Dry Eyes symptoms can have a major impact on your quality of life, making daily activities uncomfortable and your vision unstable. Dry Eye Syndrome is often misdiagnosed as allergies since the hallmark signs include itching and watery discharge. At our Sugar Land clinic, our eye doctors specialize in diagnosis and treating Dry Eye Syndrome.
Dry Eye Syndrome or Ocular Surface Disease is when surface of your eyes don't maintain the right balance of water, mucous and oil in your tear film, causing symptoms like burning, itching, watery discharge, redness, general discomfort and fluctuating vision. In essence, dry eye occurs when a person doesn't have enough quality tears to lubricate and nourish the front surface of the eyes. Dry eye is a complex disease and requires expertise and a thorough evaluation of your ocular surface and tears to help attain the correct diagnosis and treatment plan. Studies have shown that over the counter tears only help temporarily and are not a long term solution to treating dry eyes.
Before we delve into more serious dry eye treatment options, here are a few simple self-care options that can help manage minor symptoms associated with dry eye:
Blink regularly when reading on a digital device or computer screen for a long time.
Make sure there’s adequate humidity in the air at work and at home.
Wear sunglasses outside to reduce sun and wind exposure. Wraparound glasses are the best.
Take supplements with Omega 3's and essential fatty acids as these may decrease dry eye symptoms.
Drink adequate amounts of water daily to stay hydrated.
Find out if any of your prescriptions medications have dry eye as a side effect and if so, see if you can take an alternative. Common examples include over the counter anti-histamines.
Sometimes dry eye is induced by the things we do (such as starting at a digital device without blinking frequently) vs a true medical reason for dry eye sydrome. In these mild cases of dry eyes, a short term option are over-the-counter eye drops. Here are a few tips for selecting the right one:
Low viscosity – These artificial tears are watery. They often provide quick relief with little or no blurring of your vision, but their effect can be brief.
High viscosity – These are more gel-like and provide longer-lasting lubrication. However, these drops can cause significant blurring of your vision for several minutes. For this reason, high-viscosity artificial tears are recommended at bedtime.
In your dry eye evaluation we will evaluate your medical history, all parts of the surface of your eyes, your eyelid glands and your tears to determine what the cause of your dry eyes are. A custom treatment plan will then be initiated by Dr. Somji or Dr. Sana. Here are a few treatment options that may be discussed at your visit:
Contact Lenses – either a soft lens used as a bandage lens to protect your eyes from dehydration or a custom scleral contact lens to help provide moisture and hydration to your eyes while providing excellent vision.
Antibiotics – specific antibiotics can reduce inflammation of the glands in your eyelids, allowing the lipid or 'oily' part of your tears to flow more freely.
Anti-inflammatory drugs – dry eye syndrome is also known as ocular surface disease because the surface of the eye can be inflamed from chronic dry eyes. In these situations, reducing surface inflammation in the short term with steroid eye drops or long term with prescription strenght drops such as Xiidra, Restasis or Cequa may be necessary.
Amniotic Membrane Lenses – when there is excessive damage from chronic inflammation on the surface of your eyes, we may insert a special biological membrane contact lens for 3-5 days to help heal the damaged surface. This biological contact lens is made from human donation amniotic tissue and has extremely potent regeneration properties. Dr. Somji and Dr. Sana have provided many patients with relief by utilizing these special biological treatment lenses.
Punctal Plugs – sometimes when there isn't enough total tear volume in the eyes, our doctors will insert dissolvable punctal plugs into a specific area in your eyelids (tear ducts) to prevent the tears that are there from draining from the eyes too fast.
Warm Compresses and Eyelid Scrubs– usually prescribed as a supplement to other dry eye treatments. Warm compresses can help unblock the glands that are responsible for produce the oily part of your tears
You don’t have to suffer from the symptoms of dry eye or settle for being told to use an over the counter eye drop. Talk to our team to schedule your dry eye evaluation with one of our eye doctors who specialize in dry eye evaluation and treatment in Sugar Land.