Nearly everyone occasionally has a case of dry eye. These instances are often mild and they usually respond to treatment with over-the-counter (OTC) eye drops. For some people, though, dry eye is a condition that is ongoing. Your optometrist can find the cause of your dry eyes by completing a comprehensive eye exam. During this visit, your doctor will likely measure the volume and quality of your tears. This information will be used to determine the cause of your dry eye.
Treatments for Dry Eye
Determining the cause of your dry eyes is the first step in treating the condition. One common occurrence is that dry eye is a side effect of a medicine you’re taking. If this is the case, changing the medication can help. If your eyelids are inflamed, your optometrist might recommend a topical ointment or eye drops.
Sometimes it’s discovered that a person’s tears are of sufficient quality and volume, but they leave the eyes too fast. If this is the case for your dry eye, your optometrist might recommend closing or plugging your tear ducts completely or partially.
There are two ways an optometrist can plug your eyes. Punctal plugs are tiny plugs made of silicone. One advantage of using punctal plugs is that they can be removed. A more permanent solution uses heat to plug the tear ducts.