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                 OFFICE   541 382-5701

Integrated Eyecare of Bend, Oregon

Medications and Supplements

New medications such as Restasis show promise in increasing tear production. Nutritional supplements might also help. Essential fatty acids and flax seed oil have been shown to increase tear quality and to reduce dry eye symptoms.

Tear Analysis and LASIK

Accurate tear analysis can also benefit people considering LASIK surgery. If tear protein level is measured before LASIK surgery, it can be adjusted to normal levels after surgery and provide improved results.

About Dry Eye

Signs of Dry Eye

Dry eye syndrome can have multiple causes. Some of the most common causes of dry eye include:

  • The natural aging process.
  • Menopause.
  • Living or working in a dry climate.
  • Side effects of some medications.
  • Antihistamines, anti-depressants, and birth control pills.
  • Symptoms of systemic diseases.
  • Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and Sjogren's syndrome.
  • Eyelid diseases.

There is significant research in the treatment of dry eye but dry eye is generally controlled rather than cured. This means ongoing care is required.

Silicone Plugs

Temporary or permanent silicone plugs in the tear ducts are an effective treatment option. They attempt to hold more of your natural tear longer on your eye. The plugs can be inserted painlessly in the eye doctor's office and are normally not felt once inserted.

Our Tear Profile System provides an analysis of lactoferrin, one of the most important tear proteins. Proteins in the tears do for the eye what blood does for the rest of the body. They deliver oxygen and nutrition for the cornea, which aids in growth, repair, and protection against infection.

If you answer yes to even a few of the questions on your dry eye questionnaire, you should consider having your tears analyzed with the Tear Profile System. This is a safe, painless procedure where a small tear sample is analyzed. The system allows us to design a treatment program for your special needs and increases your chances for controlling dry eye syndrome.

Once you start a treatment program, we can monitor your tears periodically to determine if any changes need to be made.

Dry Eye Treatment

There is significant research in the treatment of dry eye but dry eye is generally controlled rather than cured. This means ongoing care is required.

Testing for Dry Eye

Signs of dry eye syndrome are different from person to person. The most common symptoms are discomfort in the eyes, including:

  • A burning or smarting sensation.
  • Scratchy eyes.
  • Sandy or gritty feeling.
  • A foreign-body sensation, or feeling that there is something in the eyes.
  • Dry eye syndrome causes discomfort because it affects the cornea, which is full of sensory nerve fibers. Less common symptoms are adverse reactions to light and problems with visual acuity.

People with dry eye often note that it is difficult to read or watch television. This is because watching television (or computer screens) and reading require concentration. A person's eyes blink less frequently when concentrating. This allows natural tears to evaporate more quickly.

Another sign of dry eye might be discomfort when wearing contact lenses. Contact lenses can affect the balance of the eyes' tear production and distribution and cause discomfort.

If you think you might experience dry eye syndrome, the first step is to mention this to us when filling out your medical history or at your exam. It is important that you provide us a thorough medical history including current medications. Testing for dry eye may include:

  • An exam of the facial skin and eyelids.
  • Evaluation of the front surface of the eyes.
  • Use of dyes to enhance the signs of dry eye and measure how tears break up and evaporate.
  • Testing for tear quantity.
  • There are two distinct types of dry eye. The first occurs when the eyes do not produce enough tears. The second occurs when tears evaporate too quickly. Improved technology over the last few years now allows us to detect causes and differentiate between the two types of dry eye.

Dry Eye Treatment

Dry eye syndrome is a common condition that can cause symptoms ranging from dry, irritated eyes to visual interference. Dry eye affects 15 to 20 percent of people over age 40.

Until recently, treatment had been hit-or-miss. Newer understanding of the types of dry eye and improved clinical technology allow us to make a more specific diagnosis. You can now take advantage of newer and more effective treatments. 

Artificial Tears

Artificial tears, or lubricating eye drops, have been the mainstay of dry eye treatments. Avoid using some over-the-counter eye drops that “take the red out.” These drops often contain harsh preservatives that can cause further dryness of your eyes. Our current recommendations for artificial tears are non-preserved and much easier on the eye. We recommend Viva Drops, Thera Tears, and Refresh Tears.

Causes of Dry Eye

Advanced Testing

Other Possibilities

Sometimes the cause of dry eye is a medication. In this case it's a good idea to work with your physician to see if other medications can be substituted.

If there is an underlying eyelid disease, treatments may include antibiotic or steroid drops and oral medication.