About Treatment for Dry Eye
The first and most important step in treating dry eye disease is to determine the type of dry eye syndrome (DES) and the severity of your condition. There are two major types of dry eye disease: decreased tear production and evaporative dry eye syndrome. At the Cataract & Refractive Institute of Florida, board-certified ophthalmologist Dr. James Croley specializes in diagnosing and treating DES. When you visit our office, he will conduct a series of tests to determine which type of dry eye disease you have (or whether you have a combination of both) and can create a custom treatment plan that is particular to your ocular health. Our office is proud to offer a wide variety of treatment options and advanced eyewear for those who are battling dry eye disease. Contact our office in Cape Coral, Lehigh Acres, or Bonita Springs, FL to schedule a private consultation with Dr. Croley to learn more.
Treatments for Dry Eyes
There are many treatment options to choose from, and we are pleased to offer such an extensive list of therapies, which include:
- Artificial Tears – There are nearly 60 different types and brands of artificial tears on the market, which contain lubricates to help stimulate the natural tear film for optimal moisture. Most brands are available over-the-counter and are used on a daily basis to help keep salt levels in the tear film under control. The specific type of tear drop that is best for your eye condition will be recommended after your comprehensive dry eye exam.
- Regener-Eyes Ophthalmic Solution – This is a sterile human birth fluid eye drop solution that contains natural proteins, cytokines, and growth factors to help promote the body's ability to heal itself. These components aid in reducing inflammation, pain, and irritation that is caused by dry eye disease.
- Tacrolimus – This is available as an eye drop or ointment to help stimulate tear production and ease ocular inflammation inside the eye. It is typically administered twice a day and many patients have experienced great results.
- Autologous Serum Eye Drops (ASED) – These are an all-natural form of eye drops that are created from a patient's own blood supply. A small amount of blood is extracted and placed in a centrifuge to separate the growth factors, vitamins, and other nutrients found in the blood. This concentrated serum is then diluted into bottles of preserved artificial tears.
- Testosterone Cream or Solution – Studies have shown that women are three times more likely to develop dry eye syndrome than men and that testosterone helps regulate the Meibomian and lacrimal glands of the eyes. These glands are responsible for producing the oily substance that prevents tear evaporation and the liquid layer of the eye's tear film. The application of testosterone cream or solution for female patients can provide great improvement to the health of the tear film and aid in relieving the symptoms of dry eye disease. This treatment in men has not shown the same results as in women.
- Xiidra® – Also known as lifitegrast ophthalmic solution, Xiidra is an FDA-approved eye drop that is used to ease the signs and symptoms that are associated with dry eye syndrome. Most patients experience noticeable results after about 3 – 4 months.
- RESTASIS® – For patients experiencing chronic dry eye due to inflammation, RESTASIS may increase your eye's natural ability to produce tears. RESTASIS can be prescribed in standard or MultiDose® for your convenience.
- Punctal Plugs – There are small openings on the sides of the eyes (closest to the nose) called the puncta. These openings lead to the lacrimal drainage duct that drains the tears from the eye into the nose. This is the reason why your nose runs when you get emotionally upset or cry. Many people believe that the tear ducts produce the tears in their eyes, but instead, the ducts drain the tears away from the eye. The different glands around the eye are what produce the tear film. Punctal plugs are small, silicone-like devices that are inserted into the puncta to block the tears from draining away from the eye. This keeps the tears on the surface of the eye to maintain better moisture to relieve dryness.
- LipiFlow – This is an FDA-approved procedure for the treatment of Meibomian gland disease that causes dry eyes. A combination of localized heat and intermittent pressure is used to target the Meibomian glands to unblock abnormal oil buildup within the eye(s).
- MiBo Thermoflo – This is a nonsurgical procedure that provides a safe and effective treatment for dry eyes secondary to Meibomian gland disease. This treatment is similar to LipiFlow as it uses a specialized device and ultrasound gel to apply gentle heat to the eye to liquefy abnormal oil buildup.
- Meibomian Gland Probing – This is a minimally invasive procedure that uses a tiny probe to treat inflammation of the Meibomian gland that is caused by scar tissue. Disrupting the built-up scar tissue in the gland can enable proper oil production.
- Amniotic Membrane – This is a fetal membrane that is harvested in a sterile manner from placental tissue during elective C-sections. The membrane contains several types of collagen that are similar to the collagen that is present on the eye. It helps promote healing, prevents scarring, and reduces inflammation. The membrane is applied to the eye (like a contact lens) and a protective contact is worn over the area for about one week, and then it is removed.
- TrueTear® Intranasal Tear Stimulator – This is a small device that produces mild electrical pulses to stimulate the production of the liquid portion of the tear film. The electrical pulses are delivered by a disposable tip that is attached to the TrueTear device, which is placed in the nose for a short period of time.
- HydroEye® Supplement – This is a patented nutritional supplement that has been shown in scientific studies to provide relief from dry eye syndrome. It is primarily composed of an Omega-6 fatty acid called gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which comes from black currant seed oil. It also contains a small amount of fish oil, vitamins, magnesium, and nutrient cofactors that enable its efficacy.
Other holistic treatments that can be incorporated at home to help ease the symptoms of dry eye syndrome include fish oil supplements, warm compresses, and blinking exercises.
Creating Your Care Plan
We understand that choosing a treatment option for dry eye syndrome can be overwhelming, but our team is here to walk you through all of your options so you can make the best decision possible. Dr. Croley will also conduct a full eye assessment to provide his recommendation for which treatments may offer the best results for your condition. When developing your customized treatment plan, the specific type and severity of your dry eye syndrome will also be considered. Typically, Dr. Croley will suggest beginning with a baseline form of treatment for your particular condition and after a few weeks or months, he can reassess your ocular health to determine if another form may be better for your needs. Most patients will try several treatment forms or a combination before they discover a care plan that works best for them.
Call Us Today
If you have dry eye syndrome and are struggling to find a treatment that provides the relief you need, contact the Cataract & Refractive Institute of Florida in Cape Coral, Lehigh Acres, or Bonita Springs, FL. Seasoned ophthalmologist Dr. James Croley can sit down with you to discuss all of your options and which ones may offer the best improvement to your dry eye symptoms.