Dr. Steven Rosen, of Rosen Optometry in Saint Louis, Missouri explains, “Symptoms of dry eyes are well known, and they include; stinging or burning in the eyes, scratchiness, and excessive irritation from smoke or wind. A person may also experience excessive tearing. The eye attempts to flush and lubricate itself by producing more tears, but is unable to do so successfully due to the rate of evaporation or inability to spread the tears properly.”
Patient: So, I have a problem. What will I do to make things better?
Dr Rosen: We have really good news. Our increased understanding of Dry Eye and MGD (Meibomian Gland Dysfunction) has led to many treatment options that can be tailored to you and your problem. Below is a brief overview of solutions:
- Blink exercises – Blinking helps to release tears into the eye and spreads the tears over the cornea. While blinking is seen as an involuntary action, blinking differs from one person to the next. Poor blinking habits are often acquired, especially among contact lens wearers. If poor habits do exist, it is possible to train them by means of special exercises. See the attached sheet at the end of this paper. Also, there is an app for that – for iPhone or Android. Look for Korb Blinking Exercises.
- Eyelid cleansers like Avenova and Cliradex – Avenova is a prescription product that contains purified Hypochlorous acid. It helps with Dry Eye, MGD, and blepharitis.
- Cliradex is a preservative-free pad containing the active ingredient found in Tea Tree Oil. It is useful for blepahritis, dry eye and rosacea.
- High quality Fish Oil Supplements – We often recommend PRN Omega 3 Dry Eye formula. This product supplies the more bio-available triglyceride form of Omega 3s in the correct amounts. This helps our Meibomian glands produce the proper secretion and lubrication for our tear film.
- BlephEx – BlephEx is an in office cleaning treatment. We use a small spinning sponge to clean away the debris and bio-film that collects on the lids and lashes. It is a great head start on many of the other treatments and products listed here.
- Life Style and Environmental Changes – Air conditioners, ceiling fans, coffee, smoking and other common items can have an effect on dry eyes.
- Heat Masks – Heat helps to melt and liquefy the blockages to our Meibomian glands.
- Newer, Non-preserved Artificial Tears – Oasis Tears and other artificial tear products better interact with our own tears to last longer and work more naturally.
- Prescription Eyedrops like Restasis, Azasite and Lotemax – These products help to fight inflammation in the eyes and in some cases, actually increase our own tear production.
- Systemic Medications Like Azithromycin or Doxycycline – These oral antibiotics are known for their anti-inflammatory properties and help to control excessive eyelid bacteria and inflammation.
- Punctal Plugs – The puncta are the tiny holes in each eyelid where tears drain. Sometimes, it is beneficial to block the drainage of our tears so they will last longer.
- Amniotic Tissue Bandages – These are used for more severe corneal dryness or damage. Amniotic tissue taken from the placenta after a live birth has tremendous healing abilities, and represents a new, high-tech treatment.
- LipiFlow – Lipiflow is a new procedure that uses heat to melt and express the Meibomian glands. It is very effective at relieving symptoms. We do not offer this in our office but we can refer you to another office for the procedure. You can expect to pay around $1000 per eye. It is not covered by insurance.