The Dry Eye Solution Center at Blountville Family Eyecare was created to address the concerns of patients with chronic dry eyes.   Unfortunately, for many patients years can go by with either no treatment or undertreatment of their symptoms.  At the Dry Eye Solution Center, we take the time to listen to your concerns and develop a treatment plan tailored to your needs and specific complaints. Due to the potential of dry eye to cause permanent damage to the ocular surface, early initiation of appropriate treatment is imperative to minimize long term complications.  Some of the various treatment options include nonprescription, prescription medications, nutritional supplementation,  and minor surgical procedures to improve tear volume.

What is Dye Eye?

Dry eye is one of the most common eye diseases.  Dry eye is more formally known as ocular surface disease.  This disease affects both men and women and people of all ages.  Women tend to have a higher incidence of dry eye.  One would think with a disease named dry eye, that the number one symptom would be dryness.  Although many patients do experience sandy gritty feelings in the eyes, many often complain more of excess tearing or watering.  As dry eye progresses, the eyes become more inflamed.  This inflammation causes the release of thin tear or “crying tear” that is trying to flush the inflammation from the ocular surface.  This flushing will also wash the thicker “lubricating tears” away causing the eyes to become even drier.  As you can see this creates a vicious cycle of events that continue until proper treatment is received.  Other common complaints in patients suffering from dry eye include: fluctuating vision especially with reading or computer use, burning, itching, and eye pain or tenderness.  Dry eye left untreated generally will continue to worsen with time and can ultimately result in permanent damage to the ocular surface with possible corneal scarring and vision loss.

What Treatments are Available?

There are many treatments from over the counter tear supplements, nutritional support, prescription medications, and minor in office surgical procedures to provide relief.  There is an enormous amount of research continually being performed and new exciting treatments are in the development pipeline.

Artificial tears are considered the first line therapy in initial treatment.  Unfortunately, for the patient going to the local pharmacy, there are so many choices many of which may actually make your dryness worse.  Many over the counter tears contain alcohols that will dry the ocular surface and vasoconstrictors that aid in inflammation of the eye.  It is imperative to stay with the artificial tear recommended by your doctor.  Switching brands without consulting your doctor may decrease the effectiveness of your treatment and may cause you undue discomfort.

Nutrition plays a significant role in maintaining proper tear production.  An easy place to start is making sure you are drinking at least 6-8 glasses of water a day.  Omega-3 fatty acids and Omega-6 fatty acids assist in inflammation control and increasing your natural tear production.  You need to make sure you are taking a high quality Omega-3.  We recommend Nordic Naturals for our patients.  Nordic Naturals are independently tested for purity and do not produce a fishy taste.

We utilize various prescription pharmaceuticals to treat dry eye.   Common medications to treat ocular surface disease are Restasis, Xiidra, antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, and many others.  We individualize our treatment based on each patient and custom tailor our approach.

In Office Surgical Procedures

Blephex, lid microdermabrasion, is a procedure to exfoliate your lids and lashes to clear debris that causes inflammation.  This procedure aids to unclog oil glands that help keep your tears on the eye and slow down evaporation.  The procedure is well tolerated and successful in patients that have problems with oil flow.  Below is a brief video explaining the procedure in more detail.

Punctal plugs is another common in office surgical procedure utilized in ocular surface disease.  Small inserts are placed in the tear drains of you lids.  These inserts help you to retain more volume of your natural tears.  The procedure is well tolerated and is reversible should the need arise.  Below is a brief video on the procedure in more detail.

If you are suffering from the symptoms of dry schedule an appointment today at The Dry Eye Center at Blountville Family Eyecare.  If you have any questions feel free to call or text us at 423-323-3799.