What are the Advanced Treatments for Dry Eyes?
My previous posts discussed the very basic beginnings of dry eye treatment. Every person has a unique reason, or combination of reasons why they have dry eye and the best treatment options will come from visiting your optometrist or ophthalmologist.
If you have been extremely diligent with basic treatments and still find no relief read on below for the basic explanations on more advanced treatments that are available:
Restasis / XIIDRA eye drops
Ophthalmological staple Restasis (Allergan), and the new-to-the-market Xiidra (Shire) both decrease ocular inflammation which contributes to more severe dry eye. They are prescription drops that are inserted twice a day.
Steroid eye drops
Steroid eye drops are used for a short period of time to reduce the inflammation which leads to dry eye. Steroid eye drops may have side effects that need to be closely monitored but can be extremely effective at lowering inflammation.
Serum tears use your personalized blood plasma to deliver growth factors and nutrients to the eye. This option is pricier but can also be very effective for more severe dry eye cases.
Meibomian gland treatments
There are multiple companies that produce a tool, used by your optometrist or ophthalmologist as an in-office treatment, that heats the oil glands (meibomian glands) in your lids and allows for a rapid and dramatic unblocking of oil glands. The oil production is crucial in preventing our tears from evaporating off our eyes.
Doxycycline oral medication
Doxycycline is an oral antibiotic pill, used for a finite period of time, that inhibits inflammation and stabilizes the lipid (oil) layer of the tear film.
Amniotic Membrane Placement
Amniotic membranes are thin pieces of preserved amniotic tissue that are placed on the eye and removed about 5 days to a week later. This tissue provides nutrients to the front of the eye, aides in extreme healing and reduction of inflammation.
Scleral lenses are a type of contact lens that, instead of resting on the cornea, bear their weight on the white portion, or sclera, of the eye. Between the cornea and the lens is a reservoir of sterile saline solution. This keeps the surface of the cornea moisturized throughout the whole day.
Scheduling an evaluation with your eye doctor is the best way to find out which treatments may benefit you the most.
This post concludes my series on dry eyes. It’s been a pleasure to share my knowledge with the MeMD community.
Dr. Caitlin Morrison, OD, FAAO, FSLS, is an optometrist at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai in Manhattan. She specializes in treating advanced corneal diseases and management with specialty contact lenses.