What are the most common dry eye treatments today? While there are natural remedies, let’s look at the standard, mainstream treatments.
Artificial Tears, Gels and Ointments
According to the latest estimates, the market for eye drops is moving towards 2 billion dollars by 2018… a staggering figure.
Artificial tears, ointments, gels and products such as Restasis can help temporarily. Your Doctor or specialist may have given you these options in good faith. Many of these solutions only alleviate symptoms.
Over the counter drops do little to fix the underlying problem. They just help you live with it. And that’s not really a solution in the long run.
In fact, some evidence points to the idea that long term use of artificial tears and gels can actually make the problem worse.
This often happens due to the way eye drops, gels and other topicals can interfere with the eye’s own natural tear film production.
Topical Steriods and Supplements
Topical steroids in the form of eye drops can be prescribed but long term use – any longer than a few days or weeks – is discouraged by most Doctors. These topicals can sometimes help with the underlying inflammation that is present with most cases of dry eyes.
A number of supplements exist on the market providing high-potency doses of Omega 3s and other natural anti-inflammatory ingredients and vitamins.
Some are specifically designed for eye health and dry eyes. These are useful and, more importantly, excellent for general health and controlling inflammation in the body.
The inflammation associated with dry eyes can be severe for many people. This is your immune system fighting back against the perceived viral or bacterial infections in your eyes. In other words, your immune system senses a problem and jumps right on in there to try and repair the damage.
Reducing inflammation as much as possible is a key part of most dry eye treatment plans.
A new kid on the block is LipiFlow, a system where thermal pulses gently apply heat to the inner eyelid. This helps to release lipids (oils ) from the meibomian glands to help soothe dry eye symptoms.
The procedure can be performed in a doctor office and takes little more than 10 minutes. One caveat appears to be the expense – as much as $ 800 per eye.
Lipiflow reviews appear mixed. While there are some glowing testimonials, reports in dry eye forums lean towards the negative, especially when the cost is factored in. Your doctor or specialist will need to assess whether you are a good candidate and whether Lipiflow can provide the right results for your situation.
A 2012 study showed the Lipiflow treatment significantly improved meibomian gland secretions at the 2 & 4 week mark for the study participants.
Punctal Occlusion For Dry Eyes
In some cases of chronic dry eyes, small silicon plugs are inserted into the drainage ducts (Puncta) in the corner of the eye near the nose to stop available tear film from draining away too quickly. The procedure can be temporary, using dissolvable, collagen plugs, or made more permanent.
If this sounds fairly invasive to you, it’s because it is and in many cases is unnecessary if the underlying reasons for your condition are assessed properly. However, again, these types of procedures are ‘quick fixes’ to alleviate symptoms and discomfort.
Warm/Cold compresses, eye masks and humidifiers
For many sufferers of dry eye disease a daily regime of symptom relievers is particularly common.
Compresses on the eyelids to help warm the tear film and make it flow better. Eye masks and moisture goggles to protect against harsh, dry environments
Personal humidifiers in the home to provide moisture in very dry climates.
There are many dry eye treatments on offer. Literally hundreds of product lines are available to patients making it confusing to know which one will be of use to you in your specific situation.
This is because most options only act on relieving symptoms – and some do a pretty poor job of that. Ultimately this is not a solution for your dry eye problem.
The result can be that patients end up in a never ending cycle of product trial and error without much relief. Help!
Naturally, home remedies for dry eyes are on the rise and more importantly, look to address underlying reasons for your condition.