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What You Need to Know About Medical Devices and Procedures for Dry Eyes

A doctor might advise a medical gadget or procedure in addition to at-home treatments if natural remedies and artificial tears aren't effectively treating your dry eye symptoms.

When tears, which are meant to keep your eyes lubricated and moisturised, aren't produced enough, your eyes become chronically dry. This condition is known as dry eye syndrome.

Often referred to as dry eye disease or just "dry eye," this ailment can worsen with ageing and be exacerbated by several other illnesses, drugs, and lifestyle choices.

Artificial tears are a typical treatment for mild dry eyes. These eye drops might lessen symptoms and help keep your eyes moist.

These aren't 100% effective, though, as some people may produce too many tears due to dry eyes. Additionally, they could not deal with the underlying reasons for dry eye syndrome.


Medical devices and procedures for dry eye syndrome

A doctor may suggest specific medical devices and techniques to treat dry eye problems when the standard treatment of artificial tears is insufficient. It's crucial to go over each choice with them, including any possible advantages and disadvantages.

Intense pulsed light (IPL)

IPL is a dermatological procedure that treats a range of issues with non-laser light. Enhancing tear stability and general meibomian gland dysfunction symptoms may also aid with dry eye (MGD).

IPL may be beneficial, but if you don't wear the right eye protection while having the treatment, it could harm your eyes. In addition, discomfort and persistent light sensitivity are potential side effects.


Thermal pulsation therapy

Using focused heat and pressure on your eyes can help reduce inflammation connected to MGD, which may be the cause of your dry eye condition. This is known as thermal pulsation therapy. iLux and Lipiflow are the two types of thermal pulsation therapy devices that are now available.

According to a 2022 prospective study on iLux, dry eye symptoms could be reduced in as little as one week. A more recent analysis of Lipiflow published in 2024 revealed conflicting results; the authors concluded that there was no more benefit of this device than other approaches for treating dry eye.

Since this is a relatively new treatment in general, additional investigation is required to ascertain the efficacy and possible hazards of these devices for treating dry eye syndrome. During the process, discomfort is possible.

Eye inserts

If artificial tears fail to relieve your dry eyes, your physician can suggest hydroxypropyl cellulose eye inserts. These, which are marketed under the name Lacriset, also provide your eyes with synthetic tears. On the other hand, the goal is to offer relief continuously, unlike eye drops.

To sustain symptom relief, you must enter one laceriset eye insert daily; these are prescribed products. Among the potential negative effects are:
  • blurry vision
  • light sensitivity
  • eyelid swelling

Punctal occlusion

To stop your eyes from losing too many tears, a technique called punctal occlusion involves inserting punctal plugs into your tear ducts. These plugs could be permanent or just temporary.

After punctal occlusion, some patients may receive instant alleviation from their symptoms, while others may see more gradual improvement. Permanent plugs have the drawback of potentially falling or coming loose completely. It's crucial to consult an ophthalmologist if this occurs.

Eyelid surgery

Although less often, if alternative treatments for dry eye are ineffective, doctors may think about doing eyelid tightening surgery. To help stop tear loss, the upper or lower eyelid skin is tightened during the treatment. It is believed to function by delivering anti-inflammatory substances and activating stem cells.

It carries the same risk of consequences as other procedures, including bleeding, infection, and scarring. Other possibilities include loss of vision and vision disorders.

Radiofrequency (RF)

Radiofrequency (RF) therapy uses electromagnetic radiation to target specific human tissues. RF can aid with dry eye by breaking up waxy deposits in the eye, unblocking meibomian glands, and lowering inflammation. To help treat MGD, RF may occasionally be used in addition to IPL therapy.

Despite being thought to be safe, a small study from 2023 that included 33 patients treated for dry eye using IPL and RF revealed that one patient experienced conjunctivitis following four treatments. The authors noted that this was not likely connected to RF-IPL therapy. There were no other side effects noted.

Amniotic membrane grafting (AMG)

Placental tissues are used during the AMG technique to reconstruct the body. AMG is utilised for several functions outside of the eye, including urology and dentistry.

AMG involves making an implant to cover your eye in cases of dry eye. The goal is to lessen the symptoms of dry eyes and shield the cornea from harm.

Although doctors believe AMG to be safe for treating dry eye, there are some drawbacks to the treatment, including the potential for implant failure and infections.

At-home devices for dry eye syndrome

Some natural treatments, such as warm compresses, might lessen the discomfort of dry eyes. You could also think about the following helpful at-home gadgets.

Eye masks

To help seal in moisture for patients with dry eye syndrome, some doctors advise utilising an eye mask, also known as moisture goggles, in addition to medicated ointment. This approach is typically used at night, and it can be heated up like a compress.

The price and accessibility of these masks and goggles are drawbacks. When considering heated compresses, for instance, they are typically more costly and less widely available.

Humidifier

Dry eye syndrome is frequently made worse by wind and dry air. A humidifier can be used inside to assist lessen dry eye in your house or place of business. These are particularly useful in the winter when the air becomes even drier due to the possibility of a heater operating.

Wrap-around glasses

Since you have little control over the dry, windy, or cold weather outside, wearing wrap-around glasses could help lessen the impact of the elements on your symptoms of dry eyes. Wrap-around sunglasses, as opposed to regular ones, lessen the possibility of wind drying out your eyes.

Dry eye syndrome symptoms

Typical signs of dry eye syndrome include:
  • stinging, hurting, and irritated eyes
  • grittiness, or the sensation of having something lodged in your eye
  • redness
  • stringy mucus around your eyes
  • blurry vision
  • excess tear production
  • sensitivity to light

When to contact a doctor

As you age, it's normal for your eyes to produce fewer tears. Because of the hormonal changes that occur during menopause, women may be more vulnerable to dry eye syndrome.

Consult a doctor about medical treatments for dry eye if over-the-counter artificial tears or at-home gadgets don't alleviate your symptoms.

If you have a medical problem that could lead to dry eyes, you should also think about seeing a doctor. Occasionally, treating the underlying medical issue can help with the symptoms of dry eyes. Among the possible reasons for dry eyes are:
  • MGD
  • blepharitis
  • lupus
  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • ectropion or entropion
  • recent refractive eye surgery
  • rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
  • thyroid disease
  • long-term contact lens wear
  • being near cigarette smoke
  • regular use of screens on computers
  • Certain drugs, including those for anxiety and depression, allergies, high blood pressure, and heartburn


FAQs

What is the medical device for dry eyes?

Using focused heat and pressure on your eyes can help reduce inflammation connected to MGD, which may be the cause of your dry eye condition. This is known as thermal pulsation therapy. iLux and Lipiflow are the two types of thermal pulsation therapy devices that are now available.

Is there a medical procedure for dry eyes?

Several simple in-office techniques, including Lipiflow, TearCare, and thermal pulsation, can open up blocked oil glands and replenish your tear film's healthy oil layer. If this will help with the kind of dry eye condition you have, your doctor can evaluate it.

Which of the following procedures is a common treatment for dry eyes?

Using small silicone plugs, known as puncttal plugs, to seal the tear duct openings is one method of treating dry eyes. The tiny hole (punctum) in the inner corner of your upper and lower eyelids is sealed by these plugs. Both your natural tears and any artificial ones you may have added are preserved by the closure.



Takeaway

Taking care of your dry eyes is essential to keeping your eyes moisturised. Treating dry eye not only lessens symptoms but also lowers your chance of consequences including corneal damage.

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