Dry eye is a complex disease of the eye surface with many factors and causes.

Symptoms may include gritty, irritated, sore, dry or watery eyes and blurry or fluctuating vision. In some cases it may also be asymptomatic.

There are two types of dry eye which generally relate to which of the two layers of the tear film is incomplete.

The most common type of dry eye, evaporative dry eye, is most often associated with dysfunction of the eyelid glands that secrete the oily layer of the tear film. This is called Meibomian Gland Dysfunction. As these glands are located at the base of the eyelid margin this condition may also be associated with Blepharitis, where there is an overgrowth of the normal bacteria along the base of the eyelashes.

Aqueous deficient dry eye is less common, it generally caused by systemic disease or medications and results in reduced production of the watery component of the tear film.

Both types of dry eye are associated with inflammation so treatments primarily relate to reducing inflammation and improving symptoms.

Dry Eye and Ocular Surface Disease - Canterbury Eyecare
Image source: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/anatomy/tear-film-3

Treatments for Dry Eye and Ocular Surface Disease

Heat Treatment

Heat Treatment involves heating the eyelid glands to improve their function thereby increasing tear production. The best at home heat treatment is with microwavable heat masks.

We recommend The Eye Doctor Hot and Cold Heat Mask used 2 times a day for 5-10 minutes for at least 4-6 weeks, then once a day ongoing.

Increasing Omega 3 Intake

Omega 3‘s are beneficial in all types of dry eye due to their anti-inflammatory properties. It is recommended to have 1000-2000mg of Omega 3 daily, especially a type high in EPA and DHA.

We recommend supplements Lacritec or DRYeye Forte capsules 3 times a day for 1 month then 2 times a day ongoing.

OR you can increase dietary omega 3 intake by having 2-3 serves a week of Oily Fish such as Salmon, Sardines, Anchovies, Trout or Tuna.

If Vegetarian then increase intake of Flaxseed, Walnuts, Chia Seeds and Soybean Oil.

Anti-inflammatory eye drops, gel or ointments

Anti-inflammatory eye drops, gel or ointment may be necessary in some cases to calm the eye surface. A significant factor of dry eye disease is inflammation. 

Some anti-inflammatory treatments may be available over the counter or by prescription only. It is important to follow directions for these treatments carefully as some may have adverse effects if used long term or incorrectly. Prescription medications may be steroidal or immunosuppressant in nature.

An over the counter available anti-inflammatory medication is: Optimel (Manuka Honey) Drops or Gel, to be used 2 times a day. Note: Stings on instillation.

Medicated Lid Wipes, Foam or Sprays

Medicated Lid Wipes, Foam or Sprays are used to treat Blepharitis, the term for an imbalance of the native bacteria which live on our face and around our eyes. Research shows blepharitis is a common finding in dry eye disease.

Treatment of Blepharitis comes in many options , those with Tea Tree Oil are for more severe cases.

We recommend: Sterilid (Hypochlorous acid) spray or Blephadex foam or wipes used 2 times a day for at least 6 weeks then once a day ongoing.

Blinking Exercises

Blinking exercises increase tear secretion. 

They involve completely closing the eyes without squeezing the eyelids together. 

Repeat this exercise a few times throughout the day.

Environmental Factors

Environmental factors can exacerbate dry eye. Common culprits include environments with low humidity, high airflow and activities that cause reduced blink rate. To reduce the impact of environmental factors consider the following:

  • Direct air conditioning or heating away from the eyes
  • Keep screen monitors below eye height
  • Wear an eye mask whilst sleeping
  • Keep hydrated
  • Take frequent breaks when reading, watching TV or screen based devices

Other Interventions

Return to see us at any time for a review and re-assessment of your dry eye symptoms and concerns.

We can refer and co-manage with our Ophthalmology colleagues or your GP for further interventions such as oral medications or to access specially compounded medications.

Coming soon to Canterbury Eyecare

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) for Dry Eye Treatment

Over the last decade Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) has been researched in the treatment of Dry Eye Disease. It has now been established as a leading treatment, is able to be performed by your Optometrist and is safe and minimally invasive. 

The IPL therapy is administered using a device that generates Intense Pulsed Light (flash). The IPL system has been designed to suit many skin types.  The light transmitted on the skin has several actions:

  • It stimulates the parasympathetic nerve and accelerates the metabolism of the Meibomian Glands and lacrimal glands.
  • It reduces skin (i.e. rosacea) and eyelid (i.e. Blepharitis or Demodex) inflammation.

The results of clinical studies on IPL technology have reported:

  • Enhancement of the tear film quality
  • Improvement of many symptoms: sensation of dryness, foreign body sensation in the eye, itchiness, sensation of burning, eyestrain, blurred vision, sensitivity to light, watery eyes, pain.

If you’re interested in learning more about IPL treatment at Canterbury Eyecare please fill in the below form and one of our Optometrists will be contact.

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