Dry Eye Management Options

 

Dry eyes are one of the most common eye problems, yet many people who suffer from the condition will never know that they are affected. This is because in many cases, the symptoms improve without professional assistance. However, there is a small percentage of patients who experience chronic dry eye and the effects of the condition have a detrimental effect on their day to day activities, and even their quality of life. 

 

Some of the signs of dry eyes include:

  • Sensitivity to light

  • A scratchy, stinging, or burning sensation in the eyes

  • Stringy mucus in or around the eyes

  • Eye redness

  • Feeling like you need to blink frequently or ‘stretch’ your eyes

  • Difficulty wearing contact lenses

  • Difficulty with driving at night

 

Dry eyes can occur for a number of reasons – from being a side effect of taking certain medications to experience a problem with the creation of your natural tear film. Whatever the underlying cause of your dry eyes, we can help. As dry eye specialists, we are pleased to be able to offer a number of highly effective options for successfully managing dry eye. Some of these include the following:

 

LipiFlow

 

LipiFlow is an innovative treatment device that has been designed specifically to remove and eliminate blockages from the meibomian glands, enabling them to continue to produce the oils that form the top protective lipid layer of our tear film. 

 

Meibomian gland dysfunction, or MGD, is one of the leading causes of dry eyes and very common, yet many people fail to realize that they are experiencing the condition. There are between 25 and 40 meibomian glands in the upper eyelid, and 20 to 30 in the lower eyelid. Their purpose is to secrete oils onto the surface of the eyes to keep tears from evaporating too quickly. Sometimes blockages or other abnormalities can develop in the meibomian glands that prevent them from secreting enough oil into the tear film, and this is what causes dry eyes. 

 

LipiFlow is a thermal pulsation system. This means that it combines heat with gentle massage in order to break down and eliminate blockages from the meibomian glands. Each treatment takes just 12 minutes per eye and many patients experience an improvement in their symptoms immediately. Numbing eye drops are administered ahead of the treatment which ensures that you don’t experience any pain. In fact, most patients are able to simply relax while the LipiFlow device works on eliminating the blockages causing their dry eyes. 

 

Punctual Plugs

 

Punctual plugs are tiny biocompatible devices that can be inserted into the tear ducts. In most cases, they are no larger than the size of a grain of rice. The aim of placing punctual plugs is to block the drainage channels out of the eye, keeping tear film on the surface of the eyes for longer. They may be placed in the upper or lower eyelids or both. There are several types of punctual plugs available. Some are temporary/dissolving and will gradually break down and be safely absorbed by the body. However, it is also possible to get semi-permanent plugs that are made from longer-lasting silicone or acrylic and are designed to stay in place for years. They can only be removed by your eye doctor. 

 

Amniotic Membrane Treatment

 

An amniotic membrane is the inner layer of the fetal membrane and can be cryopreserved at birth for use in future medical treatments. The membrane itself is transplanted onto the surface of the eye where it helps to overcome the effects of dry eye. 

 

Inflammation has been recognized as a key contributor to the development of dry eye disease. Fortunately, amniotic membrane treatment has been shown to cause significant improvement to the surface of the eyes, reducing the symptoms of dry eyes. It does this in three ways.

  • By acting as a bandage, keeping the eye moist, and protecting the ocular surface. 

  • By controlling ocular inflammation. 

  • Promoting regeneration of corneal nerves and prompting corneal healing. 
     

This is possible because the amniotic membrane has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-fibrotic, anti-angiogenic, and anti-microbial properties. 

 

 

 

If you are concerned that you may be suffering from dry eyes and would like more information about the best ways to manage the condition, our knowledgeable and experienced team would be delighted to help. Please contact us to schedule an appointment with our dry eye specialists in Atlanta, GA. 

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