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Dr. Kayla Bechthold Blog: Is there anything new to treat my dry eye?

Dry Eye is a very common problem. According to the National Health and Wellness survey, 16.4 million people have been diagnosed with it. Symptoms include blurriness, itching, burning, watery eyes, and foreign body sensation. These are often exacerbated by activities such as reading, driving, computer work, wind, cold, or sun. Certain medications make dry eye worse. Viral infections (such as COVID 19) can make dry eye symptoms worse as well.

A normal tear film consists of 3 layers: a mucin layer that keeps tears attached to the front surface of the eye; a liquid layer that is made by the lacrimal gland, containing anti-inflammatory components and immune system agents; and a lipid layer, made by oil glands, or meibomian glands, in the eyelids. An issue with any layer of the tear film can cause dry eye. Most times more than one component of the tear film is affected.

It is important to determine what layer or layers of the tear film are being affected, and gear treatment toward that issue. Seeing an eye doctor that specializes in dry eye is key.

There is no cure for dry eye. However, with proper treatment dry eye can be managed.

Our dry eye evaluation can be started on the same day as your eye exam. Follow up visits are required, and are billed to your medical insurance, as they are a medical issue.

We use a stepwise process to treat your dry eye, starting with the least invasive and most cost effective.

· Artificial tears, with different formulations depending on your tear assessment.

· Prescription eye drops that help you create your own tears.

· Plugs that help keep your tears in your eyes longer.

· Manual meibomian gland expressions to allow the oil glands to function properly.

· A Bruder mask can ease the use of warm compresses. It is a mask that heats up in the microwave and stays warm for 15-20 minutes to thin thickened meibomian gland secretions.

· High dose fish oil, triglyceride form with 860 EPA and 580 DHA formulation

If you have already tried these options and your eyes are still dry and irritated, oral medications may be needed. Ilux may also be a great option if the meibomian gland function is found to be one of the main causes of your dry eye.

Ilux is a device that heats the oil in the meibomian glands and uses gentle expression to remove the thickened oil. We prefer that you are taking a high dose fish oil (if you can) for at least 2-3 weeks before the procedure to ensure the new oil your glands will make is normal.

Please do not wear eye make up to your appointment and expect the lids to look a little red for 2-3 hours after.

The procedure lasts for 6 months to a year. Ilux is not covered by insurance, but HSA or Flex benefits can be used to pay for the procedure. Our office fee for Ilux is $350.00, for both eyes.

Dr. Bechthold or Dr. Jensen will do a through evaluation to see if you are a candidate. For more information on Ilux, follow the link below:

Drs. Bechthold and Jensen have over 60 years of experience in diagnosing and treating dry eye. If you have been suffering from dry eye syndrome, please call us today for an appointment.


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