Dry Eye Syndrome
Dr. Cavanaugh has the training and experience to provide you with optimal dry eye treatment
Dry Eye Syndrome describes a group of conditions that cause inflammation on the surface of your eyes and disrupt your eyes’ tear film. Classically, the term Dry Eye Syndrome is used when your eyes are not producing enough tears (aqueous or water deficient dry eye). Meibomitis (evaporative dry eye) is a secondary cause of Dry Eye Syndrome and is also very common. Meibomitis causes clogging of the tiny oil glands that line your upper and lower eyelids (meibomian glands). If dry eye prevention methods aren’t working for you, Cavanaugh Eye Center provides treatment options that directly reduce Dry Eye and Meibomitis symptoms including vision impairment, pain, blurry vision, and discomfort.
Our treatment options include:
- Over-the-counter products
- Medical therapy
- Supportive therapy
- Dry eye procedures
- Scleral shells as moisture chambers
- Meibomian gland expression
At Cavanaugh Eye Center, we diagnose and treat patients who suffer from a range of dry eye symptoms.
Dry Eye Treatment
Dry eye may be treated with over-the-counter (OTC) products such as artificial tears, gel drops, overnight gels and overnight ointments. Artificial tears are one of the most common treatments for dry eye—some people need to put drops in several times a day while others may need to use them only once a day. Gel drops are a thicker eye drop formulation that creates a protective shield over the eyes for soothing comfort. Overnight gels are designed to provide long-lasting, nighttime protection from dry eye symptoms while you sleep. Overnight ointments form a smooth, protective layer for the eyes that provides long-lasting dry eye symptom relief at night. The benefit of thicker OTC products like gels and ointments is lasting lubrication, however, the disadvantages are blurred vision after application.
If you have mild dry eye symptoms, taking certain supplements might work for you. Omega-3 and omega-6 supplements, including the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), have been studied as a treatment for dry eye and research has found that they can significantly reduce dry eye symptoms.
If you are diagnosed with dry eye, you might experience flares that last from a few days to a few weeks. To topically treat dry eye flares, steroids such as loteprednol etabonate or fluorometholone alcohol can be prescribed. Short-term steroid therapy knocks down the acute inflammatory response quickly and cools the eye.
Topical long-term maintenance treatment might include the use of products such as Restasis®, Xiidra®, or CEQUA™. They all work to help increase your eyes’ natural ability to produce tears by blocking a protein on the surface of cells that can lessen the amount of tears your eyes make or reduce the quality of your tears.
Oral treatments for dry eye include Doxycycline and Azithromycin. Both antibiotics have the added benefit of reducing inflammation around the oil glands of the eyelid in addition to their antibiotic properties, making them ideal for the treatment of eyelid inflammation and dry eyes.
Dry eye symptoms might be caused by inadequate eyelid hygiene. A lid hygiene routine including lid scrubs, warm moist compresses and massage, and/or hypochlorous acid sprays can help you maintain proper lid and lash health. Lid scrubs work by gently clearing bacteria, pollen, and oily debris that’s accumulated at the root of the eyelashes and they also help to soothe inflamed eyelids. With warm compresses, the heat liquifies the clogged oil in the glands and the massaging helps gently express the liquified oil. Hypochlorous acid sprays like Avenova® and Acuicyn™ help manage the bad bacteria on the eyelids that cause red, itchy, and inflamed eyes.
Dry Eye Procedures
Puncta are the tiny openings that drain tears from your eyes. Punctal plugs are tiny devices (about the size of a grain of rice) that are placed in the eye’s tear ducts and stop fluid from draining from the eye. This helps keep the eye’s surface moist and comfortable, relieving itchy, burning, and red eyes.
The meibomian glands in your inner eyelids are responsible for releasing oils that help prevent tears from drying up too fast on your eyes. When there are blockages in the glands, you can end up with dry eyes. Using a technique called Vector Thermal Pulsation technology (such as Lipiflow, iLux, and Thermoflo), gentle heat and pressure is sent to the glands. This massages any blockages and liquefies and clears the obstructions that are causing dry eye symptoms.
For severe and recalcitrant dry eye, amniotic membranes are used. They are ocular grafts that are derived from the innermost layer of the placenta, which is rich in stem cells and can provide a damaged ocular surface with important regenerative properties. The amniotic membrane tissue in PROKERA® has natural therapeutic actions that help damaged eye surfaces heal. It simultaneously reduces inflammation on the surface of the eyes and promotes scarless healing of the cornea.
Scleral Shells as Moisture Chambers
Scleral shell (or shield) is a comprehensive term for different types of rigid gas permeable scleral contact lenses. Scleral shells can be used to provide a moisture bath to the eye’s surface all day long. Scleral lenses are filled with an approved preservative free saline before being applied to the eye. The lens and moisture layer prevent the typical drying effects that occur while your eyes are constantly in contact with the environment. Scleral shells are very effective at treating moderate to severe dry eyes, are comfortable, and can also be used to correct vision.
Get Dry Eye Relief With Cavanaugh Eye Center
Are you tired of dealing with uncomfortable dry eyes? Cavanaugh Eye Center is here to help. Dr. Cavanaugh, Dr. Jaynes, and our entire staff have the experience you want in your eye care team—we are dedicated to providing patients with the best eye care and can help answer all of your questions about dry eyes.
To schedule a consultation, request an appointment online or contact Cavanaugh Eye Center:
Phone: (913) 897-9200