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Eye Drops for Dry Eyes

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Eye Drops for Dry Eyes: Why You Should See Your Eye Doctor

Effectively managing a health condition like dry eye syndrome (DES) requires a thorough diagnostic and treatment process. So why do so many people find themselves pacing up and down the eye drop aisle at their local drug store, searching for yet another eye drop to ease their symptoms?

Knowing exactly what’s causing your symptoms and how to treat the condition at its source is the only way to attain long-lasting relief. At Lifetime Eyecare, we do more than just treat the symptoms — we determine the underlying cause of your DES and get to the root of the issue.

Do You Have Dry Eye Syndrome?

DES is a progressive eye condition that affects over 20 million North Americans annually. It is caused by either poor tear quality or insufficient tears.

The most common cause of poor tear quality is a condition called Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), a blockage of the meibomian glands — the tiny glands at the edge of the eyelids that secrete an oily film into your tears.

Some medical conditions that can cause decreased tear production include Sjogren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, scleroderma, thyroid conditions, and lupus. Aging and a vitamin A deficiency can also lower tear production.

Symptoms of DES range from mildly uncomfortable to debilitating, and can include:

  • Red eyes
  • Dry eyes
  • Painful or irritated eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Itchy eyes
  • Fatigued eyes
  • Burning eyes
  • Blurred vision

DES can make it difficult for the eye to flush out foreign bodies, so sand, grit and allergens sometimes get stuck in the eye.

Why Do People Use Over-the-Counter (OTC) Eye Drops?

beautiful eyesGiven how uncomfortable dry eye symptoms can be, it’s no surprise that dry eye sufferers seek relief using over-the-counter drops. People with DES may not realize that they should visit their eye doctor rather than seek solutions on their own.

Some eye doctors recommend using OTC eye drops to temporarily treat mild symptoms until the condition naturally heals. For example, after an eye injury or surgery, many find that lubricating eye drops soothe the eyes and provide moisture.

But not all eye drops are created equal. People with mild to moderate cases of DES who seek relief from OTC solutions may be choosing the wrong types of drops or dosage for their eyes.

The three main categories of non-prescription eye drops are:

  • Lubricating eye drops/artificial tears
  • Antihistamine eye drops
  • Redness-reducing eye drops

Masking a mild case of DES by using redness-reducing eye drops (also called decongestant eye drops) won’t address the underlying source of the redness. In fact, decongestant eye drops have been shown to exacerbate DES symptoms in the long run.

What’s more, your eyes can eventually become [desensitized] to the effects of OTC eye drops after repeated use. This eventually leads people back to the drugstore in search of even stronger eye drops, perpetuating the never-ending “eye drop cycle.”

End the Vicious Eye Drop Cycle

Experiencing continual eye irritation indicates the need for professional eye care. An optometrist will isolate the cause of your DES and use their expertise to find the most effective treatment for lasting relief.

Even if you have a mild case of dry eye syndrome, now is the perfect time to start treatment, before symptoms worsen. If you’ve sought help in the past but were told nothing else could be done to treat your eye condition, speak with our optometrists regarding the latest and most effective dry eye treatments.

If you’re ready to end the cycle of getting over-the-counter eye drops without lasting relief, contact our optometrists for a dry eye evaluation.

Our practice serves patients from Edmonton, Leduc, Sherwood Park, and Beaumont, Alberta and surrounding communities.

REFERENCES

Request A Dry Eye Appointment
Think You Have Dry Eye? Call 780 666 3254
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Punctal Plugs

If you suffer from dry, burning, irritated or itchy eyes, you may have dry eye syndrome. Dry eye syndrome is a condition where your eyes either don’t produce enough tears or produce low-quality tears that can’t keep your eyes adequately hydrated. Sometimes the meibomian glands, which produce the oily layer of your tears, found inside your eyelid don’t function properly or are blocked, causing your tears to dry out.

If your tear ducts are blocked, your eye doctor may suggest punctal plugs.

What Are Punctal Plugs?

Punctal plugs are small devices that are inserted into the tear ducts — the puncta — of the eyelids. Another type of plug is inserted into the tear duct, the canaliculus, at a deeper level.

Puncta are small openings in your eyes that drain tears. The plug, which is about the size of a grain of rice, prevents fluid from flowing from the eyes. This ensures that the maximum amount of tears remain on the eyes at all times, resulting in less itching, burning, and redness.

Two Types of Punctal Plugs

Temporary/dissolving plugs

Temporary/dissolving plugs are made of a material, such as collagen, that the body absorbs over time. These plugs can last anywhere from a few days to several months in the eye. After refractive surgery, such as LASIK, temporary plugs are frequently used to keep the eye moist. They can also be used to test out punctal plugs to see if they provide dry eye relief.

Semi-permanent plugs

Semi-permanent plugs are composed of medical plastic, such as silicone or acrylic, that lasts longer. These plugs are made to stay in the eye for years. Your eye doctor can remove them, if necessary.

Another sort of semi-permanent punctal plug is inserted in the canaliculus, which is a deeper section of the tear duct. Once in the eye, these plugs are completely invisible.

How Are Punctal Plugs Inserted?

Your eye doctor will first inspect your eye to determine the optimum type and size of plug for your eyes.

Anesthesia may be used to numb your tear ducts. However, in some cases, you may not need to have your eyes numbed. As the punctal plug is inserted into your eyelid, you may feel some pressure.

After the plugs are inserted, you should be able to resume your normal activities at once.

When and How are Punctal Plugs Removed?

How to remove the plugs and when will depend on which plugs are inserted.

To remove silicon plugs from the tear ducts, your eye doctor will use forceps to gently pull the plugs out. Another option for removing these plugs is to use a saltwater solution to flush them out. The plugs are forced out of the tear ducts and into the nose or throat during this procedure.

Surgery is usually required to remove plugs that are deeper in the tear duct (in the canaliculus).

For most people, punctal plugs don’t cause any problems. However, if you have any eye pain, itchiness, or fear you have an infection, contact your eye doctor right away. The eye doctor will examine your eyes and remove the plugs if necessary.

Are Punctal Plugs for You?

Consult your eye doctor if artificial tears or other eye drops have failed to relieve your dry eye symptoms. If blocked tear glands are the culprit, your doctor might advise you to try punctal plugs. For more information regarding punctal plugs contact Lifetime Eyecare today!

Our practice serves patients from Edmonton, Leduc, Sherwood Park, and Beaumont, Alberta and surrounding communities.
Request A Dry Eye Appointment
Think You Have Dry Eye? Call 780 666 3254
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Scleral Lenses for Dry Eye Syndrome

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Scleral Lenses for Dry Eye Syndrome

Those with dry eye syndrome (DES) suffer from eyes that feel dry, itchy, uncomfortable, irritated and at times very painful. Eye drops and artificial tears can deliver relief but are no more than a temporary solution. Eventually, patients with chronic dry eyes seek out more durable methods of treatment.

Scleral lenses are an excellent solution due to their large shape, unique features, and customized fitting for each patient. Though generally used to treat corneal irregularities and refractive errors, scleral lenses can also provide immense relief to dry eye patients.

Scleral lenses tackle three factors simultaneously: they provide vision correction, they protect the eye, and they serve a therapeutic purpose by lubricating the eye. Scleral lenses decrease pain, discomfort, eye redness, and itchiness while providing sharp, clear vision.

What Are Scleral Lenses?

Cornea With Scleral Lens 1280×853Scleral lenses provide relief and visual rehabilitation to patients with dry eyes and corneal irregularities. These custom designed lenses vault over the cornea and rest on the sclera while avoiding the cornea. The liquid reservoir between the lens and the cornea provides a continuous moist environment that protects the cornea and provides relief for those with dry eyes.

Because these lenses are oxygen permeable, they provide the wearer with better comfort and a healthy cornea. In fact, their ability to transmit oxygen reduces eye problems, such as dry eyes, caused by diminished oxygen transmission to the cornea, which is common among most soft lens’ brands or hard (non-GP) lenses.

If you have Dry Eyes and are interested in scleral lenses, our optometrists can help. Experienced in fitting scleral lenses for dry eyes and other corneal conditions, Lifetime Eyecare serves patients from all over Edmonton, Leduc, Sherwood Parkand Beaumont, in the state of Alberta.

Why Scleral Lenses Offer Relief to Those with Dry Eye Syndrome

Contact Lenses You Can Wear With Dry Eyes

Traditional soft contact lenses are not an option for those with dry eyes, as the lenses sit right on the cornea, which can be very irritating for dry eye patients. Moreover, they tend to act as sponges, soaking up the moisture from the surface of the eye. Wearing soft contact lenses can, therefore, prove to be virtually unbearable for the dry eye patient.

Scleral lenses, on the other hand, are comfortable since they vault over the cornea and rest on the sclera, thus avoiding the sensitive cornea.

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Scleral Lenses Provide Continuous Eye Hydration

The zone between the surface of the cornea and the scleral lens is filled with a saline solution. This acts as a constant source of hydration for the eye and provides ongoing relief for the dry eye patient.

Scleral Lenses Soothe and Protect the Cornea

People with dry eyes tend to have sensitive corneas that are prone to injury. The simple act of blinking can irritate the eye or even injure the cornea due to the mechanical friction of the eyelids on the cornea. Scleral lenses prevent damage to the cornea by shielding the patient’s eyes from the friction caused by blinking and protecting it from any external irritants or dust.

If you struggle with dry eye syndrome and have been looking for a more effective treatment method beyond eyedrops and artificial tears, ask our optometrists about scleral lenses. We will patiently assess and explain your condition to you, and will perform a specialized, scleral lens custom-fitting to ensure that you receive the best fit for optimal visual clarity and comfort.

Call Lifetime Eyecare today to schedule your consultation today.

Our practice serves patients from Edmonton, Leduc, Sherwood Park, and Beaumont, Alberta and surrounding communities.
Request A Dry Eye Appointment
Think You Have Dry Eye? Call 780 666 3254
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Vitamins and Foods That Relieve Dry Eye Syndrome

Approximately 16 million Americans have dry eye syndrome. Symptoms of dry eye—other than the obvious eye dryness—include grittiness, burning, irritation and difficulty reading or looking at a screen for long periods of time. Studies have shown that certain foods help the eyes stay properly hydrated.

Specific vitamins, fatty acids and trace elements are good not only for our overall health but also for our tear film.

Omega Fatty Acids For Dry Eye

Omega fatty acids are responsible for forming the stabilizing oil layer in the tear film. If this outer layer of the lubricating film is disrupted, it can lead to dry eye symptoms like burning, redness and itchiness. In addition, omega fatty acids have an anti-inflammatory effect.

Foods high in omega fatty acids include:

  • Fish. cod, mackerel, salmon, trout
  • Meat. red meat, pork liver
  • Oils. canola oil, rapeseed oil, sunflower oil, walnut oil,
  • Other animal products. cheese, eggs

Vitamins for Dry Eye

Below is a list of vitamins that help with dry eye and boosts general eye health.

  • Vitamin A (retinol) helps protect the surface of the eye. Vitamin A deficiency, which usually occurs in developing countries, can cause an increase in dry eye. By adding foods rich in Vitamin A, like carrots, pumpkins, apricots, spinach, tomatoes, dairy products and liver, you can prevent the development of this condition.
  • Vitamin B2 protects your eyes from cell damage. It is found in broccoli, avocados, dairy products and whole-grain products.
  • Vitamin B6 is needed for a healthy tear film. Foods such as kale, potatoes, goose, mackerel, salmon and sardines contain high doses of vitamin B6.
  • Vitamin B12 is also important for lubricating the eyes. It’s typically found in mackerel, beef liver, calf’s liver and pork liver. It is also found in dairy products and eggs, though in smaller amounts.
  • Vitamin C protects against oxidative stress and plays an important role in maintaining a functioning tear film. It can be found in peppers, broccoli, rosehip, acerola berries and brussels sprouts.
  • Vitamin E is necessary to protect your eyes against cell damage as well as dry eye. This vitamin is prominently found in sunflower oil, mackerel, wheat germ oil, peppers, spinach, mangos and redcurrants.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin

Lutein and zeaxanthin are antioxidants that help cells function correctly and stay healthy. They help prevent many chronic eye diseases, including dry eye syndrome. Foods rich in these antioxidants include leafy greens like romaine lettuce, kale and spinach. They are also available as supplements.

Zinc for Eye Health

Zinc plays an important role in keeping your eyes healthy. This mineral is responsible for getting vitamin A from your liver to your retina and produces melanin, a pigment that protects your eyes. Dairy, whole grains, nuts, sweetcorn, peas and lentils are all excellent sources of zinc.

Drink Water to Hydrate Your Eyes

Lastly, drink water. While it may seem obvious, many of us forget to drink enough water. Staying hydrated can help improve eye comfort and is vital for your kidneys, bowels and radiant-looking skin.

Eating healthy and staying hydrated helps to ensure your eyes get the vitamins and minerals they need. So go ahead and protect your vision, improve eye health and relieve your dry eye symptoms by adding these nutrients to your diet. However, remember to always consult your eye doctor before taking any supplements.

Contact Lifetime Eyecare to learn more and to explore our effective and lasting treatments to relieve your dry eyes so you can live your best life.

Our practice serves patients from Edmonton, Leduc, Sherwood Park, and Beaumont, Alberta and surrounding communities.
Request A Dry Eye Appointment
Think You Have Dry Eye? Call 780 666 3254
Read More About Dry Eyes
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What Treatments Can Relieve Dry Eye Syndrome?

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An Overview of Dry Eye Symptoms and Causes

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i Lux

iLUX® Dry Eye Treatment

Dry eye is a chronic, progressive, irreversible disease caused by deficiencies in the quantity and quality of meibum or other tear components within the tear film. Dry eye affects over 30 million people in the United States, and 86% of dry eye sufferers are reported to have clinical signs of meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). However, less than half of patients with MGD show symptoms, and many MGD sufferers may not even know they have it.

What is MGD?

Every time you blink, a protective layer of moisture called the tear film coats the front surface of your eye. An essential part of the tear film is an oily layer called meibum. MGD occurs when the meibomian glands that produce meibum get blocked or the secreted meibum is of poor quality—leading to evaporative tear loss. MGD can cause dryness, blurry vision, irritation, and watery eyes, and you may need treatment to alleviate the symptoms. The goal of treatment is to unblock the meibomian glands.

Diagnosing MGD

If you regularly use eye drops or have symptoms such as eye dryness and irritation, ask your doctor to evaluate your symptoms. Your doctor will compress your eyelids to assess the level and quality of meibum that is expressed. Healthy meibum is clear and adequate. The more severe the blockage, the thicker and cloudier the meibum appears.

iLUX®: Dry Eye Treatment That Starts At The Source

The iLUX® MGD Thermal Pulsation System delivers treatment directly to the blocked meibomian glands with the goal of clearing the blockages. Therapeutic heat at the optimal temperature is applied to your eyelids. Then, while the oil is thoroughly melted, it is expressed with the precise pressure required. A medical professional will be at your side every step of the way, providing real-time feedback. Treatment of both eyes takes approximately 8 to12 minutes.5 After the glands are unblocked, it will be easier for the meibum to be released naturally.

Treatment with the iLUX® device was shown to significantly reduce dry eye symptoms such as gritty eyes and irritation. 6 In clinical studies, iLUX® was shown to increase meibomian gland function by 300% at 4 weeks post-treatment, compared to baseline.

Contact Your Dry Eye Doctor Today

If you experience symptoms such as blurry vision, dry eyes, and irritation, it may be MGD. Even if you aren’t experiencing symptoms, the American Optometric Association recommends annual comprehensive eye exams. This includes an evaluation of the tear film and glands. Learn more about MGD and if treatment with the iLUX® MGD Thermal Pulsation System is right for you.

Our practice serves patients from Edmonton, Leduc, Sherwood Park, and Beaumont, Alberta and surrounding communities.
Request A Dry Eye Appointment
Think You Have Dry Eye? Call 780 666 3254
Read More About Dry Eyes
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What Treatments Can Relieve Dry Eye Syndrome?

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Blephex for Blepharitis

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Blephex for Blepharitis

Lifetime Eyecare is pleased to offer advanced treatment for blepharitis, BlephEx™. This device provides powerful, painless and effective treatment for those suffering from an inflammation of the eyelids that causes red, irritated and swollen eyes. If you have been diagnosed with blepharitis, or suspect you may have it, get in touch with us and we’ll provide you with the relief you need.

What is Blepharitis?

Blepharitis (blef-uh-RYE-tis) is a common eyelid inflammation that can develop at any age. Blepharitis typically occurs when tiny oil glands located near the base of the eyelashes become clogged, leading to swollen, irritated and red eyes. Several diseases and conditions can cause blepharitis, such as dry eyes. Blepharitis doesn’t result in permanent vision damage and is not contagious.

What Are the Symptoms of Blepharitis?

A few typical symptoms include:

  • itchy, sore and red eyelids that stick together
  • crusty or greasy eyelashes
  • a burning, gritty sensation in your eyes
  • increased sensitivity to light (photophobia)
  • swollen eyelid margins
  • wearing contact lenses become unbearable
  • abnormal eyelash growth or loss of eyelashes in severe cases

How Does BlephEx Treat Blepharitis?

tired eyesWhen properly performed, BlephEx reduces and alleviates uncomfortable blepharitis symptoms. The treatment is repeated at regular intervals depending on the severity of the condition. By eliminating the root cause of blepharitis, the overall health of the eyelid will be significantly improved and will allow you to produce more tears and enjoy life without the chronic and irritating symptoms associated with blepharitis.

How Does Blephex Work?

BlephEx is a painless in-office procedure performed by our optometrists. It works by removing excess bacteria and toxins that live along the lash margin that cause inflammation and eyelid disease. The BlephEx handpiece precisely and carefully spins a medical-grade disposable micro-sponge along the edge of your eyelids and lashes, discarding any debris and exfoliating your eyelids. A micro-sponge is used for each eye individually, so as not to spread bacteria between the eyelids. The procedure takes about 6-8 minutes to complete and is well-tolerated by the patient. Numbing drops are placed in the eyes prior to treatment for increased comfort. After the procedure, the patient will be instructed on ways to maintain clean eyelids by following nightly eyelid hygiene.

How Many Times Must BlephEx Be Performed?

The eyelids require a regular hygiene practice to prevent blepharitis and dry eye disease from recurring. It is recommended that BlephEx be administered every 4 – 6 months in order to keep bacteria to a minimum and to prevent the biofilm from developing again. Once the treatments are stopped, the biofilm will typically redevelop, leading to inflammation and damaged tear glands all over again.

Does Insurance Cover the Cost of BlephEx?

BlephEx is a relatively new treatment for dry eyes and is not typically covered by insurance, though you can certainly try to submit it. Even when paying privately, it is still less costly than a years’ worth of eye drops, artificial tears, ointments, and so on.

How Soon Will I Notice a Difference?

Depending on the stage and severity of the condition, patients tend to feel a difference right after the treatment. However, if you’ve experienced significant damage to your tear glands due to blepharitis, it may take several months before observing any changes in your condition. Certain people may require multiple treatments before they begin to heal. Nightly hygiene and repeat treatments will treat, cure and prevent a recurrence.

Does Blephex Have Any Side Effects?

There will only be positive effects following the treatment. You will have removed years, if not decades, of biofilm from your eyelids and will be able to comfortably blink without having your eyelids feel sticky. Contact us to schedule your BlephEx appointment at Lifetime Eyecare and to consult with our optometrists for a proper eyelid evaluation.

Our practice serves patients from Edmonton, Leduc, Sherwood Park, and Beaumont, Alberta and surrounding communities.
Request A Dry Eye Appointment
Think You Have Dry Eye? Call 780 666 3254
Read More About Dry Eyes
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What Treatments Can Relieve Dry Eye Syndrome?

Finding Relief for Dry Eye Thumbnail.jpg

An Overview of Dry Eye Symptoms and Causes

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Dry Eye Questionnaire

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