Dry Eye Disease is generally a condition that is not cured (depending on the cause), but it can be managed. Treatment options usually fall in four categories: increasing the amount of tears kept in the eyes, decreasing tear evaporation, treating inflammation and/or addressing eyelid function.
Mild dry eye symptoms are usually addressed with artificial tears to lubricate the cornea. There are many over-the-counter drops and ointments designed to replenish natural tears. Ointments are best for night use because they will blur your vision. We suggest that you try different brands of tears to see which one is best for your eyes. We do want to warn you against choosing an eye drop that ‘takes the red out.’ These eye drops tend to irritate the eyes even more. Also, because some people are allergic to drops with preservatives, we recommend single-use drops or Oasis Tears PF.
Available to purchase at ALL our offices!
One of the artificial tears that we often recommend is Oasis Tears. Oasis is an effective medical grade lubricating artificial tear and is the only patented viscoadaptive lubrication eye drop. Unlike most tears, it combines glycerin with plant-based sodium hyaluronate, which coats and recoats the surface of the eye for longer periods of time than most other drops. All three products, Oasis Tears PF multi-use vials, Oasis Tears PF multi-dose bottles and Oasis Tears Plus PF multi-use vials offer instant comfort as well as longer lasting comfort.
The 3 Oasis Tears products:
Oasis Tears PF (preservative-free) Lubricant Eye Drops in a multi-dose 34-ounce bottle
Oasis Tears PF (preservative-free) Lubricant Eye Drops in multi-use vials
Oasis Tears Plus PF (preservative-free) Lubricant Eye Drops in multi-use vials
What is the Difference Between Oasis Tears PF and Oasis Tears Plus PF
Oasis Tears has 0.15% concentration of high molecular weight sodium hyaluronate.
Oasis Tears Plus has 0.3% concentration of high molecular weight sodium hyaluronate.
Oasis Tears Plus is sometimes termed as a gel tear because of its thicker nature.
Neither are sold at drugstores.
Both are preservative-free and as long as the bottle or the vial is not compromised, it is good for 90 days.
NOTE: Most pharmacies do not carry this medical grade teardrop. For your convenience, we sell Oasis in all of our offices.
Some other treatment options include Restasis prescription eye drops, autologous serum tears, punctal plugs, scleral lenses, Bruder Eye Hydrating Compress, vitamin therapy, lid scrubs, eyelid function surgery, and nutritional therapy.
Artificial tears only offer temporary symptom relief and do not address the underlying problem, which is often inflammation. There is an FDA approved prescription eye drop, called Restasis, designed to decrease inflammation, thereby helping to make tears that are more efficient in lubricating the eye. This not only increases the patient’s comfort, but also prevents more serious damage from occurring.
Autologous Serum Tears
The Eye Associates is one of the few practices that are equipped to offer serum tear treatment for patients with severe dry eye disease. Since artificial tears lack the biologically active elements found in our natural tears, eye drops made from components derived from one’s own body have been found to be very beneficial. These eye drops, called autologous serum tears, are made by separating components of a patient’s own blood. The benefit is that these man-made tears possess the biological nutrients naturally found in our own tears, giving natural relief for dry eyes. It should be noted that this treatment is normally not covered by insurance.
When eye drops are not able to offer relief of dry eye symptoms, another option is the use of punctal plugs. They are tiny devices that are inserted into the tear ducts in order to retain the tears in the eye, thereby increasing the moisture and tear film. They are very easy and painless to insert and can be done during a routine office visit. Also, they are easily removed if necessary.
Amniotic Membrane Tissue
Today’s patients are benefiting from research and an expanded set of tools for treating difficult conditions. The use of amniotic membrane tissue is a good example of that. The innate healing properties of the tissue make it ideal for tissue regeneration and are especially helpful in the treatment of corneal diseases and degeneration. The amniotic membrane contains specialized proteins and growth factors that diminish inflammation, prevent drying, aid tear stability and accelerate healing. Some of the eye conditions that we treat with the tissue are chemical burns, pterygiums, conjunctivochalasis, corneal defects, and dry eyes, just to name a few.
Some people find that they can improve their eye comfort with the use of scleral lenses. Scleral lenses are oversized gas permeable contact lenses that basically trap fluids behind the lens to add moisture to the eye. Many times this lens is used in conjunction with other dry eye treatments.
Check out the video below with a patient talking about her experience with scleral lenses.
Bruder Eye Hydrating Compress
The Bruder Eye Hydrating Compress is a heated compress that is placed over your resting eyes for several minutes. The compress is placed in a clean microwave for no longer than 20 to 30 seconds. The moist heat works to improve oil gland production to expel bacteria, stabilize tear film and slow tear evaporation. Those with a mild to moderate dry eye condition find this natural treatment to be soothing and helpful. These masks can be found at any of The Optical Gallery locations at The Eye Associates.
Vitamin Therapy HydroEye by ScienceBased Health
HydroEye softgel capsules are another product sold at The Optical Gallery that have been shown to decrease inflammation and significantly improve symptoms in moderate to severe dry eye patients. This daily supplement provides a proprietary blend of omega fatty acids [gamma linolenic acid (GLA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)], antioxidants and other key nutrients that work together to support a healthy tear film and dampen inflammation.
Omega Cure Fish Oil
The Eye Associates also offers patients the ultra-fresh Omega Cure fish oil. This full spectrum fish oil is a liquid product that, because of the level of freshness, is virtually tasteless. Omega Cure owes its potency and superior freshness to meticulous handling from the catch of wild cod to its delivery to you. This liquid form is especially popular with patients that have problems swallowing the seven+ large capsules that would be needed to provide the dosage required to improve dry eyes, as well as offer many other benefits for the entire body. Just two teaspoons daily provides 2000 mg of EPA/DHA, and it can be taken straight or it can be combined with juices, smoothies and other food products.
Lid hygiene is very important in the management of Dry Eye Disease (DED) so lid scrubs are often recommended. By using lid scrubs, patients are able to better remove debris and bacteria, and stimulate meibomian gland secretions; all of which help with DED. There are many brands available over the counter so it’s important to try a few out to see which type works best for you.
Avenova by NovaBay Pharmaceuticals
There is also a new prescription lid scrub called Avenova that appears to be a major breakthrough in good lid hygiene. One of the main ingredients is hypochlorous acid (HOCL). HOCL is one of the chemicals that is naturally produced by your own white blood cells to kill germs. It is used in Avenova to kill bacteria and fungi while still being gentle enough to be soothing to the eye. Daily use of Avenova has shown to help dry eye patients as well as those with blepharitis and meibomitis within 2 weeks of use.
Eyelid Function Surgery
As we age, many times our skin will sag, especially around the eyelids. This may cause the lids to not close properly and allow for the evaporation of the tears. Our Fellowship Trained Oculofacial Surgeon, Dr. Charles Anthony II can evaluate your eyes to see if surgery is the answer to your dry eye discomfort.
Nutritional Therapy & Hydration
Dry Eye – Cookbook
Our diet has a big influence on our overall health and that includes dry eyes. Something as simple as increasing your water intake can positively affect DED. We also often hear patients comment that their eyes feel better when they include more ‘superfoods’ in their diet. Cooking with olive oil and eating more dark leafy greens can help dry eye patients find relief. Click here to download The Eye Associates’ Dry Eye Cookbook. Go to Facebook to give us feedback on the recipes and share with us your favorite Dry Eye Friendly tasty recipes.
Also, The Eye Associates is very involved in clinical research studies. We often participate in Dry Eye Disease studies that are on the cutting edge of technology and development. Click here to learn more about our clinical research studies.
The only way to know which treatment option is right for you is to make an appointment for a dry eye evaluation. Call toll free 1-866-865-2020 or contact The Eye Associates today.