Dry eyes are a common issue and this happens when there is insufficient tear production. Poor quality tears can also lead to this and when you have dry eyes, you will experience burning, redness, irritation or blurred vision.
There are many dry eye solutions that can be used to alleviate your discomfort. There are specific lubricant eye drops that can be used. You need to visit an eye care professional so they can choose the right eye drops depending on the type of tear film imbalance. Liquid based eye drops will help improve the lipid layer which is one of the three primary layers of the tear film. Others are the aqueous or water layer and the mucin layer.
If you have a deficiency in the aqueous layer, there are aqueous based drops that can be used such as artificial tears. Mucin based drops can be used for issues in the mucin layer. Sometimes over-the-counter eye drops will not be effective and you will need to obtain prescription eye drops. For example, if you have an inflammatory condition of the eye, steroid eye drops will be used. This is generally for chronic dry eye that comes with severe inflammation. Inflammation will be reduced as a result of steroid eye drops. If you have a bacterial infection in the eye, there are also antibiotic eye drops that can be used.
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Innovative treatment solutions for dry eye such as LipiFlow thermal pulsation where a combination of heat and pulsating pressure is applying to the eyelids very carefully in a controlled manner. This will help remove any blockages in the Meibomian glands so that their normal function can be restored. Another treatment option is intense pulsed light therapy where bright short sequenced pulses of light will be produced in a very controlled manner.
These will simulate the Meibomian glands so that normal function is restored as a result of oil flow improvement and clearing blockages. This is a treatment that is most used when other therapies have not provided proper relief. A trained eye care professional should perform this. They will also provide personalised nutrition advice that can help you with dry eyes. For example, you need to consume food that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids so that healthy tear production can be facilitated reducing the symptoms of dry eyes. Some food that contains omega-3 fatty acids are walnuts, flaxseeds and salmon.
When dry eyes are caused by Meibomian gland dysfunction?
You will be advised to apply daily hot compresses and carry out lid massages. You can apply the warm compress for about 10-15 minutes on your closed eyelids and this will help soften any hardened oil in the glands. This will make it easier to express the oils. After the compress, you can gently massage the lids to help release the oils and this can help contribute towards improved quality of tears. Sometimes manual expression of the Meibomian glands will need to be done. This should be performed by a healthcare provider that has experience in this procedure.