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Your eyes get drier in the winter, just like your skin. If your eyes are feeling gritty, red, or irritated lately, chances are they’re getting drier as the colder weather sets in. “The amount of tears on the surface of the eye is a function of how much is being secreted versus how much either drains or evaporates,” he explains. “When the air is drier, evaporation happens faster.” He suggests running a humidifier in your bedroom, lubricating the eyes with artificial tears, and drinking a lot of water to stay hydrated.
Dry eye syndrome is a chronic and typically progressive condition. Depending on its cause and severity, it may not be completely curable. But in most cases, dry eyes can be managed successfully, usually resulting in noticeably greater eye comfort, fewer dry eye symptoms, and sometimes sharper vision as well.
Slave Lake area is known as one of the driest region of the Canadian Prairies So it should be no surprise that dry eye is epidemic in Slave Lake. The Dry Eye Clinic Service is part of The Spectrum Slave Lake Eye Care Clinic. Our practice offers world class treatment for dry eye and ocular surface disease. Dry eye and Ocular Surface Disease has long been a passion of Dr. Carolina Navarrete. She has extensive experience in managing dry eye especially in conjunction with systemic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid problems, Sjogren's syndrome and lupus as well as eye conditions like glaucoma that often are associated with dry eye.
Because dry eye disease can have a number of causes, a variety of treatment approaches are used.
New insight into the causes of dry eye, particularly the importance of normal meibomian gland function and the role of evaporative dry eye (especially bad in Regina’s arid environment) have increased the number and success of treatment options. We now can offer our patients a variety of therapies that didn’t exist only a few years ago. Dry eye is a complex disorder than can be difficult to properly diagnose and manage. The disorder can range from mildly annoying to completely disabling and life-altering.
The following is a list of dry eye treatments that are commonly used by eye doctors to reduce the signs and symptoms of dry eyes. Your eye doctor may recommend only one of these dry eye treatments or a combination of treatments, depending on the cause(s) and severity of your condition.
Also, some eye doctors will have you complete a questionnaire about your symptoms prior to initiating dry eye treatment. Your answers to this survey are then used as a baseline, and the questionnaire may be administered again after several weeks of treatment to evaluate the effectiveness of the chosen treatment approach.
Successful treatment of dry eyes requires that you are willing to follow your doctor's recommendations and that you use the products he or she recommends consistently and as frequently as directed.
For mild cases of dry eyes caused by computer use, reading, schoolwork and other situational causes, the best dry eye treatment may simply be frequent use of artificial tears or other lubricating eye drops.
Artificial tears usually are the first step in dry eye treatment.
There are many brands of artificial tears that are available without a prescription. The challenge with using artificial tears is not lack of product availability — it's the confusing number of brands and formulations available to choose from.
Artificial tears and other over-the-counter (OTC) lubricating eye drops are available in a wide variety of ingredients and viscosity ("thickness").
Artificial tears with low viscosity are "light" and watery. They often provide quick relief with little or no blurring of your vision when you apply them. But often their soothing effect is very short-lived, and sometimes you must use these drops very frequently to get adequate dry eye relief.
On the other hand, artificial tears that have a high viscosity are more gel-like and can provide longer-lasting lubrication. But typically these drops cause significant blurring of your vision for several minutes immediately after you apply them. For this reason, these drops often are not a good choice for use during your work day or when you need immediate clear vision for tasks such as driving. Instead, high-viscosity artificial tears are recommended only for bedtime use.
Also, the ingredients in certain brands of artificial tears may determine which type of dry eye condition they are better suited for. For example, one brand might work better for aqueous-deficiency dry eyes, while another brand may be more effective for an evaporative dry eye condition.
If your eye doctor recommends that you use one or more brands or formulations of artificial tears, be sure to follow the directions he or she gives you concerning when and how often you use the drops. Also, do not substitute different brands from those your eye doctor recommends. Using a different brand or multiple brands of artificial tears will make it difficult to assess the success of the dry eye treatment your doctor recommended.
Instead of OTC artificial tears (or in addition to them), your eye doctor might recommend daily use of a prescription eye drop called Restasis (Allergan) for your dry eye treatment.
Restasis does more than simply lubricate the surface of your eye. It includes an agent that reduces inflammation associated with dry eye syndrome and helps your body produce more natural tears to keep your eyes moist, comfortable and healthy.
It's important to know, however, that the therapeutic effect of Restasis is not immediate. You must use the drops daily for a minimum of 90 days to experience the full benefits of this dry eye treatment.
A significant percentage of people who try Restasis will experience burning eyes early during the first few weeks of treatment.
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