Dry Eye Treatment
Our clinic offers specialized services for dry eye patients through our dedicated Centre for Dry Eye & Corneal Disease. Dry Eye is a disease, and eye drops often only provide temporary relief of symptoms. Our doctors are trained and have special interest in the treatment and management of the underlying causes of Dry Eye Disease. Once the cause of the inflammation is properly diagnosed, treatment can be focused appropriately to ensure long-term relief.
Did you know:
- The average blink rate drops from 12-15 times per minute, to 3-4 times per minute when using a computer.
- Tear production is affected by many medications, including antidepressants, over-the-counter allergy pills, and even birth control pills.
- Alcohol and caffeine make dry eyes worse, as does inadequate water intake and poor diet
- The majority of Dry Eye symptoms are due to underlying eyelid disease
- Our dry climate encourages the growth of eyelid mites that can contribute to dry, red and itchy eyes (Demodex folliculorum). These can be treated.
Our tear layer and blinking mechanics are a highly complex system that must function well in order to lubricate, protect, and maintain the proper health of your eyes. Any breakdown can result in symptoms ranging from:
- Burning, Grittiness, Foreign body sensation
- Redness, Itching, desire to constantly rub the eyes
- Excessive watering and tears overflowing onto cheeks
- Feeling of wanting to close the eyes for relief
- Inability to tolerate contact lenses
If you suffer from any of the above, we will conduct a baseline assessment at the time of your initial comprehensive eye examination, and then schedule a comprehensive work-up appointment. Your tear chemistry will be assessed, infrared imaging of your glands will be performed (meibography) and an in-depth examination of the structure and function of your eyelids will be done. Digital images of your eyelid and external eye structures will be taken, and treatment will be initiated based on the underlying diagnosis.
From there you will be given an action plan to follow. This may include any of the following:
- In-office treatment of lid disease including removal of keratinized tissue from the lid margin and expression of plugged glands. Any Demodex infestation can be treated (see video below)
- Possible medicated eye drops including antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, and/or tear production enhancing medications such as cyclosporine (Restasis) or lifitegrast (Xiidra).
- Lid hygiene regimen including warm compresses, lid massage, and/or lid scrubs/shampoos. This is often discussed alongside proper makeup application/removal practices
- Blinking exercises, discussion of proper breaks when reading/using computer for long periods
- Nutrition counseling, including possible omega-3 supplementation
- Unpreserved lubricant eye drops specific to your type of dry eye (evaporative, non-productive, inflammatory)
- A change in contact lens modality, material, and/or solution care system
At your follow-up visit(s), the treatment plan will be modified based on improvement of signs and symptoms. Secondary treatments may be suggested including placement of punctal plugs in the eyelids to reduce tear drainage. Sometimes we will also prescribe a short course of oral antibiotics which are very successful in treating certain types of dry eye disease.
Although there may be a cost associated with any in-office treatments, they are health spending account eligible. Our goal is to treat the underlying cause of your Dry Eye disease to keep your eyes healthy and comfortable over the long term. Book an appointment today!