You Have Options For Dry Eye Treatment in Detroit
A Common Condition
Dry eye is a condition caused by reduced tear production or rapid evaporation of tears from the surface of the eye. It is one of the commonest eye conditions and one that often tends to be overlooked or undertreated.
The symptoms of dry eye are a gritty feeling in the eye, a feeling like something is stuck in the eye, burning, itching, redness, and light sensitivity. Excess watering of the eye is also a symptom of dryness, which many patients are surprised to know. The eye responds to irritation by producing more tears, but the tears produced have too much water and not enough oil in them so they provide only very temporary relief. Patients with dry eyes also may not be able to tolerate wearing contact lenses.
The commonest cause of dry eye is reduction of tear production associated with aging. Women are typically more affected than men. Rheumatologic diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis are strongly associated with dry eye. LASIK vision correction is also a common cause of temporary dry eyes. Dry eye associated with LASIK is rarely permanent.
The initial treatment of dry eye is replacing the missing moisture on the eye with artificial tears. There are many types of artificial tears and ointments available over-the-counter. Standard bottles of tears for mild to moderate dryness are the mainstay of treatment. Nonpreserved tears, which come in small vials instead of large bottles, are helpful for patients who are sensitive to preservatives or who have just had LASIK vision correction. A thicker tear or ointment is also helpful at bedtime for more severe cases to lubricate the eye overnight.
If artificial tears alone do not provide relief, two options are available. Small inserts called punctal plugs can be placed in the tear ducts near the corner of the eye to reduce the drainage of tears out of the eye. This increases the amount of tears on the eye and therefore improves the symptoms. Punctal plugs are easily inserted in the office during a regular office visit. Although initially there may be a feeling like something is in the corner of the eye, this usually resolves after 2-3 days and most patients find the plugs greatly improve their dryness.
The second option is a medicated eye drop called Restasis®. Restasis® improves the production of tears and the quality of the tears by the tear gland. It is placed in the eye twice daily for 3-6 months.
Dr. Michelle Akler of Akler Eye Center in Dearborn and Sterling Heights, MI has over 14 years of experience treating dry eyes. Dr. Akler and her experienced staff will perform a thorough examination and make specific treatment recommendations based on your symptoms and findings.