Dry Eye Treatment
in South Windsor & Newington
Also serving Hartford
At Aucello EyeCare Center, we know life with dry eyes is often uncomfortable and inconvenient. If you suffer from dry eye syndrome, come see one of our optometrists in South Windsor or Newington who will get to the bottom of your symptoms and help reduce or eliminate your discomfort. Our optometrists offer customized, innovative dry eye treatments that could help restore your eye health and vision.
What is Dry Eye Syndrome?
Dry eye syndrome is a disease characterized by surface ocular inflammation, or eye irritation, due to a lack of tears or poor-quality tears. If your eyes get dry every once in a while, you do not necessarily have dry eye syndrome — you may just need a new type of contact lens or protective eyewear. However, if your eyes regularly fail to produce the proper amount of lubrication, you could have dry eye disease. Common symptoms of dry eye include:
- Irritated eyes – Eye irritation could be a sign that your eyes aren’t properly flushing out irritants
- Itchy eyes – Itchy or scratchy eyes are a symptom of dehydrated corneas and poor tear production
- Blurry vision – If your eyes are inflamed or irritated by tiny debris, blurry vision is a natural consequence
- Excess watering – This may sound counterintuitive, but any irregular tear production could mean your eyes can’t regulate their own moisture properly
If you have any of these symptoms, it’s important to schedule a comprehensive eye exam to help determine the source of your eye discomfort.
What Causes Dry Eye Syndrome?
Dry eye syndrome is a common diagnosis because it’s a side effect of many different eye conditions and irregularities. Of course, treatment is more effective if we know what caused your particular case of dry eye syndrome. Your eye doctor in Newington or South Windsor will perform a thorough evaluation to identify possible causes of your dry eye syndrome, such as:
- Keratoconus – This eye condition causes irregular curvature of the cornea, so if you wear contact lenses that come in direct contact with your eyes (rather than specialty scleral lenses), irritation will occur
- Meibomian gland dysfunction – When these important glands are exposed to certain bacteria, their function decreases, causing partial or complete plugging of the gland openings. As a result, the tears lack the oily layer they need, and the tears can evaporate too quickly off the surface of the eyes.
- Natural aging process – Many patients notice decreased tear production as they age, sometimes related to another condition, like diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis
- Computer eye strain – Do you spend long hours looking at bright screens without blinking or taking breaks?
Of course, these are just a few examples of the common conditions that can cause dry eye syndrome.
How Do Eye Doctors Treat Dry Eye Syndrome?
Once we understand the symptoms and possible causes of your dry eye syndrome, our optometry team will work together to increase your natural tear production and prevent the problem from recurring. Some of your dry eye treatment options include:
Medicated Eye Drops
Medicated eye drops are one of the first lines of defense against dry eye syndrome, as they can provide relief from burning, itchy or scratchy-feeling eyes. The drops add moisture to the eye to lessen the symptoms of dry eye.
Restasis is a popular brand of prescription eye drop that helps reduce the inflammation that causes dry eyes. Restasis stimulates natural tear production for moist and comfortable eyes. Normally it takes a few months of regular use to see the full benefits of Restasis.
Our team will recommend the most appropriate type or brand of eye drops for you, based on the specific underlying cause of your dry eyes and the severity of your symptoms. If you experience side effects from a particular type of eye drops, we will work with you to find a more suitable choice.
Punctal plugs are tiny devices designed to block the tear drainage ducts and help tears remain on the surface of your eyes for longer periods of time. No bigger than a grain of rice, the sterile plugs are placed in the openings of the tear drainage ducts, located in the inner corner of the eyelids. Once the plugs are in place, the tears can no longer drain from the eye through the ducts and the eyes retain more moisture.
The procedure to place punctal plugs can be performed on an outpatient basis in our office. Some types of plugs are semi-permanent, whereas others are dissolvable and eventually absorbed by the body. If your eyes become too teary or watery from using punctal plugs, one or both plugs can be removed by one of our doctors.
Artificial tears are a useful way to get relief from dry eye. There are many different types of artificial tears, each with their own set of pros and cons. Some artificial tears have a slightly watery consistency and others have a more viscous, gel-like consistency. Some artificial tears should be used once a day and others several times a day. Depending on your specific case, we may recommend you combine two different types or brands. We will also explain how often you should use the tears for the maximum benefit.
Prokera is a new technology that uses an amniotic membrane to treat a host of chronic ocular surface eye diseases, including dry eye disease. The therapeutic device has natural healing abilities to soothe your eye’s surface and return it to a healthy, comfortable state.
Slightly thicker than a standard contact lens, Prokera is easily inserted and removed in our office, similar to contacts. Prokera typically stays in the eye for about three to five days, although this can vary based on the severity of your dry eye.
Treating dry eye syndrome could mean stepping away from the computer, using a humidifier, drinking more water, or even taking supplements to increase your body’s ability to stay hydrated. Sometimes simply blinking more frequently can help improve symptoms of dry eye.
When suggesting lifestyle tweaks, we will evaluate and possibly adjust some of the medications you take that may contribute to dry eye (e.g., birth control pills, antidepressants, antihistamines).
If your dry eyes are caused by an underlying eyelid condition (e.g., blepharitis or meibomian gland dysfunction), we can review additional treatment options and recommend the best way to proceed.
We offer comprehensive dry eye treatment in South Windsor and Newington including eye drops and treatments that help kick-start your eye’s tear production once again. Appointments are available on evenings and weekends, so call us today to request an exam that fits into your schedule.