Dry eye is a problem that millions of Americans suffer from. It’s uncomfortable and leads to itching, burning eyes, as well as eye fatigue. It’s estimated that up to 15% of the population struggles with the issue – so much that Google reports that the search term “dry eye syndrome” doubled between 2010 and 2020.
The condition leads to so much more than discomfort. It can cause eye redness, problems with light sensitivity and make it harder to drive at night. Causes of dry eyes can come from hormonal changes, allergies, aging, medications and even certain autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and thyroid diseases. Additionally, excessive screen time can also contribute to eye dryness.
Dr. Juawana Hall hears it all the time from patients who struggle with dry eye symptoms. An eye doctor who is always looking for innovative solutions to common eye issues, she recently shared about the latest treatments that have come out to combat dry eyes.
“One of the easiest ways people can treat dry eyes naturally is with fish oil,” Dr. Hall explained. “A high-quality omega-3 fatty acid supplement is proven to support eye health, including the promotion of healthy tear glands, which are designed to ensure that our eyes get enough moisture to function correctly. Not all fish oil is created equal, so be sure to discuss with your doctor which supplements will best meet your needs. We also treat our patients with Eysuvis, a new short-term prescription that includes a corticosteroid. These drops help target the immune responses that can cause flare-ups of dry eye symptoms. These drops can be used for up to two weeks, and we’ve found that patients who have used them have much less swelling, which helps eliminate the pain associated with dry eyes.
“But some cases of dry eyes need a little more help,” Dr. Hall continued. “One of the newest treatment options was FDA approved in April of this year. OptiLight IPL is a new technology that goes beyond treating the dry eye symptoms by also addressing the inflammation that is often a contributing factor to the problem. This procedure can actually help to regrow tear structures, which is really innovative.”
Beyond these options, Dr. Hall shared, “Alcon has introduced a new suite of products that have been super helpful for severe dry eyes. The Systane iLux is an in-office treatment that significantly improves evaporative dry eye, the most common type. This treatment helps patients reduce severe symptoms within two weeks to mild to normal range.”
As we move into fall and winter, dry eyes become more of a problem. “Because of cooler weather and indoor heating, dry eye symptoms are worse during the fall and winter,” explained Dr. Hall. “But there is no need to suffer. Certainly, we don’t want patients rubbing their eyes for relief and making things worse. Artificial tears bring some relief temporarily, but newer treatments look to do more. Dry eye is treatable, but like any medical condition, it should be handled under the supervision of a medical professional. I would encourage anyone who struggles with dry eyes to schedule an appointment with us, so we can figure out the best solutions for their unique needs and lifestyle.”
Book at appointment with Hillcrest Vision! They are located at 2431 Winterhaven Lane in Winston-Salem. Call them at 336.760.2020, visit them online at HillcrestVision.com and be sure to “like” them on Facebook and follow them on Instagram.