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Eye Drops for Dry Eyes

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 Cornea and Contact Institute of Minnesota, 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.

Cornea and Contact Institute of Minnesota serves patients from Edina, Maple Grove, Wayzata, Excelsior, and throughout Minnesota.

REFERENCES

Request A Dry Eye Appointment
Think You Have Dry Eye? Call 952 333 4245

intense light

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.

Radiofrequency Therapy (RF)

Radiofrequency Therapy (RF) is a safe and effective in-office treatment for dry eyes. During the procedure, RF delivers high frequency electrical current to the skin in order to generate heat and stimulate the production of collagen.

This therapy not only melts the thick oil secretions, unclogging the meibomian gland and improving the quality of tears, but also reduces any inflammation around your eyes that may be contributing to your dry eyes.

How Does RF Treatment Work?

During the procedure, your eye doctor will use a RF handheld device to gently massage around your eye using a soothing gel. This sends the electrical current into your skin and creates a warming sensation.

The RF treatment causes no pain or discomfort, and takes on average 30 minutes to complete.

After Your RF 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 Are IPL and RF 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 and RF are 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 Cornea and Contact Institute of Minnesota today.

The Cornea and Contact Institute of Minnesota serves patients from in and around Edina, Maple Grove, Wayzata, and Excelsior and throughout Minnesota.

Request A Dry Eye Appointment
Think You Have Dry Eye? Call 952 333 4245

LipiFlow
Dry Eye Treatment

LipiFlow® is an advanced and effective treatment method that restores your eyes’ natural tear film.

Think You Have Dry Eye? Call 952 333 4245

Request A Dry Eye Appointment

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meibomian glands

How Does LipiFlow Work?


A single 12-minute session can offer significant relief to patients suffering from dry eyes and meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). For optimal results, we recommend you undergo treatment every 9 to 12 months.

Why are Tears So Important?


Tears are important function of healthy, comfortable eyes. When dust or small particles enter the eye, tears can form, which in turn clean the eye while keeping the eye moist. Therefore, when tears evaporate too rapidly and the eyes become dry, it can cause itchy eyes, irritation, and general discomfort.

Think You Have Dry Eye? Call 952 333 4245

Request A Dry Eye Appointment

eye care, why are tears so important

How Do You Assess Whether LipiFlow Is Right for Me?


At the Cornea and Contact Institute of Minnesota Dry Eye Center, we use a number of advanced tools to diagnose Dry Eye Syndrome and formulate a custom treatment plan. Below are a few of the advanced diagnostic tools we use when assessing your Dry Eye Syndrome, which help us decide which treatment plan is best for you, and whether it should include LipiFlow.

LipiView

LipiView is a non-invasive 5-minute eye examination procedure that provides the doctor with an accurate digital picture of a patient’s tear film, including its lipid content and quality. This information helps the eye doctor decide whether the patient requires a LipiFlow procedure or needs to undergo other dry eye therapy treatments.

Dynamic Meibomian Imaging

Dynamic Meibomian Imaging (DMI) combines two innovative imaging technologies: adaptive transillumination and dynamic illumination. Each technology produces its own independent image of the meibomian glands. Both images are then processed, displayed, and combined to provide a more accurate and precise picture of the structure of the meibomian gland. These images allow the optometrist to detect any structural changes or blockages in the meibomian glands.

LipiScan

LipiScan is a non-invasive testing procedure which helps doctors better assess the health and structure of your meibomian glands. LipiScan generates a multidimensional view of the glands and plays a decisive role in diagnosing and treating the symptoms of DES and MGD.

Let’s Put an End to Your Dry Eyes

For more information about our LipiFlow treatment procedure and to find out whether it’s right for you, contact the Cornea and Contact Institute of Minnesota Dry Eye Center today. We will be happy to assess your condition and discuss your options. We provide caring and specialized Dry Eye and Meibomian Gland Dysfunction treatment to patients in Edina, Maple Grove, Wayzata, Excelsior, and throughout Minnesota.

Frequently Asked Questions About Lipiflow

Does LipiFlow have any side effects?


While side effects are rare and minimal, patients may experience burning, stinging, redness, or inflammation. We’ll be happy to address this and any other questions prior to your treatment.

How Much Does LipiFlow Cost?


The cost of LipiFlow varies. It is therefore best to schedule a consultation with our office so that we can quote you the exact price.

Is LipiFlow Covered By Insurance?


Some insurance plans do cover a portion of the costs. However, most insurance plans do not yet cover the cost of LipiFlow. However, we provide our patients with affordable payment solutions and treatment schedules so that you get the relief you need.

How should I prepare for my LipiFlow appointment?


Make sure that you are not wearing contact lenses to the visit. Don’t use artificial tear drops, eyelid creams, or ointments 24 – 48 hours before the appointment, and be sure to remove all eye makeup before the treatment.

Is LipiFlow FDA approved?


Yes. LipiFlow is an FDA approved treatment for moderate to severe Dry Eye Syndrome caused by Meibomian Gland Dysfunction.

Can I drive to a LipiFlow appointment?


Yes, you can drive to your LipiFlow appointment and right after it.

Think You Have Dry Eye? Call 952 333 4245

Request A Dry Eye Appointment

Serving Dry Eye Patients From:

Edina | Maple Grove | Wayzata | Excelsior | and the state of Minnesota