The most common treatment for dry eyes is the use of artificial teardrops that help make up for the lack of natural lubricating tears. Artificial tear products come in liquid form, longer-lasting gel form and long-lasting ointment form, which we commonly recommended for nighttime use. Many different brands of artificial tears are available over-the-counter. Some contain preservatives, and some do not. We may recommend unpreserved tears for people whose eyes are sensitive to preservatives or in patients who require very frequent use. You can generally use preserved artificial tears up to four times a day. In contrast, you can use non-preserved artificial tears as often as needed, from a few times per day to every few minutes. You should follow the regimen your doctor recommends.
When infection, inflammation of the eyelids or clogged oil glands contribute to dry eye, we may recommend a special lid cleaning technique (eyelid scrubs) or antibiotics. It may also help to avoid hot, dry or windy environments or to humidify the air in your home or office.
Anti-inflammatory eye drop medications commonly used to treat dry eye are Restasis and Xiidra. These medications decrease inflammation in the glands and allow more natural tear formation. You can use these two medications alone or in conjunction with over the counter artificial tears.
Punctal occlusion is another common way in which we can treat dry eyes. We can perform this treatment in the office by placing temporary collagen or long-lasting silicone plug into one of the tear duct drains. The tear duct drains tears away from the eye and into the nose. This is comparable to putting a stopper in a sink, allowing the natural tears on the eye nourish the eye longer.
Intense Pulsed Light is a dry eye treatment especially suited for patients whose dry eye is related to clogged oil glands.