What’s the Best Treatment for Dry Eyes?

In this week’s episode of Thyroid Thursday, Dr. Raymond Douglas sits down with dry eye specialist, Dr. Neda Shamie to discuss the best treatment for dry eyes in thyroid eye disease patients. A lot of our thyroid eye disease patients deal with dry, irritated eyes, so we hope this information is very helpful in helping you determine the best treatment for your dry eyes.

Types of Dry Eyes

Before discussing dry eye treatment options, it is important to understand there are different types of dry eyes. Dr. Shamie explains how over the last 15 years there has been a tremendous amount of research to better understand dry eyes. We now know that inflammation is at the core of the problem. It is a localized autoimmune condition, even if it is not associated with a systemic autoimmune disease. Having dry eyes means there is an increase in inflammatory bi-products in the tear film. Outside of systemic autoimmune diseases, like Graves’ eye disease, dry eyes can develop in patients who wear contact lens all the time or as a result of increased computer use. The lack of blinking while you are staring at a computer causes evaporation of the tear film and that change in the makeup of the tear film leads to inflammation.

There are 2 main categories of dry eyes:

  1. Evaporative Dry Eyes – the tear film evaporates quicker than it should
  2. Aqueous Dry Eyes – there is a lack of liquid tear

Now that we truly understand the anatomy of the tear film, it is easier to diagnose the true cause of dry eyes and thus recommend the best treatment for dry eyes.

  • The top layer of the tear film has to be oily to protect the tears from evaporating.
  • The next layer is the liquid layer.
  • The bottom layer called the mucin layer, which keeps the tear film on the surface of the eye.

Any of these layers can be affected by different problems. So it is the responsibility of your ophthalmologist to determine the true cause of your dry eyes so the problem can be targetted with the appropriate treatment.

Best Treatment for Dry Eyes

For Dr. Shamie, it is very important to pinpoint the diagnosis of dry eyes so that she can determine the proper treatment. When she sees evidence of dry eyes, the first thing she does is put the patient on a safe eye drop to help reduce the inflammation. Steriods may also be helpful, but only for a short time. One of the most effective prescription medicines for dry eyes is Restasis, which helps your eyes create tears.

Additionally, if Dr. Shamie determines the lipid top layer is affected she needs to find out why it is affected. If the reason is that a poor quality lipid is being produced she will treat this with systemic medication. If it is because the oil glands are clogged, she will address this with lid hygiene protocols or in-office procedures.

Finally, if the problem is with the lacrimal gland, it can now be treated with a neuro-stimulation device, which is a brand new technology. Electrical stimulation is applied to the nerve that stimulates the lacrimal gland and causes the immediate production of natural tears.

With so many great treatments available, the best treatment for dry eyes depends on a proper diagnosis. If you are suffering from dry eyes, please see an experienced ophthalmologist, like Dr. Shamie, to help you find relief. As always, Dr. Douglas is always more than happy to recommend an ophthalmologist in your area, so do not hesitate to contact us.

Watch More Episodes of Thyroid Thursday

3 Non-Surgical Treatments for Thyroid Eye Disease

Surgery to Improve Vision with Thyroid Eye Disease and Cataracts

5 Signs You May Have Thyroid Eye Disease

Posted in: Thyroid Eye Disease

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