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Examination & Treatment

Frequently Asked Questions

What causes dry eye?

The level of moisture in your eyes is normally maintained by balancing tear production and tear loss through drainage and evaporation. When this balance is not sustained, dry spots appear on the eye’s surface, which cause irritation.

 

What happens during your dry eye examination?

When you come to the dry eye clinic we’ll carefully examine the front of your eye, including the cornea, conjunctiva, lids and assess your tears. Digital images and videos of your eye will be stored for future comparison. Often we use a dye or stain to help highlight certain areas of the eye or to show the spread or flow of tears across the eye.

 

What treatments are available?

Depending on the causes, dry eye syndrome can be treated as a temporary problem or a lifelong disease. Either way, tears must be distributed efficiently, replaced or conserved in order to provide relief.

 

Effective tear distribution can be achieved in a number of ways, please see below for more details:

 

Controlled Environment

Dry eye syndrome is often caused or aggravated by the places you work and live. Simple changes to control environmental influences can help relieve your symptoms. Why not try making the following adjustments:

  • Increase atmospheric moisture, by placing a humidifier in the room or simply a bowl of water or plant near the VDU at work
  • Avoid direct air from the heating or air conditioning vents
  • Avoid sitting in line with a fire

If these simple steps do not help then call us for further assessment

 

Blinking

Blinking is one of those things that we all take for granted. But if you have poorly developed blinking habits it’s a bit like a car’s windscreen wiper only going halfway across the screen – not very effective!

 

If you suffer from inefficient blinking patterns, it means your tears are not being evenly distributed across the surface of the eye, which can cause discomfort and poor vision. But don’t worry! We can help improve the quality of your blinking.

 

By regularly performing some simple blink exercises, the quality of your blink action will improve. After a period of time, good blinking becomes habitual and you’ll no longer need to practice.

 

Call us today if you have concerns about your blinking patterns. Remember – If you wear contact lenses it’s particularly important that you blink properly in order to efficiently clean the lenses and prevent dry eye syndrome occurring.

 

Artificial Tears

As dry eye syndrome is caused by an imbalance of tears on the eye’s surface the most logical way to treat the problem is to artificially replace the tears. This is the most common treatment we use at the practice.

 

Generally, the drops we supply can be used throughout the day, depending upon the severity of the problem. For severe cases, non-medicated lubricated ointments or gels can also be used.

 

We supply several varieties of artificial tears and following your examination, we’ll advise you about the best type for your particular problem. Artificial tears are available without prescription and it’s worth noting that if one type fails to help another may work extremely well.

 

Artificial tears effectively relieve symptoms in the majority of cases. Call us to make an appointment.

 

Punctum Plugging

If your dry eye problem persists, another treatment option available at our practice is to close the tear duct. This is called punctum plugging.

 

Punctum plugs allow you to retain your own natural tears or to use artificial tears more efficiently. Usually the lower puncta are occluded but in some cases it is beneficial to occlude both upper and lower.

 

Many of our patients report immediate relief from dry eye symptoms using punctum plugs. There are two types available:

 

Temporary Closure

Until recently tiny, jelly-like plugs, made from collagen have been gently inserted into the puncta. We’ve recently introduced a new synthetic type of soft, absorbable plug known as SA plugs. These will last for 3 months before dissolving.

 

Temporary plugs are very useful for evaluating the benefits of tear duct closure before committing to a long-term option. They can also be extremely helpful following eye surgery.

 

Permanent Closure

These are non-dissolvable but removable plugs that are inserted if the benefits of tear duct closure has been recognised. Just like the temporary plugs, insertion is completely painless and takes just a few minutes in the consulting room. We offer our patients 3 different types of permanent closure.

  • Formfit
  • SmartPlug
  • Silicone

If you think you might benefit from punctal plugging and would like to discuss the options further, why not call us to make an appointment.


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