Temporary vs. Chronic Dry Eye
If you suffer from dry eye, then you are most likely familiar with the uncomfortable symptoms of burning, itching and grittiness.
Temporary dry eyes are often a result of an environmental factor such as a dry climate or over wearing contact lenses. On the other hand, chronic dry eye is a medical condition that, over time, can decrease the eye’s ability to make and/or maintain sufficient quality and quantity of tears for a healthy tear film. Chronic dry eye may be caused by instability of the tear film. Several different tear layers collaborate to make and maintain the tears that keep your eyes continually moist and healthy. Dysfunctions causing instability in one or more of these layers can lead to chronic dry eye. Chronic dry eye may be associated with other eye or health conditions including glaucoma, diabetes, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and Sjögren’s syndrome.
It is a fact that dry eyes are no fun. If you have dry eyes, even chronic dry eye, your condition doesn’t have to be permanent. Fortunately, there are several treatment options available.
Treatments for Temporary Dry Eye:
- Use over-the-counter preservative-free lubricating artificial tears at least 4 times per day or more if desired, especially following LASIK.
- Avoid dehydration by drinking plenty of water. Staying hydrated helps produce natural tears more effectively.
- Avoid excessive amounts of caffeine, which has a drying/diuretic effect.
- Add dietary omega-3 fatty acids, such as 1,000mg molecularly distilled fish oil oral soft gels, to optimize the oily portion of the tear film and prevent tear evaporation.
- Use emollient eye drops, such as Soothe or Endura, which contain lipid emollient lubricants to stabilize the lipid layer of the tears and promote overall tear stability.
- Use a room humidifier to humidify environmental air. By putting a humidifier in your bedroom or office, moist air can actually keep the eye surface hydrated, instead of dry air depleting moisture out of the eyes.
Treatments for Chronic Dry Eye:
- Restasis eye drops improve natural tear production. By reducing ocular surface inflammation, the tear glands can produce natural tears more efficiently.
- Steroid eye drops treating inflammation on the ocular surface has been shown to increase tear production to improve eye comfort.
- Low dose oral doxycycline pills treat any underlying blepharitis and stabilize the tear film.
- Punctal plugs help tears stay in the eye longer. Eye drops and tears naturally drain through tiny openings located into the inner angle of the eyelids to the nasal passages. Placing tiny plugs in each opening, called a puncta, can reduce the drainage of tears away from the eye surface.
If you are experiencing dry eye symptoms in Laramie, contact Snowy Range Vision Center at 307-742-2020 or website to schedule an appointment with Dr. Foster.