Relief Is In Sight
The goal in treating dry eyes is to restore the health of the tear film, bringing moisture back into the eye and improving the patient's quality of life. Since dry eye is a disease of the surface of the eye and inflammation of the eyelids (meibomian gland dysfunction), both conditions need to be treated.
This is a step-wise approach, meaning that when a patient fails to respond to one treatment, additional treatments are needed. Your doctor will work with you on determining the correct treatments as well as number of treatments required for symptom relief.
Eye Drops: THe First Line of Defense
Over-the-counter artificial tears and eyelid hygiene are the first line treatments of dry eye disease. Most doctors recommend using artificial tears two to four times daily and artificial tear ointment at bedtime. This is combined with warm compresses and eyelid washes to promote healthy melbomian glands.
Punctal plugs can be placed in the drainage structure of the eye (punctum) to allow tears to stay on the surface of the eye longer. This often results in symptomatic relief as the eyes remain better lubricated.
Punctal plugs do not address the underlying inflammation related to dry eyes. Additional treatments are often needed in patients with severe dry eye.
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Treatment
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) is a treatment that uses a hand-held applicator to deliver an intense pulse of light to the surface of the skin. The light targets the inflammatory cells in the face and eyelid skin which reduces redness and promotes healthy melbomian gland function. This leads to a healthy tear film.
Patients find this procedure quick and easy with minimal downtime and quick results. The number of treatments needed will depend on the patient. This is the ideal treatment for patients who have difficulty applying or remembering to take drops, those who want an ‘all-natural’ treatment, and those who have primarily mebomian gland disease. Unlike other options, IPL treatment addresses the root cause of evaporative dry eye and can lead to more sustained relief.