If you’ve ever experienced discomfort from dry eyes, you know how it can affect your daily life. From symptoms such as a burning sensation to irritation and blurry vision, it’s not something you want to deal with on a regular basis.
What can start off as mild symptoms can quickly change and worsen with increased screen time, new medications, and systemic issues.
During an eye exam, we can evaluate your eye health to determine the cause of your dry eyes and recommend the appropriate treatment plan to help you find relief.
Understanding Dry Eye Disease
Dry eye disease typically occurs when your eyes can’t produce enough tears to keep them lubricated, or your tears evaporate too quickly.
Your natural tear film consists of 3 layers, water, oil, and mucus, that help keep your eyes lubricated, protect against foreign materials, help tears stick to your eye, and create a smooth surface. There are several factors that can result in insufficient tears or an imbalance in your tear film, including:
- Medical conditions
- Certain medications
- Hormone changes
- Environmental factors
- Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD)
- Digital eye strain
- Contact lens wear
- Eye surgery (LASIK, Cataracts)
Dry eye usually affects both eyes although symptoms can be asymmetric and fluctuate throughout the year and can include the following symptoms:
- Eye irritation
- Fluctuating vision
- Burning or stinging sensations
- Foreign object sensations in your eyes
- Blurred vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Watery eyes
- Difficulty wearing contact lenses
During the comprehensive dry eye evaluation, the doctor will review your ocular history, medical history, current and past medications and your concerns. Using state of the art technology, we will image tear film quality, quantity and structure of the meibomian glands to confirm the cause of dry eye disease.
How Eye Masks Can Help with Dry Eye
There are several studies that show eye masks can be effective for treating MGD, which is a leading cause of dry eye disease.
Heated eye masks can provide dry eye relief to areas around the eyes, and the warmth can help unclog oil glands and increase the flow of oils to the eyes, preventing evaporation and alleviating dryness and irritation.
While you can use eye masks as an at-home treatment option for mild dry eyes, you should speak to your eye doctor about which eye masks are safe for at-home use, and be sure to follow any instructions you receive carefully to ensure you use the mask correctly.
For moderate to severe dry eyes, the heat mask needs to reach a specific ideal temperature and be placed properly to prevent damage to the skin on your eyelids, which can be hard to do at home and without direction from your eye doctor. For these reasons, it can be safer to receive dry eye treatment from your eye doctor for moderate to severe dry eyes.
Treatment for Dry Eye
While there is no cure for chronic dry eyes, once we have determined the underlying cause, we can offer various in-office treatments for dry eye relief.
Other forms of at-home dry eye relief can include:
- Using artificial tears
- Using a cool mist humidifier
- Limiting screen time
- Avoiding smoke, wind, and dry air
- Using wrap-around sunglasses when outdoors
Dry eye treatment is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Treatment should be individualized to your specific needs. In addition to artificial tears, we can offer in-office dry eye therapies to provide a long-term solution for chronic dry eyes.
OptiLight by Lumenis
OptiLight by Lumenis is a light-based, non-invasive treatment done in the area below the eyes to manage dry eye. The first and only IPL FDA-approved for dry eye management.
The treatment is safe, gentle, and is backed by more than 20 clinical studies.
OptiLight uses precise pulses of light to reduce the inflammation that is typically associated with dry eye disease, improve tear break-up time, and increase meibomian gland functionality.
This application can significantly relieve dry eye indicators and has a multi-factorial effect, including:
- Increasing tear break-up time
- Reducing the amount of demodex mites and bacteria living around your eyes
- Eliminating blood vessels that contribute to inflammation
- Improving meibomian gland functionality
TempSure Envi treatments use a handheld device with radiofrequency to apply gentle heat that can help melt the thick oil blocking meibomian glands. TempSure Envi can also be effective for treating fine lines and improving skin elasticity.
BlephEx can help treat eyelid inflammation and promote good eyelid hygiene to treat and prevent dry eyes. Using a handheld device fitted with a sponge, we can gently remove bacteria and debris buildup from your eyelids to support your eyelid hygiene and promote healthy tear production.
Zocular Eyelid System Treatment (ZEST)
ZEST is a more gentle alternative to BlephEx. It uses a patented okra-based solution to lift and remove biofilm, demodex and blepharitis from the eyelid margin that contribute to inflammation, dryness, redness and flaky skin.
iLux treatments involve using a handheld device to help treat evaporative dry eyes when your tears lack oil. Heat and gentle compression from the device can help unclog meibomian glands by melting the thick oil and helping release it. One iLux treatment can be completed relatively quickly.
Effective Treatments for Dry Eye Relief
If you’re considering using an eye mask for dry eye relief, speak with our eye care team first to determine whether it’s the right option. For a comprehensive treatment plan, book an appointment with Bella Vision and learn how we can provide targeted dry eye relief.