Medical

How Does an Optometrist Treat Dry Eye?

Dry eye is an ocular condition characterized by irritation or a feeling of having something in your eye. Chronic dry eye is caused by insufficient tear production, and you can control your symptoms with treatment. Here are some of the ways your optometrist may treat dry eye:

Dry Eye Treatments

Before starting dry eye treatments, schedule an eye checkup with your doctor to determine the cause and extent of your condition. During the checkup, your eye doctor assesses your tear production and quality. Depending on the extent of your dry eye syndrome, your doctor may use the following treatments:

Prescription Medication

If over-the-counter artificial tears haven’t helped your condition, your eye doctor may prescribe medicated eye drops to increase tear production. Optometrists prescribe artificial tears and lubricating eye drops to preserve the eyes’ moisture. These treatments are effective in alleviating mild to moderate dry eye symptoms. Your optometrist may recommend preservative-free formulations for artificial tears if you have sensitive eyes. These artificial tears have fewer chemical additives, making them less likely to irritate the eyes.

Blephex

The Blephex treatment addresses dry eye by targeting blepharitis, a condition caused by inflammation of the eyelids. This procedure involves a hand-held device equipped with a medical-grade micro-sponge that spins. Optometrists use the device to gently exfoliate and remove debris, biofilm, and scurf from the eyelid margins. Blephex treatment reduces the bacterial load and microfilm on the lash margins that contribute to dry eye symptoms. Removing debris from the eyelid margins also unblocks the oil glands in the eyelids. These glands produce a protective film over the eye surface that prevents the liquid part of your tears from evaporating.

Lipiflow

Lipiflow treatment targets blockages in the meibomian glands or oil glands in the eyelids. This treatment involves using localized heat and gentle pressure to stimulate and liquefy the obstructive material within the meibomian glands. Your eye doctor will apply numbing eye drops to prevent discomfort during the procedure. They then place the dome-shaped Lipiflow device over your eye, which applies precisely controlled heat to the inner eyelids. The device simultaneously applies intermittent pressure to the outer lids, helping unclog the meibomian glands. Lipiflow provides long-lasting relief for individuals suffering from dry eye related to meibomian gland dysfunction.

Intense Pulsated Light (IPL) Therapy

IPL therapy minimizes inflammation and meibomian gland issues caused by blockages and ocular rosacea. The treatment involves the application of broad-spectrum light pulses to the skin around the eyes. The light pulses penetrate deeply, targeting blood vessels and abnormal cellular structures responsible for inflammation. This treatment reduces inflammation of the meibomian glands, improving their functionality. IPL therapy also eliminates bacteria on the eyelid margins and releases oil buildup along the eyelids, unclogging the meibomian glands. Multiple IPL therapy sessions are required to achieve long-term results for dry eye symptoms.

Visit Your Optometrist for Dry Eye Treatment

Effective dry eye treatment requires a thorough assessment of the condition’s extent and causes. If you are experiencing eye irritation, schedule an appointment with your optometrist for an exam. If your eye doctor diagnoses you with dry eye, they will explain the available treatment options and help you decide which is right for you. Contact your eye doctor today to learn more about dry eye treatments.

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