Common Medical Solutions for Dry Eye Disease
Every now and then, we may all experience a temporary bout of dry eyes. Itching and watering may occur, and it may feel as though something is in the eye. For temporary dry eyes, artificial tears or a little extra humidity in the environment may solve the problem. However, research is discovering that millions of people suffer chronically from dry eye disease. When the condition is not diagnosed and treated properly, it may progress and become quite uncomfortable. At the Eye Institute of Houston, we work with individual patients to tailor a treatment program to their specific condition.
The intent of treatment is to improve comfort by reducing the symptoms caused by irritation. Sometimes, visual acuity also improves as the eyes become better lubricated and less inflamed. In order to determine the approach that should produce the desired outcome, we perform a thorough consultation in which medical history and lifestyle are discussed. Additionally, the eyes are examined to investigate the suspected cause of dry eyes. From the data collected, we can determine which type of treatment may be successful.
Commercially made artificial tears tend to achieve positive results in temporary cases of dry eye that result from eye strain. Many products are available without a prescription. However, not all products are the same. Some may contain a saline solution, while others have additional ingredients that increase viscosity to better coat the eye. To determine the right product for your needs, it is beneficial to consult with your physician.
Where commercial eye drops are formulated to lubricate the eyes, prescription medications also seek to reduce inflammation in the tissues of the eye. The active ingredients in medicated eye drops also encourage the eyes to naturally produce more tears over time. Typically, prescription drops must be used daily for about 90 days to achieve this goal. Additional forms of prescription eye drops include steroids, which are used to reduce significant inflammation. Steroidal drops are a short-term prescription that can be combined with other prescription drops or commercial artificial tears.
Dry eye disease may be exacerbated by a number of factors. In conjunction with medical care, patients can learn how to protect their eyes with healthy lifestyle habits such as being mindful about blinking frequently or taking periodic breaks from computer use.