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Eye Drops for Dry Eyes

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Eye Drops for Dry Eyes: Why You Should See Your Eye Doctor

Effectively managing a health condition like dry eye syndrome (DES) requires a thorough diagnostic and treatment process. So why do so many people find themselves pacing up and down the eye drop aisle at their local drug store, searching for yet another eye drop to ease their symptoms?

Knowing exactly what’s causing your symptoms and how to treat the condition at its source is the only way to attain long-lasting relief. At Total Focus Northgate and Dry Eye Clinic, we do more than just treat the symptoms — we determine the underlying cause of your DES and get to the root of the issue.

Do You Have Dry Eye Syndrome?

DES is a progressive eye condition that affects over 20 million North Americans annually. It is caused by either poor tear quality or insufficient tears.

The most common cause of poor tear quality is a condition called Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), a blockage of the meibomian glands — the tiny glands at the edge of the eyelids that secrete an oily film into your tears.

Some medical conditions that can cause decreased tear production include Sjogren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, scleroderma, thyroid conditions, and lupus. Aging and a vitamin A deficiency can also lower tear production.

Symptoms of DES range from mildly uncomfortable to debilitating, and can include:

  • Red eyes
  • Dry eyes
  • Painful or irritated eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Itchy eyes
  • Fatigued eyes
  • Burning eyes
  • Blurred vision

DES can make it difficult for the eye to flush out foreign bodies, so sand, grit and allergens sometimes get stuck in the eye.

Why Do People Use Over-the-Counter (OTC) Eye Drops?

beautiful eyesGiven how uncomfortable dry eye symptoms can be, it’s no surprise that dry eye sufferers seek relief using over-the-counter drops. People with DES may not realize that they should visit their eye doctor rather than seek solutions on their own.

Some eye doctors recommend using OTC eye drops to temporarily treat mild symptoms until the condition naturally heals. For example, after an eye injury or surgery, many find that lubricating eye drops soothe the eyes and provide moisture.

But not all eye drops are created equal. People with mild to moderate cases of DES who seek relief from OTC solutions may be choosing the wrong types of drops or dosage for their eyes.

The three main categories of non-prescription eye drops are:

  • Lubricating eye drops/artificial tears
  • Antihistamine eye drops
  • Redness-reducing eye drops

Masking a mild case of DES by using redness-reducing eye drops (also called decongestant eye drops) won’t address the underlying source of the redness. In fact, decongestant eye drops have been shown to exacerbate DES symptoms in the long run.

What’s more, your eyes can eventually become [desensitized] to the effects of OTC eye drops after repeated use. This eventually leads people back to the drugstore in search of even stronger eye drops, perpetuating the never-ending “eye drop cycle.”

End the Vicious Eye Drop Cycle

Experiencing continual eye irritation indicates the need for professional eye care. An optometrist will isolate the cause of your DES and use their expertise to find the most effective treatment for lasting relief.

Even if you have a mild case of dry eye syndrome, now is the perfect time to start treatment, before symptoms worsen. If you’ve sought help in the past but were told nothing else could be done to treat your eye condition, speak with our optometrists regarding the latest and most effective dry eye treatments.

If you’re ready to end the cycle of getting over-the-counter eye drops without lasting relief, contact our optometrists for a dry eye evaluation.

Our practice serves patients from Edmonton, Sherwood Park, Fort Saskatchewan, and Parkland County, Alberta and surrounding communities.

REFERENCES

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Scleral Lenses for Dry Eye Syndrome

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Scleral Lenses for Dry Eye Syndrome

Those with dry eye syndrome (DES) suffer from eyes that feel dry, itchy, uncomfortable, irritated and at times very painful. Eye drops and artificial tears can deliver relief but are no more than a temporary solution. Eventually, patients with chronic dry eyes seek out more durable methods of treatment.

Scleral lenses are an excellent solution due to their large shape, unique features, and customized fitting for each patient. Though generally used to treat corneal irregularities and refractive errors, scleral lenses can also provide immense relief to dry eye patients.

Scleral lenses tackle three factors simultaneously: they provide vision correction, they protect the eye, and they serve a therapeutic purpose by lubricating the eye. Scleral lenses decrease pain, discomfort, eye redness, and itchiness while providing sharp, clear vision.

What Are Scleral Lenses?

Cornea With Scleral Lens 1280×853Scleral lenses provide relief and visual rehabilitation to patients with dry eyes and corneal irregularities. These custom designed lenses vault over the cornea and rest on the sclera while avoiding the cornea. The liquid reservoir between the lens and the cornea provides a continuous moist environment that protects the cornea and provides relief for those with dry eyes.

Because these lenses are oxygen permeable, they provide the wearer with better comfort and a healthy cornea. In fact, their ability to transmit oxygen reduces eye problems, such as dry eyes, caused by diminished oxygen transmission to the cornea, which is common among most soft lens’ brands or hard (non-GP) lenses.

If you have Dry Eyes and are interested in scleral lenses, our optometrists can help. Experienced in fitting scleral lenses for dry eyes and other corneal conditions, Total Focus Northgate and Dry Eye Clinic serves patients from all over Edmonton, Sherwood Park, Fort Saskatchewanand Parkland County, in the state of Alberta.

Why Scleral Lenses Offer Relief to Those with Dry Eye Syndrome

Contact Lenses You Can Wear With Dry Eyes

Traditional soft contact lenses are not an option for those with dry eyes, as the lenses sit right on the cornea, which can be very irritating for dry eye patients. Moreover, they tend to act as sponges, soaking up the moisture from the surface of the eye. Wearing soft contact lenses can, therefore, prove to be virtually unbearable for the dry eye patient.

Scleral lenses, on the other hand, are comfortable since they vault over the cornea and rest on the sclera, thus avoiding the sensitive cornea.

eye blue woman 1280x853

Scleral Lenses Provide Continuous Eye Hydration

The zone between the surface of the cornea and the scleral lens is filled with a saline solution. This acts as a constant source of hydration for the eye and provides ongoing relief for the dry eye patient.

Scleral Lenses Soothe and Protect the Cornea

People with dry eyes tend to have sensitive corneas that are prone to injury. The simple act of blinking can irritate the eye or even injure the cornea due to the mechanical friction of the eyelids on the cornea. Scleral lenses prevent damage to the cornea by shielding the patient’s eyes from the friction caused by blinking and protecting it from any external irritants or dust.

If you struggle with dry eye syndrome and have been looking for a more effective treatment method beyond eyedrops and artificial tears, ask our optometrists about scleral lenses. We will patiently assess and explain your condition to you, and will perform a specialized, scleral lens custom-fitting to ensure that you receive the best fit for optimal visual clarity and comfort.

Call Total Focus Northgate and Dry Eye Clinic today to schedule your consultation today.

Our practice serves patients from Edmonton, Sherwood Park, Fort Saskatchewan, and Parkland County, Alberta and surrounding communities.
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Vitamins and Foods 1280

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Vitamins and Foods That Relieve Dry Eye Syndrome

Approximately 16 million Americans have dry eye syndrome. Symptoms of dry eye—other than the obvious eye dryness—include grittiness, burning, irritation and difficulty reading or looking at a screen for long periods of time. Studies have shown that certain foods help the eyes stay properly hydrated.

Specific vitamins, fatty acids and trace elements are good not only for our overall health but also for our tear film.

Omega Fatty Acids For Dry Eye

Omega fatty acids are responsible for forming the stabilizing oil layer in the tear film. If this outer layer of the lubricating film is disrupted, it can lead to dry eye symptoms like burning, redness and itchiness. In addition, omega fatty acids have an anti-inflammatory effect.

Foods high in omega fatty acids include:

  • Fish. cod, mackerel, salmon, trout
  • Meat. red meat, pork liver
  • Oils. canola oil, rapeseed oil, sunflower oil, walnut oil,
  • Other animal products. cheese, eggs

Vitamins for Dry Eye

Below is a list of vitamins that help with dry eye and boosts general eye health.

  • Vitamin A (retinol) helps protect the surface of the eye. Vitamin A deficiency, which usually occurs in developing countries, can cause an increase in dry eye. By adding foods rich in Vitamin A, like carrots, pumpkins, apricots, spinach, tomatoes, dairy products and liver, you can prevent the development of this condition.
  • Vitamin B2 protects your eyes from cell damage. It is found in broccoli, avocados, dairy products and whole-grain products.
  • Vitamin B6 is needed for a healthy tear film. Foods such as kale, potatoes, goose, mackerel, salmon and sardines contain high doses of vitamin B6.
  • Vitamin B12 is also important for lubricating the eyes. It’s typically found in mackerel, beef liver, calf’s liver and pork liver. It is also found in dairy products and eggs, though in smaller amounts.
  • Vitamin C protects against oxidative stress and plays an important role in maintaining a functioning tear film. It can be found in peppers, broccoli, rosehip, acerola berries and brussels sprouts.
  • Vitamin E is necessary to protect your eyes against cell damage as well as dry eye. This vitamin is prominently found in sunflower oil, mackerel, wheat germ oil, peppers, spinach, mangos and redcurrants.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin

Lutein and zeaxanthin are antioxidants that help cells function correctly and stay healthy. They help prevent many chronic eye diseases, including dry eye syndrome. Foods rich in these antioxidants include leafy greens like romaine lettuce, kale and spinach. They are also available as supplements.

Zinc for Eye Health

Zinc plays an important role in keeping your eyes healthy. This mineral is responsible for getting vitamin A from your liver to your retina and produces melanin, a pigment that protects your eyes. Dairy, whole grains, nuts, sweetcorn, peas and lentils are all excellent sources of zinc.

Drink Water to Hydrate Your Eyes

Lastly, drink water. While it may seem obvious, many of us forget to drink enough water. Staying hydrated can help improve eye comfort and is vital for your kidneys, bowels and radiant-looking skin.

Eating healthy and staying hydrated helps to ensure your eyes get the vitamins and minerals they need. So go ahead and protect your vision, improve eye health and relieve your dry eye symptoms by adding these nutrients to your diet. However, remember to always consult your eye doctor before taking any supplements.

Contact Total Focus Northgate and Dry Eye Clinic to learn more and to explore our effective and lasting treatments to relieve your dry eyes so you can live your best life.

Our practice serves patients from Edmonton, Sherwood Park, Fort Saskatchewan, and Parkland County, Alberta and surrounding communities.
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Intense Pulsed Light Therapy (IPL)

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Therapy is among the more groundbreaking treatments for dry eye and styes. This in-office treatment uses specific wavelengths of light to reduce inflammation around the eyes, enabling oil-producing meibomian glands to better lubricate the eyes and significantly reduce unpleasant dry eye symptoms.

How Does IPL Treatment Work?

The primary cause of dry eye syndrome is Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD), which occurs when the oil-producing meibomian glands are clogged up and unable to produce a healthy tear film. The oil is crucial as it stops your tear film from evaporating too rapidly.

During the IPL procedure, the heat emanating from the light helps liquify and release oils that have hardened and clogged the meibomian glands in the eyelids, thus reducing blockages that cause dry eye symptoms and improving the quality of your tears.

IPL Treatment

We start your IPL treatment by placing shields over your eyes to protect them from the light pulses. Following that, a thin layer of cooling gel is applied to the treatment area and a small device administers the pulses of light to the region around the eyelids, which then dislodge oil buildup.

After administering IPL, our optometrists will express oil from the glands, which will restore normal oil flow in the tear film. Though patients usually notice an improvement in dry eye symptoms following their first or second treatment, it is generally recommended they undergo monthly IPL treatments over a period of 4 months. This ensures long-term success in treating both chronic dry eye syndrome and Meibomian Gland Dysfunction.

After IPL Treatment

While certain patients notice immediate improvements in their dry eye symptoms, it generally takes a series of treatments to experience drastic change.

Following the treatment, you may experience blurred vision for several days. There is no reason for concern, as it indicates that your meibomian glands are expressing more oil than your eyes are accustomed to. Aside from this, no downtime is required and you should be able to return to your daily activities right after the treatment.

How Is IPL Different From Other Dry Eye Treatments?

Standard dry eye treatments, such as eye drops, artificial tears, hot compresses, and eyelid scrubs, aim to temporarily relieve symptoms instead of treating the root cause of the condition. IPL is unique in that they each target the source – the blood vessels surrounding the glands — enabling them to secrete oils naturally and resume their moisturizing function. This not only relieves symptoms but also slows the progression of chronic dry eye.

If you have tried various treatments and still struggle with unpleasant dry eye symptoms, we can help. Contact Total Focus Northgate and Dry Eye Clinic today.

Our practice serves patients from Edmonton, Sherwood Park, Fort Saskatchewan, and Parkland County, Alberta and surrounding communities.
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