Having dry eyes is a painful condition. For some people who have mild symptoms of dry eyes, using over-the-counter eye drops is enough. However, if you have more persistent and serious symptoms of dry eyes, you have some other options. The cause of your dry eyes will determine the treatment for you.
Some treatments focus on treating or managing the cause of your dry eyes. Some treatments can improve the quality of your tears. Other treatments can stop your tears from draining away from your eyes so quickly.
If you have an underlying health issue, then treating that first can help cure the symptoms of your dry eyes. For example, if you are taking a medication that causes your eyes to dry out, your doctor may recommend stopping it. Switching to a different medication that does not cause side effects can be a good option for you.
If you have a condition with your eyelids, you may go to an eye surgeon. For example, out-turning lids can cause your tears to drain away quickly. Surgery can correct the problem with the eyelids. If you have rheumatoid arthritis, you might visit a rheumatologist for help with managing your dry eye symptoms.
Many patients will take medications to help manage dry eyes. Some types of anti-inflammatory drugs may be used. For example, if you have inflammation at the edge of your eyelids, the oil glands may not secrete oil into your tears. Taking antibiotics can reduce inflammation. You will usually take antibiotics by mouth, although sometimes you might have an ointment or eye drops.
Other types of eye drops can control cornea inflammation. You can control inflammation on the surface of your eyes by using an immune-suppressing medication. Corticosteroids are often used for this. However, this is not a good idea to use for the long term. They can cause many negative side effects.
Sometimes, your eye doctor may prescribe artificial tears for you. For example, if you have moderate to severe symptoms, then artificial tears might not help. Getting an eye insert can help. These inserts look like clear grains of rice. It will dissolve slowly in the eye and release a substance that will lubricate your eye.
An eye doctor may also prescribe a drug that stimulates tears. These drugs are known as cholinergic and can increase the production of your own tears. You can get these as gels, eye drops, or pills. However one of the side effects includes excess sweating.
If nothing else helps, then you can get eye drops that are made from part of your blood. These are known as autologous blood serum eye drops. The eye doctor will process a sample of your blood and remove the red blood cells. Then this will be mixed with a solution of salt. This is a good option for people who have severe symptoms that do not respond to anything else.
For more information on dry eye treatment, please contact the knowledgeable team at Eyes on You in Portland, Oregon.