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Treatment of Dry Eye

Dry eyes is a common eye problem. Most people suffer from mild dry eyes and can be managed with simple eye drops. But excessive dryness can lead to serious eye problems. It can scar the cornea, impairing vision and damaging the tissues. Significant dryness can lead to greater chance of infection, breakdown of the corneal barriers and perforation of the cornea.

Dry eye syndrome is an ongoing condition, often with a vicious cycle of inflammation, that can be cured or not depending on the causes for the dry eye. However, the effects of dryness, scratching and burning can be managed. Applying artificial tears and ointments typically treats dry eyes. These give temporary relief, but usually do not arrest or reverse damage to the eye.

Some simple steps can be adopted to reduce symptoms in minor dry eye

  • Try artificial tears, available as either drops or ointment. Ointments last longer but are thicker and can cause blurry vision.
  • Don't smoke. Avoid second-hand smoke, direct wind, and air conditioning.
  • Use a humidifier, especially in the winter.
  • Purposefully blink more often. Rest your eyes.

If the dry eye is caused by environmental factors, use of sunglasses during outdoors can reduce exposure to sun, wind, and dust. Indoors, an air cleaner can filter out dust and other particles from the air, while a humidifier adds moisture to air that's too dry because of air conditioning or heating.

The frequency of dry eye medications or tear substitutes is usually dependant on the severity of your condition. For mild cases, one or 2 drops a day may suffice, for severe cases even hourly instillation may be needed. Your doctor will generally decide the timing of your tear substitute; e.g., you may need them just after a journey in the dust or after watching TV or Computer for a long time etc.

Temporary or permanent silicone plugs in the lacrimal (tear) ducts keep tears in your eye from draining away as quickly thus retaining for longer periods of time.

Dry eye caused by "meibomitis" (the infection and inflammation of oil glands in the eyelids) can be treated with antibiotics such as tetracycline. Contact lens may also be a cause of dry eyes, which can be cured by switching off to a different lens or wearing time of the lens should be minimized. In a few cases, it is recommended that contact lens wear be discontinued altogether until the dry eye problem is cleared up.

If medications are the cause of dry eyes, discontinuing the drug generally resolves the problem. But in this case, the benefits of the drug must be weighed against the side effect of dry eyes. Sometimes switching to a different type of medication alleviates the dry eye symptoms while keeping the needed treatment. Switching of drugs should ideally be a combined decision of the ophthalmologist and the treating physician.

Adding Immunomodulator medicines to reduce ocular surface inflammation and break the cycle that worsens dry eye is often helpful. These medicines may be in the form of a short course of steroid eye drops or a longer course of medicines such as Cyclosporine, Lifitegrast or Chloroquine eye drops. The latter drops can often be used for years safely.
Sometimes recommend special nutritional supplements for dry eyes. Studies have found that supplements containing certain essential fatty acids (Linoleic and Gamma-Linolenic) can decrease dry eye symptoms.

Dry eye patients commonly face other problems as well:

  • Nasal or sinus congestion, post nasal drip, and sneezing
  • Allergy and hay fever symptoms
  • Middle ear congestion
  • Chronic coughing
  • Headaches

Dry eye treatment may require a multidisciplinary approach using coordinated treatment between the ophthalmologist, immunologist and the treating physician.

About Advanced Eye Hospital and Institute:
Advanced Eye Hospital and Institute in Navi Mumbai is one of the best eye hospitals in Mumbai.  Eye check-up rooms and the operation theatres are state-of-art and equipped with the best diagnostic and surgery machines. Personalised care, infection free modular operation theatres and beautiful ambience complement the cutting-edge eye care offered at AEHI. Besides treating patients from Kharghar, Nerul, Vashi and Panvel, patients from all over western India travel to AEHI for world class eye care management.

About Dr. Neeraj Israni:
Dr. Neeraj Israni is a Cataract and Refractive surgeon. He is trained from the best eye institutes of the country. He is a very diligent eye specialist and researcher. Other eye doctors appreciate him not just for his clinical skills but other skills like video making etc. He has won numerous national and international awards.