One of the more common methods we recommend in the office is using a warm compress with massage. Really, a hot compress should be used multiple times a day for the most effective dry eye relief. TranquilEyes makes goggles fitted with gel packs to make the hot, moist eye treatment more convenient. That will loosen the blockages in the oil-producing glands and help reduce the symptoms. However, that process requires consistency and effort, and it doesn’t get to the root of the problem.
There is a medication we often prescribe in the office called AzaSite®. It’s Azithromycin in eye drop form. AzaSite® is used twice a day for two days and then once a day for the remainder of the month. That prescription dry eye treatment seems to be pretty effective, but, like hot compresses, the dry eye treatment is dependent upon patient compliance.
Dry Eye Exam With Dr. Alan B. Schlussel
When we see patients in the office we have begin by having the patient fill out a history form. There’s also a discussion kit developed by Allergan. They actually have a great website called My Dry Eyes that presents plenty of information about dry eyes and goes over things you could discuss with your doctor when you go in for an exam, and you can write away for them to send you a kit with suggestions and tips.
During the exam, we ask about the dry eye symptoms and other questions that give us insight into the potential causes of dry eye, and find out what – if any – self-management has been done up until now to try to treat dry eye. Then we work together to coordinate the best treatment plan.
We do a very thorough examination. We spend a lot of time evaluating the tear film, looking at the different layers of the tear film. We measure the quantity and evaluate the quality of the tears produced by the eye, paying particular attention the oil produced in the tear film.
Ultimately, we try to diagnose what type of dry eye you have; whether it’s the evaporative, or whether it’s mucus deficient or water deficient.
Then we develop a treatment plan based on different methods that we use to treat different types of dry eyes. As your eye care professional, we can coordinate that and try to stay behind what you’re doing.
I will spend the time. I’m very understanding of dry eyes because I have it myself. I’ve been treating my own eyes for about five, six years. And a lot of my patients have been coming in with numerous complaints about dry eyes, and we can help a lot of you.