Dry eye disorder is a condition in which an individual’s eyes are exceptionally dry, to the point where redness and burning are a regular occurrence. This condition can be diagnosed through eye exams that include either a test on the quality of your tears or a test to measure the volume of your tears.
Your doctor can use special eyedrops made with dyes that help determine the condition of the surface of your eyes. With these tests, your doctor looks for how long it takes for your eyes to evaporate the drop and for staining patterns on the cornea. These evaluations help him determine whether you suffer from dry eyes and the best treatment option.
Most people can cure their dry eyes with regular use of lubricating eye drops or artificial tears. In severe cases, when the symptoms persist and become more serious, you may need to pursue other treatments. Visit an eye doctor in Grand Rapids for a check-up and assistance in determining treatment.
Treatment for dry eyes focuses on eliminating any redness, irritation, and inflammation. To do this, it focuses on improving tear quality and preventing tears from quickly evaporating or draining from the eyes.
1. Artificial Tears Artificial tears are available over the counter and can be used to treat most mild cases of dry eye. Artificial tears are a lubricating eye drop that can reverse the negative effects of dry eye.
These are available in different variations and forms in drug stores. Low-viscosity artificial tears provide immediate, but short-term, relief to dry eyes. These drops are popular because they do not blur vision.
High-viscosity drops do blur vision, often causing the user to be unable to see for several minutes. High-viscosity drops have a longer soothing effect on the eyes but are not a great choice for use during the day as they substantially impair sight. High-viscosity artificial tears are best for use at night.
2. Antibiotics Antibiotics can also be used to reduce inflammation and to stimulate tears. Drugs that reduce inflammation are used to treat dry eyes because of inflammation in the eyelids. Inflamed or swollen eyelids disallow glands in the eyes from secreting oil into tears. While most of these antibiotics are pills, they can also come in ointments or eyedrops.
Cholinergic or tear-stimulating drugs aim to increase the production of tears, a solution to dry eyes. These come in pills, gels, and drops and come with side effects such as excessive sweating.
3. Steroid Eye Drops Inflammation is one of the biggest issues in individuals with dry eyes because it causes redness and burning often associated with the issue. Artificial tears and other lubricating eye drops do not combat this inflammation, and your doctor may need to prescribe something stronger if your inflammation is severe.
Steroid drops are a quick fix to manage the symptoms of dry eyes. Usually, doctors start with a mild steroid to introduce patients to this treatment, but sometimes a more potent steroid is required.
Steroid drops can be harmful if used over a long period, but if used only for dry eye treatment on a short-term scale, these eye drops are beneficial.
4. Special Contact Lenses Optometrists have developed certain kinds of special contact lenses called scleral or bandage lenses that can help people with dry eyes. These specialized contacts help trap moisture in the eyes and protect the surface of the eye from any kind of damage.
5. Punctal Plugs for Lacrimal Glands These mechanisms can be inserted into the tear duct to assist in helping the tears remain on the surface of the eye longer. The lacrimal glands and tear ducts are typically underactive in patients with dry eye, and a lacrimal plug can be inserted into the lower tear duct to help in keeping the tears in the duct from draining away too quickly. Using these plugs makes the film created by the tear remain on the eye’s surface for longer, keeping it lubricated and avoiding evaporation.