Dry Eye Treatments
How do you treat dry eyes?
Dry Eye treatments can range from artificial tears, to supplements such as fish oil or flax seed, to medications such as Restasis® or even moisture chamber goggles. Closing the tear drainage ducts by placement of puntal plugs made of either collagen or synthetic materials can also be very helpful in certain situations (learn more below).
Normally, the first choice of treatment for dry eyes is artificial tears or eye drops bought over the counter at your pharmacy and administered at intervals throughout the day. There are many different brands and types of dry eyes available over the counter. Some are more"gel like" than others and can cause a short term blurring of vision right after they are administered.
Herbal supplements have also proven to provide reprieve for dry eyes in some people. Fish oils, flaxseed oil and other Omega-3s promote overall ocular health. Research has shown that eating a diet high in the essential fatty acids, EPA, DHA and GLA can significantly decrease inflammation throughout the body and help to maintain flexibility in the ocular membrane.
Restasis is a prescription eye drop that may be prescribed to use twice daily to treat dry eyes. Restasis is designed to help increase your eye's natural ability to produce tears in cases where it may be reduced due to inflammation from chronic dry eyes. Restasis is not the solution for everyone with dry eyes.
Keeping the natural tears on the surface of the eye longer is another approach to treating dry eyes. Small silicone plugs can be placed in the puncta (drainage canals) to prevent tears from draining from the eyes. These plugs can be removed if needed. There is also a surgical procedure to permanently close the puncta. Specialists sometimes recommend temporary closure of the tear drainage system to increase the volume of the tear film. Placement of plugs is a quick and painless office procedure.