Dry Eye and its Treatments
What is dry eye?
Dry eye syndrome (DES) is a chronic condition that develops when your eyes do not produce and maintain enough tears to keep the eye’s surface lubricated resulting in multiple symptoms that range from person to person. This can be due to a reduction in tear production, increased tear evaporation from a lack of lipid in the tears or the presence of inflammation in and around the eyelids. The effects can range from minor dryness and discomfort to pain, blurred vision and frequent infections.
What are the symptoms of dry eye?
The symptoms of dry eye can vary from person to person, but they can include:
- Dry, itchy eyes
- Burning or stinging eyes
- Red, bloodshot eyes
- Watery eyes
- Swollen eyelids
- Eye fatigue
What causes dry eye?
There are a number of things that can cause dry eye, including:
- Computer use
- Air conditioning
- Low humidity
- Certain medications
- Medical conditions, such as Sjogren's syndrome
How is dry eye treated?
There are a number of treatments available for dry eye, including:
- Over-the-counter lubricants
- Prescription eyedrops (Restasis, Xiidra, Cequa)
- Warm compresses
- Eye massages
- Omega-3 supplements (HydroEye or Omega Advanced. See below)
- Punctal Plugs
- IPL therapy
- LLT therapy
- Lipiflow therapy
What is IPL therapy?
IPL therapy, or intense pulsed light therapy, is a light treatment that can be used to treat a variety of skin conditions, including dry eye. The IPL light helps to improve blood flow to the eyes, which can help to reduce inflammation and improve lubrication.
What is LLT therapy?
Developed by NASA, LLT therapy, or low-level light therapy, is a similar treatment that uses a different type of LED light. LLT has been shown to be effective in treating dry eye symptoms, and it is often used in conjunction with other treatments, such as IPL.
What is Lipiflow therapy?
Lipiflow is a ground breaking technology used to treat dry eye disease caused by Meibomian Gland Dysfunction. The LipiFlow Thermal Pulsation System is designed to open and clear blocked glands which then allows the body to resume the natural production of lipids (oils) needed for the tear film.
Are these therapies safe?
IPL and LLT therapy are generally safe and effective, but they can cause side effects in some people. These side effects can include:
- Mild redness and swelling
- Mild discomfort
What are the benefits of IPL, LLT and Lipiflow therapy?
These can help to improve the following symptoms of dry eye:
- Eye fatigue
What is the success rate of IPL, LLT and Lipiflow therapy?
The success rate varies depending on the individual, but it is generally considered to be effective in treating dry eye symptoms.
How often do I need to have IPL, LLT or Lipiflow therapy?
The number of treatments you need will vary depending on the severity of your dry eye symptoms. Most people will need to have IPL or LLT therapy once every two to three weeks for a total of 4 sessions. Multiple sessions over two to three years will give the best effect. Lipiflow is usually successful after your first 3-4 sessions of LLT and/or IPL.
How much does IPL or LLT therapy cost?
The cost of IPL or LLT therapy will vary depending on the type of treatment. Our doctor will go over treatment options and packages with you on the day of your Dry Eye Evaluation visit.
If you have any questions about dry eye or or any of these therapies, please talk to your doctor.