By Dr. Alexandra Konowal
Board Certified Ophthalmologist
Over the past twenty years, dry eye treatment has become increasingly important due to the aging of the baby boomers, side effects of common systemic medications and the availability of effective new treatment options. Dry eyes can be caused by any systemic medication that lowers blood pressure or regulates the heart, lowers cholesterol, or treats depression or allergies. The impact of hormone therapy may also cause dry eyes, even for those on birth control pills. Other factors that can cause dry eye include a dry environment or workplace (including air-conditioning), sun exposure, wind, smoking or second hand smoke exposure and previous eye surgery, including LASIK, cataract surgery and blepharoplasty (for droppy eyelids).
Because of the various causes and symptoms of dry eye, a multifaceted treatment approach is often necessary to alleviate the symptoms of scratchy, burning, achy irritated eyes. Over-the-counter artificial tears have becomme sophisticated in their composition and various ointments are available for bedtime use. Restatis (cyclosporine ophthalmic emulsion Allergan), a prescription drop that helps improve tear production was approved about five years ago and many patients have experienced significant improvement with its use.
Punctual plugs, which close off the drains in the eyelids, are an excellent modality for those with moderate dry eye symptoms. The plugs keep our “real” tears and articial tears in the eye longer. Another product available is Lacrisert, a preservative-free, once-daily, sustained release prescription insert that helps to retain moisture, stabilize the tear film and lubricate the eye. Unlike artificial tear substitutes that have a residence time measure in minutes, Lacriserts provide lubrication and protection to the surface of the eye all day.
If your eyes are dry, call the KONOWAL VISION CENTER AT (239) 948-7555 TODAY for a dry eye evaluation.