We offer dry eye treatment in Austin at Lakeline Vision Source. As your optometrists in North Austin, we are experts in examining your eyes for dry eye syndrome and treating them in the best way possible. We offer treatments for dry eyes ranging from prescription eye drops to punctual plugs. Have our doctor examine your eyes to determine the best dry eye treatment for them.
Dry eyes or dry eye syndrome (DES) is an ongoing condition that treatments may be unable to cure. But the symptoms of dry eye—including dryness, scratchiness and burning—can usually be successfully managed. Artificial tears, which are lubricating eyedrops may alleviate the dry, scratching feeling and foreign body sensation of dry eye. We are lucky to now have prescription eyedrops. Some work on each layer of the tear film, some work on increasing production and some work on improving the quality of the tears.
Check with your doctor before buying any over-the-counter eye drops. Many over the counter eye drops have harsh preservatives or chemicals that can be toxic to the cornea.
To reduce the effects of sun, wind and dust on dry eyes, wear sunglasses when outdoors. Wraparound styles offer the best protection.
Indoors, an air cleaner can filter out dust and other particles from the air, while a humidifier adds moisture to air that's too dry because of air conditioning or heating.
Even without knowing the term “dry eye” or “Dry Eye Syndrome“, if you suffer from it, then you are all too familiar with the soreness, discomfort, and sometimes even the constant misery that can come with dry eyes.
Our dry eye specialists bring relief and healing for dry eyes in its many forms to our patients in Cedar Park, TX. With Our team of eye doctors at the helm, the Austin Lakeline Vision Source's Dry Eye Clinic specializes in treating the gamut of dry eyes. Whether it’s an occasional irritant or a debilitating daily problem, we’re here to help, with years of experience specializing in treating dry eyes.
The Lakeline Vision Source's Dry Eye Clinic uses the most advanced diagnostic equipment and tools to quickly and accurately pinpoint the cause and type of dry eye problem you’re suffering from. We don’t just throw any old drops at you either. We provide custom, tailored treatment plans designed to maximize the relief of your dry eye symptoms AND treat the underlying cause of your discomfort.
Dry Eye Syndrome can range from a mild irritant to chronic problem. The symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome may include:
- Dry, irritated, or red eyes
- Excessive tearing/watery eyes
- Sore or sensitive eyes
- Burning or inflammation
- A gritty or pasty feeling in the eyelids
- Crusty or gunky eyes
As we age, we experience hormonal changes. These changes are known to cause or contribute to dry eyes. While this is true of both men and women, it seems that women over 50 are particularly more prone to developing dry eye symptoms. Pregnancy is also known to contribute to or exacerbate dry eye syndrome.
By increasing the rate at which our tears evaporate, the following environmental factors are known to play a huge role in causing or contributing to dry eyes:
- Cold-climate and central heating
- Dry climate
- Sandy or dusty conditions
Poor cleaning habits, not changing the contact often enough, and sleeping in contact lenses can all contribute to dry eyes. However, even for those who take proper care with their contacts, they can still be a contributing cause of dry eyes. In fact, one of the main reasons people discontinue contact lens usage is due to dry eyes. The good news is there have been major improvements across all the brands with special contacts that are aimed at preventing dry eye symptoms.
Various diseases contribute to, or even cause, dry eyes. Autoimmune diseases are a known factor. Rheumatoid arthritis and Sjogren’s syndrome – a common symptom that rheumatologists treat can also contribute to dry eyes. Diabetics or those with Glaucoma that requires medication are also more likely to have dry eye syndrome.
As with everything, proper balanced diet and exercise are important in preventing or managing dry eye syndrome. There are two specific activities that relate directly to Dry Eyes.
Does Staring At A Screen Cause Dry Eye?
Continuous staring at a fixed object, such as a phone or computer screen, usually results in a decreased blink rate. The lack of blinking actually causes the eyes not to replenish the tears often enough. The meibomian glands, therefore, can become blocked or even atrophy and die.
Prolonged And Continuous Use Of Digital Devices Is Thought To Be The Likely Culprit In The Significant Increase Of Dry Eye Syndrome Throughout The General Population.
Does Drinking More Water Help With Dry Eye?
The main component of tears is water. Most of us don’t drink enough water. If you are dehydrated or not drinking enough, then you may not produce enough tears to keep your eyes moist. Soft drinks and other caffeinated drinks like coffee and tea may feel like they quench your thirst, but they actually dehydrate the body. Your body needs water to prevent dry eyes symptoms.
Whether prescription or over-the-counter, certain medications are known to decrease tear production or otherwise contribute to Dry Eye Syndrome. These include:
- Beta-blockers / blood pressure medications
- Oral Contraceptives
North Austin Dry Eye Treatment for Severe Cases
For more significant cases of dry eye, our North Austin eye doctors may recommend punctual plugs. These tiny devices are inserted in ducts in your lids to slow the drainage of tears away from your eyes, thereby keeping your eyes more moist.
Many times our doctors recommend omega 3 Fatty Acids which has been proven to help with Dry Eye Syndrome.
If medications are the cause of dry eyes, discontinuing the drug generally resolves the problem. But in this case, the benefits of the drug must be weighed against the side effect of dry eyes. Sometimes switching to a different type of medication alleviates the dry eye symptoms while keeping the needed treatment. In any case, never switch or discontinue your medications without consulting with your doctor first.
Treating any underlying eyelid disease, such as blepharitis, helps as well. This may call for antibiotic or steroid drops, plus frequent eyelid scrubs with an antibacterial shampoo.
If you are considering LASIK, be aware that dry eyes may disqualify you for the surgery, at least until your dry eye condition is successfully treated. Dry eyes increase your risk for poor healing after LASIK, so most surgeons will want to treat the dry eyes first, to ensure a good LASIK outcome. This goes for other types of vision correction surgery, as well. To read more about the symptoms and causes of dry eyes, visit Eye Articles & Videos.
Our Dry Eye Specialist in Austin provides cutting-edge treatment for dry eyes that's fully tailored to your specific situation. We diagnose and assess your eyes using the latest technology combined with good old-fashioned visual exams, questions, and all around great patient care that will get to the core cause of your condition. For example:
- How effectively are you blinking? How often?
- Are your tear ducts lined up properly?
- What’s the osmolarity of your tears?
- How fast do your tears break down?
- What is your tear volume?
- How well are your meibomian glands functioning? Are they blocked? Dirty? Infected?
Our dry eye doctor will also conduct an in-depth assessment of indicators for other diseases and health problems which might be contributing factors to your dry eyes. We then develop a personalized treatment plan based on what we find, and ongoing based on what's working for you.
On every patient questionnaire, we ask if you are suffering from any of the typical symptoms of dry eyes. Do your eyes feel gritty? Sore? Do you feel like something is in your eye or that you just don't seem to have any tears? If you report symptoms of dry eye, or appear to exhibit those symptoms, then we recommend beginning the dry eye exam process, which is quick, easy, and painless.
Depending on the results of the TearLab, our Austin Dry Eye specialist will also want to see if the overall volume of tears could be the problem. In some cases, the meibomian glands are producing the lipids needed for lubrication, but there just isn't enough of the aqueous layer (this means tears) to spread it around effectively.
In order to test this, our optometrist will place a thin piece of red thread draped over the eyes for a few seconds in order to measure how wet the eye gets and comparing the differential between the eyes.
Our dry eye doctors will also test your tear breakup time. Sometimes, tears don't last long enough to work effectively. In order to test this, we use a fluorescein orange dye to test the breakup time (as well as any other corneal diseases, conditions, or foreign bodies). Using a small blotting paper, the optometrist will lightly touch your eye. As you blink, the dye spreads and gently coats the tear film covering the cornea. Using a blue light (the dye is orange), problems will be revealed to the eye doctor as green.
How Is Dry Eye Treated?
Depending on the underlying cause or causes of your dry eyes, as well as the severity, our Austin Dry Eye Specialist will develop a custom treatment plan that is tailored to your specific needs. The following are some of the treatment options in our arsenal for treating dry eyes.
For those with tear-film insufficiency, artificial tears are a basic solution that literally introduce more tears into your eyes in the form of non-medicated (or lightly medicated) drops. While not enough for a severe case, these can help maintain overall hydration of the eyes.
For cases of severe or chronic tear-film insufficiency, our Austin Dry Eye doctors will sometimes use punctal plugs. These are small devices that are inserted into the tear ducts to slow or even block the drainage of tears. This increases the tear-film and moisture present in the eyes.
In most cases, the procedure is quick, painless, and uneventful. Find out if punctal plugs are right for you.
For mild to moderate dry eyes resulting from Meibomian Gland Disorder or Blepharitis, a hot compress or eye mask is helpful in alleviating the symptoms. The warmth of the mask stimulates the oil glands to open up, allowing for natural lubrication of your eye.
This is a revolutionary treatment that has been developed in the past few years for treating severe and chronic cases of dry eye. Amniotic membranes are collected during elective cesarean births from the placenta. Amniotic membranes protect and nurture the baby in the womb. When placed over the eye, this membrane dramatically heals the eye surface, which has been damaged by prolonged dry eyes. Absolutely no sale of body parts is involved, and absolutely NO harm comes to the infant or the mother in extraction.
The results of using an amniotic membrane to treat dry eye are dramatic. At our dry eye clinic, we make use of both wet and dry membranes, which differ slightly in use. Both types offer significant, dramatic, and real healing and relief for inflamed and scarred eyes due to dry eyes. The use of amniotic membranes is a game-changer in the treatment of dry eyes.
Wet Amniotic Membrane
The "Wet" amniotic membrane is a thin membrane held together by a small plastic ring. Applied directly to the eye, the ring holds it in place right where the eyelid meets the sclera (the white part) of the eye. The healing from this method is very fast. Usually, the membrane needs to be worn for no more than a week before dramatic improvement occurs.
Dry Amniotic Membrane
Looking more like a thin dry bit of tiny corrugated cardboard, the dry membrane is placed right on the cornea and held in place with something called a "bandage contact lens" on top.
In cases of chronic dry eye, we often see patients who have a decreased ability to produce tears. This occurs because of the constant inflammation they experience. Unlike artificial tears, Restasis and Xiidra are medicated prescription eye drops which are both proven to increase the eye’s ability to make its own tears. Instead of having to constantly replenish your eyes’ moisture, with Restasis or Xiidra you are actually stimulating your eyes to make more tears over time.
When do I need prescription eye drops and when is a dietary supplement enough?
Typically, Restasis or Xiidra is used for chronic cases, while a recommended omega-3 supplement usually can and should be used in most cases even as a preventative measure and to maintain optimal eye health.
Our eye doctors are experts in treating dry eye syndrome and will diagnose and guide you through the right treatment plan for you. You don’t have to continue to suffer. Book an appointment with our Austin dry eye specialist today.
Restasis has been in use for a number of years. It is an eye drop that is used twice a day. It’s the teardrop form of cyclosporine, an autoimmune suppressant which is prescribed for many chronic conditions, and it has been found to alleviate the symptoms of dry eyes by reducing the inflammation and increasing tear production. However, Restasis doesn’t necessarily help to improve the outflow of the oil that needs to be produced on top of the tears so that the tears don’t evaporate. Right now some of the studies are suggesting that over 50% of people with dry eyes actually have meibomian gland dysfunction. So, if the first lines of treatment are failing to manage dry eye symptoms, consider more rigorous treatments for dry eyes and blepharitis. Restasis also has side effects, with some patients experiencing burning and discomfort.
Xiidra is a newer drug that has recently received FDA approval for the treatment of Dry Eyes. Clinical studies have shown it to be significantly effective in alleviating symptoms, and it works far faster than Restasis, providing significant relief within as little as 2 weeks without the side effects of Restasis. However, the long-term benefits for dry eyes have yet to be conclusively proven. Nonetheless, it is considered a very safe drug.
Scleral lenses are a special contact lens that is large. It sits on the sclera, rather than the cornea, leaving a pocket of space over the cornea. In our Austin eye clinic, our optometrists use scleral lenses to treat a variety of eye conditions, including keratoconus, and for people with sensitivity to regular contacts.
Scleral lenses are also highly useful in treating Dry Eyes. Studies have shown that the use of scleral lenses is effective in treating moderate to severe dry eyes. In more than 50% of cases, patients fitted with scleral lenses report reduced discomfort and dry eye symptoms, decreased use of artificial tears and improved visual acuity.
Alipour F, Kheirkhah A, Behrouz M. Use of mini-scleral contact lenses in moderate to severe dry eye. Cont Lens Anterior Eye. 2012 Dec;35(6):272-6.
A new entry on the market, Allergan's product rethinks the traditional approach to temporary dry eye relief. Using a small nasal spray like device, True Tears stimulates a nerve in the nasal cavity which tells the brain to produce more tears. While not a treatment of the underlying condition, True Tear is an effective and natural tool for temporary dry eye relief.
BlephEx is a painless in-practice procedure performed by our Dry Eye Specialist to treat blepharitis, the infection, and inflammation of the eyelids which is a common cause of severe dry eyes. In our Austin Dry Eye clinic, we make use of the revolutionary new patented BlephEx handpiece, which is used to very precisely spin a medical grade micro-sponge along the edge of your eyelids and lashes, removing scurf and debris and exfoliating your eyelids.
The patented micro-sponge is disposable and a clean one is used for each individual eyelid so bacteria are not spread between the lids. The eyes are rinsed well afterward.
The procedure lasts about 6 -8 minutes and is well tolerated. Most patients simply report a tickling sensation. A numbing drop is usually placed in each eye prior to treatment for increased comfort.
After the procedure, the patient is instructed on how to maintain their clean eyelids with regular nightly lid hygiene. Since home treatments are only semi-effective, the procedure is typically repeated at 4-6 month intervals.
LipiFlow Thermal Pulsation System
A cleared medical device for Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) shown to improve gland function.
Over 85% of all dry eye cases are due to MGD. Through the LipiFlow® Thermal Pulsation System, our team of eye care professionals are able to treat MGD patients in the office with confidence and efficiency.
The Lipiflow System represents more than 10 years of dedicated research and is protected by more than 30 patents. A phased pressure profile with adaptive force equalization and proximal-to-distal peristaltic motion evacuates gland contents as the inner lid is gently heated. This process provides long-lasting relief for persistent, chronic dry eye patients. Click for more about LipiFlow +
The first and Only Doctor Eyelid Cleaning Procedure to Help Maintain Clean and Healthy Lids
Over 50% of all patients suffer from some type of dry eye and blepharitis symptoms. BlephEx® is a new, in-office procedure that allows your doctor to take an active role in helping prevent, as part of a healthy lifestyle, the risk of dry eye and blepharitis.
BlephEx® cleans eyelids to maintain eyelid hygiene. With regular treatments, as part of a healthy lifestyle, patients may be able to reduce their risk of returning symptoms associated with dry eye and blepharitis. The BlephEx® treatment only takes a few minutes to perform. Click for more about blephex +
OCULUS Keratograph 5M
OCULUS Keratograph 5M is a corneal topographer that is useful for the detection & evaluation of Dry Eye symptoms. With its built-in real keratometer and color camera, the Keratograph 5M produces incredible images of your eye.
Zocular® products are the result of transformative research and development on dry eye.
The link between the eye and skin led to the development of a natural and proprietary activated okra complex called Zokrex. Our okra-based formulation with Zokrex changes the paradigm for both eye care and skin care by catering to the intrinsic needs of your eye and skin with natural solutions, not with harsh drugs or synthetic compounds.
Our eye care professionals utilize Zocular products to provide the most gentle, convenient, and effective platform to address almost any eyelid issue. Zocular is a quick and immediate dry eye treatment to help your eyes feel and look better. Click for more about zocular +
Lakeline Vision Source is Cedar Park, TX owned and operated. We have convenient hours with appointments available in the evenings and on Saturdays. Our staff is highly educated and are all certified in their profession and we are committed to keeping our staff trained and educated with the latest information and technology. You will not find a better trained or more motivated care team in North Austin.
Lakeline Vision Source is dedicated to having all the technology and equipment necessary to take the very best care of our patients. At Lakeline Vision Source we love being able to help people see better, look better and feel better…and we have fun doing it!