Dry eye can be a frustrating medical condition to treat. The mainstay of dry eye treatment is using artificial tears. This is the most basic form of dry eye treatment. However, for some patients, using artificial tears may not be desirable. Some people have difficulty putting drops into their eye. Or, when they do attempt to put eye drops in, they miss and the drops do not make it to the surface of their eye. Luckily there are ways to treat dry eye without using artificial tears.
1. Nose Spray For Dry Eye
Do your eyes water when you are about to sneeze? The nerve inside the nose can be stimulated through vibration and this can help your eyes to produce more tears. Nasal nerve stimulation can be done through a nasal spray or through a device that vibrates to stimulate the nasal nerve. Both of these interventions must be prescribed. If you are interested in this, make an appointment with your local ophthalmologist.
2. Intense Pulsed Light Therapy Dry Eye
The majority of dry eye disease is due to a problem with the tiny glands that are found in patient’s eyelids. These glands are called the meibomian glands. They are responsible for producing the lipid or fatty layer of the tear film. This fatty layer is important because it prevents tears from evaporating from the eyes. Light therapy for dry eye or IPL therapy can help to improve dry eye by helping the meibomian glands to function properly. IPL treatment is not covered by insurance, so it is an out of pocket expense for many patients.
3. Blepharitis And Dry Eye
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Blepharitis is a condition of the eyelids where the meibomian glands are disrupted. As mentioned above, this disrupts the tear film. The majority of dry eye is due to MGD dysfunction so treating blepharitis can be helpful in many cases. This can be done with IPL as well as warm compresses and lid scrubs. If you have Demodex blepharitis it is a good idea to also use eyelid wipes that specifically target Demodex blepharitis.
4. Punctal Plugs For Dry Eye
The tears of the eyes are made in the lacrimal gland. They wash over the eye and exit through a small hole in the upper and lower eyelids. These are called the eyelid puncta. Punctal plugs are very small plugs that can be placed into the puncta of the eyelids to prevent the tears from draining out too quickly. They are usually made of collagen and they dissolve over a few months time. Your ophthalmologist can place these for you. Typically, your eye doctor will want you to try using artificial tears regularly before punctal plugs are placed. However for some patients who are unable to place tears in their eyes, these can be a great way to relieve dry eyes.
Summary: How To Treat Dry Eye Without Drops
There are several options to treat dry eye without using artificial tears. However, most doctors will recommend that you also use artificial tears along with some of the above treatments as this will help you get more dry eye relief.