Initially, dry eyes are usually treated with topical lubricating drops (artificial tears) applied up to six times daily. Ointments are at times prescribed for nighttime use. Commercially available drops cannot be used more frequently because they contain detergent-based preservatives. Overuse of these drops can cause tears to break up rapidly, actually aggravating a dry eye condition. Artificial tears must be used to prevent irritation and other symptoms. Using the drops only after the eyes become irritated is not effective.
If discomfort continues, the next step is closing the tear drainage ducts. This is done with silicone or collagen plugs inserted in the tear ducts which can be removed if needed. At times, permanent cautery occlusion may be done.
Recently two new treatments known as LipiFlow® and Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) have become available.
Omega-3 nutritional supplements have been proven to significantly improve eye health and relieve dry eye symptoms. Supported by significant research and experience, we at Minnesota Eye Consultants have determined that Omega-3’s, specifically manufactured by PRN Physician Recommended Nutriceuticals®, provide the purest; most therapeutically potent omega-3 based nutritional supplements possible. When taken as recommended, this allows us to treat Dry Eye systemically, with minimal dosing.
Patients with dry eyes must take an active role in the treatment of their dry eyes. They must use the prescribed medications. They must protect their eyes from irritation. They must note when and where their symptoms are worse or better so their doctor can discover what contributes to their dry eyes.