Dry eye affects millions of people worldwide. It happens when your eyes produce too few tears or when those tears dry up too quickly. This can hurt your eyes and blur your vision.
Dry eye is prevalent. A study found that 5%–50% of people worldwide have it, including 16.4 million in the U.S. alone. It is more likely in older people, women, and people who take certain drugs.
Artificial tears may help, but they are not enough for some cases of dry eye. You need to know the cause and treat it appropriately. That is why you should see your eye doctor about the best and newest treatments for dry eye.
Here are some of the options you can try with your eye doctor:
Prescription Eye Drops
Prescription eye drops go beyond the limitations of over-the-counter options. They can help you with dry eyes and other issues. They can increase your tear flow and ease your inflammation. They can offer you relief and improve your eye health.
A nasal spray for dry eyes sounds strange. But it actually works by stimulating the nerves in your nose connected to your tear glands. By spraying a solution containing an ingredient called varenicline into your nose, you can trigger your tear glands to produce more tears, oil, and mucin. This can help lubricate your eyes and prevent tear evaporation.
Some medications you take for other conditions can worsen your dry eye symptoms by affecting your tear production or quality. These include antihistamines, antidepressants, birth control pills, and blood pressure medications. Talk to your doctor about finding an alternative or adjusting the dosage.
Plasma Tears or Serum Albumin Tears
For some patients with advanced dry eye conditions who do not respond to other treatments, plasma tears or serum albumin tears may be helpful. These are special eye drops made from your blood or from donated blood that contain proteins and growth factors that can heal your ocular surface and reduce inflammation.
They collect blood from you and spin it in a centrifuge to separate the plasma from the red blood cells to generate plasma tears. Then they dilute the plasma with saline and store it in sterile vials. To make serum albumin tears, they mix a 5% solution of albumin (a protein found in the blood) with saline and store it in sterile vials.
Use these eye drops several times daily for up to six months to see results. A compounding pharmacy or a blood bank usually prepares them, and they require refrigeration.
Dry eye is not a condition you must live with or settle for artificial tears. More advanced and effective treatments are currently available that can target the underlying cause of your condition. You can then improve your symptoms and quality of life. If you have dry eye, consult your eye doctor about the best treatment option.
For more on advanced dry eye treatments, visit Grand Eye Care at our River Grove, Illinois, office. Call (708) 816-2020 to schedule an appointment today.