Although it’s a small issue, dry eye can certainly be annoying. Here are a few causes and facts about dry eye.
- Dry eye is more prevalent in colder months (when the heater is running a lot), plus the air is usually more dry in the winter.
- Live next to Clark Griswold? Staring at Christmas lights can also cause dry eye similar to staring at a computer, book, or phone. The fact is, we blink 30-40% less when looking at computer/book/phone (and Christmas lights), which causes the tear film to break down quicker, resulting in dry eye.
- You can use Flexible Spending dollars on OTC drops for dry eye (might be good to stock up before Jan. 1st). You can do this only with a written prescription from your doctor (even though it is OTC). Feel free to ask your doctor for a written “prescription” for OTC drops.
- Symptoms of dry eye include: dryness, watering, itching, light sensitivity, blurry vision, feeling like there’s something in the eyes, burning, and many more! Many people do not realize that watering is one of the most common symptoms of dry eye (counter-intuitive).
- There are four levels of dry eye, ranging from mild to very severe. Levels 1 & 2 can usually be managed fairly well with OTC drops, while more aggressive treatment is used for Levels 2-4. More aggressive treatment can include prescription medicine (e.g., Restasis), punctal plugs, and LipiFlow.
- Dry eye is thought to be an inflammatory process. Omega-3 and fish oil supplements can help reduce inflammation. Drinking a lot of water is also important. Using warm compresses and lid massages can also be an effective way to manage dry eye. Talk to your eye doctor to find out what would be best for you.
- Restasis is a prescription medicine that has been shown to treat dry eye. Restasis is an anti-inflammatory medicine that helps increase tear production and quality. Ask your doctor for more information and if you are a candidate for Restasis. Generally, if you are using OTC drops more than 2-3 times/day, you should consider using Restasis. Restasis has good coverage through most all medical insurances.
- Punctal plugs are small medical devices that can be put in the drainage duct where the tears drain out, preventing drainage and allowing tears to stay in the eye longer, providing more moisture. We can do this procedure in the office fairly quickly.
- LipiFlow is a new procedure that we offer that can have a big impact on dry eye, specifically targeting the meibomian glands of the eyelids (meibomian glands produce the oil that is part of the tear film). Dr. Martin is one of the only doctors in the area doing this procedure.
- Not all OTC drops are created equal!! Don’t just use anything in your eyes, be sure to ask your doctor which is the best drop for you.
Johnson Optometric has two convenient eye care locations to serve you. Our Fuquay Eye Care location is located at 1340 North Main Street Fuquay Varina, NC and our Garner Eye Care location is located at 918 7th Avenue.