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Dry Eye Treatment

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Treatments for Dry Eye in Milpitas, CA

eye exam San JoseDry eyes or dry eye syndrome (DES) is an ongoing condition that treatments may be unable to cure. But the symptoms of dry eye—including dryness, scratchiness and burning—can usually be successfully managed.

Your optometrist may recommend artificial tears, which are lubricating eyedrops that may alleviate the dry, scratching feeling and foreign body sensation of dry eye. Prescription oral medications and prescription eye drops for dry eye go one step further: they help increase your tear production.

If you wear contact lenses, be aware that many artificial tears cannot be used during contact lens wear. You may need to remove your lenses before using the drops. Wait 15 minutes or longer (check the label) before reinserting them. For mild dry eye, contact lens rewetting drops may be sufficient to make your eyes feel better, but the effect is usually only temporary. Switching to another lens brand could also help.

Check the label, but better yet, check with your doctor before buying any over-the-counter eye drops. Your eye doctor will know which formulas are effective and long-lasting and which are not, as well as which eye drops will work with your contact lenses.

To reduce the effects of sun, wind and dust on dry eyes, wear sunglasses when outdoors. Wraparound styles offer the best protection.

Indoors, an air cleaner can filter out dust and other particles from the air, while a humidifier adds moisture to air that's too dry because of air conditioning or heating.

For more significant cases of dry eye, your eye doctor may recommend punctal plugs. These tiny devices are inserted in ducts in your lids to slow the drainage of tears away from your eyes, thereby keeping your eyes more moist. Eye doctors sometimes recommend special nutritional supplements containing certain essential fatty acids to decrease dry eye symptoms. Drinking more water may also relieve symptoms.

If medications are the cause of dry eyes, discontinuing the drug generally resolves the problem. But in this case, the benefits of the drug must be weighed against the side effect of dry eyes. Sometimes switching to a different type of medication alleviates the dry eye symptoms while keeping the needed treatment. In any case, never switch or discontinue your medications without consulting with your doctor first.

Treating any underlying eyelid disease, such as blepharitis, helps as well. This may call for antibiotic or steroid drops, plus frequent eyelid scrubs with an antibacterial shampoo.

If you are considering LASIK, be aware that dry eyes may disqualify you for the surgery, at least until your dry eye condition is successfully treated. Dry eyes increase your risk for poor healing after LASIK, so most surgeons will want to treat the dry eyes first, to ensure a good LASIK outcome. This goes for other types of vision correction surgery, as well. Ortho-K might work for you during this time.

To read more about the symptoms and causes of dry eyes, visit Your Eye Health.

Dry Eye Q&As

Q: Is it true that Dry Eye symptoms seem to be more severe in the winter than in the warmer spring and summer months?

Dry eye is usually worse during dry parts of the year. It can be dry almost year-round in the South Bay. Use of heaters or air conditioners tend to create drier air in our indoor environments making our symptoms worse.

Q: When should a person come in to see their optometrist for Dry Eye symptoms and when is it enough to take care of this problem yourself?

Dry eyes is a chronic condition with multiple homeopathic and medical treatments due to their being different causes and types of dry eyes. Some people are fine with just taking Over The Counter artificial tear eye drops, but some brands can make the eyes more red and irritating over time. We recommend everyone with symptoms to come in for an examination to see what is right for you.

Q: I have a friend in whose eyes are frequently overly watery. That isn't Dry Eye, is it?

One major symptom of dry eyes can be frequently watery eyes. Sometimes the watery eyes is our body’s reaction to moisten the already dry eyes. It can be annoying but our body is trying to help. Our recommendation is to stop the eyes from drying out in the first place to prevent the eyes from watering so often.

Q: What are the typical treatments used to help people suffering from Dry Eyes?

We always start with homeopathic methods for mild dry eye and become more aggressive if the treatment is not working. Treatments can entail massaging the eyelids with warm compresses, recommended Over The Counter artificial tears depending on the type of dry eyes, Omega 3 supplements, and certain lifestyle modifications. Stronger treatments require prescription eye drops and/or plugging the drainage system to allow the tears to stay longer in the eyes..

Q: Are some people more prone to having Dry Eyes than others?

There are many factors to dry eye causes like work and home environment involving too much screen time (I call it Silicon Valley Eyes). Many medications cause side effects like dry eyes (allergy, anti-depressants, blood pressure and acne). Certain medical conditions like diabetes and arthritis can also cause our eyes to dry faster.

Q: Do you have any recommendations for people to help them avoid Dry Eye issues?

Taking multiple breaks from digital devices like computers, smartphones and tablets can do wonders. Avoiding dry, windy and polluted areas along with proper eyewear protection like sunglasses helps too.

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