Dry eye disease can worsen in the fall when the cold, dry weather starts to settle in and impact tear film. A 2006 study into the effect of seasonal changes on dry eyes found that dry eye patients in the Boston area experienced the worst symptoms in the wintertime, with fall coming in second for dry eyes and the least symptoms reported in the summer. Our board-certified ophthalmologist Dr. Kornmehl offers various dry eye treatments to restore healthy tear quality and reduce symptoms.
Treating Dry Eyes with IPL Therapy
Dr. Kornmehl offers intense pulsed light (IPL) treatments using the Lumenis Optima system for dry eyes linked to meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). MGD is responsible for an estimated 84 percent of dry eye cases and happens when these glands in the upper and lower eyelids become blocked, cutting off the lipid (oil) layer of tear film required for a smooth corneal surface and delayed tear evaporation. Blocked glands cause the tears to evaporate too quickly and cause discomfort and blurry vision.
For IPL therapy, the light beam focuses on abnormal blood vessels, sending broad-spectrum pulses to heat the tissues, constricting the vessels and inhibiting inflammatory mediators. IPL treatment can also get rid of Demodex mites that may worsen dry eyes.
Dry eye symptoms improve in the days or weeks after IPL therapy when the body resorbs and closes the targeted blood vessels, and the meibomian glands secrete oil for better tear quality.
Reduce Dry Eyes with LipiFlow
LipiFlow Thermal Pulsation System restores normal oil secretion through a different method. The technology uses heat and pressure to loosen and melt the hardened oil blocking the eyelid glands. It’s FDA-cleared for safe dry eye treatment and involves no pain. The treatment is quick and leads to noticeable long-term relief from symptoms.
LipiFlow uses an activator piece that delivers gentle pressure and localized heat to the eyelids to restore regular tear film. The device is used for 12 minutes, and patients report feeling only gentle pressure, though anesthetic eye drops are used to increase comfort.
Punctal Plugs and Medicated Eye Drops
Meibomian gland dysfunction is not the culprit behind all cases of dry eye. Any disruption in tear film quality and quantity can lead to uncomfortable symptoms, such as gritty-feeling or burning eyes. MGD causes evaporative dry eye, but some people may not create enough tears to lubricate the eye properly.
Punctal plugs are another dry eye treatment that clogs the tear ducts and prevents tear drainage, ensuring the tears stay on the eye’s surface for longer. Dr. Kornmehl may recommend medicated eye drops and over-the-counter artificial tears. Restasis, Xiidra and Cequa are medication eye drops that reduce dry eye by increasing tear production.
If you’re struggling with dry eye symptoms or disease this fall, schedule an appointment with Dr. Ernest Kornmehl today to discuss your treatment options. Contact Kornmehl Laser Eye Associates by calling (877) 870-2010 or filling out our online contact form.