Saturday, September 26, 2009

Severe Dry Eye Treatment

The surface of your eyes should remain lubricated constantly. Tears provide nutrients and proteins to your eyes. Tears also provide protection for your eyes and make it easier for you to blink, whereas dry eyes cause abrasions, erosions, scarring and ulcers on your eyes. Tears, like glasses, reflect light, allowing your to see sharp, clear images. When your eyes do not produce tears, or don't produce enough tears, nearly all of these problems will develop. Fortunately, you have options to treat severe dry eyes.

    Artificial Tears

  1. Lubricating treatment should be your first attempt at treating severe dry eyes. Start by placing artificial tears, ointments or gels in your eyes. You might even want to try prescription eyedrops, such as Restasis, or try using a topical steroid in your eyes. Just hold your eyelids open with your thumb and index finger, look to the side, and squeeze the moisture onto your eye.
  2. Punctal Plugs

  3. Punctal plugs are effective at treating severe dry eyes that have been unresponsive to artificial tears. The word "puncta" means the opening of tear ducts at the corners of the eyes. Plugs that are inserted in the corners of the eyes to help keep them moist are referred to as "punctal" plugs. Your eye doctor places the plugs under your eyelids--usually the lower lids--with a pair of tweezers. You can only have this procedure done at your doctor's office.
  4. Hygiene and Heat Treatment

  5. If the artificial tears and plugs fail to relieve severe dry eyes, the next step focuses on treating your glands to make sure they produce enough oil. Eyelid hygiene requires you to gently and thoroughly clean your eyelids be to remove debris and bacteria, in order to stimulate secretions in your glands. Scrubbing your lids, along with heat treatment--which involves placing warm compresses on your eyelids--will help to loosen the hardened oil that might be clogging the glands, allowing it to flow freely.
    Doxycycline, an oral antibiotic, can help with bacteria and with eye infections, too.
  6. Lifestyle Modifications

  7. Keeping hydrated can help with severe dry eyes. Drink at least eight glasses (about 60 oz.) of water each day. Get some omega-3 fatty acids, in the form of fish oil or flaxseed. Use a humidifier to keep moisture in the air. Turn down the air conditioning and heat and redirect the vents. Wear protective eyewear, such as Panoptx during the day and Tranquileves at night. These moisture goggles can bring enormous relief to dry eyes. Identify any medications that are causing dry eyes, and ask your doctor for replacements.
  8. Experimental Drugs

  9. Autologus serum is eyedrops produced from your own blood. It is still in the early development stages and researchers are currently conducting clinical studies. This treatment may someday offer hope to patients for whom other severe dry eye treatments have failed.
  10. Surgery

  11. For severe dry eyes for which all other remedies have failed, surgery might be an option. An oucloplastic surgeon specializes in performing plastic surgery of the eyelids. He can restructure your eyelids in such a fashion that it may cure your severe dry eyes.

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