Many people suffer from severe dry eyes which become red and irritated and burn. Eye drops applied more than 10 times every day can alleviate the symptoms but are not a permanent fix. Those with this condition complain that it is a constant source of distraction which prevents them form concentrating.

Tears are made of oil and water, [and] when there’s not enough oil on the surface, the water evaporates 10- to 20-times faster leaving the surface of the eye chapped and dry. Dryness causes inflammation, which over time, can even cause infection.

A new method of treatment for dry eye was accidentally found while treating patients with Rosacea. IPL (intense pulsed light) therapy is commonly used to diminish the broken capillaries in the superficial layers of the skin which cause the flush of Rosacea and red veins on the face. When the Intense Pulse Light was applied near the eyelids, patients began to see an improvement in their dry eye condition. In several studies IPL was applied to the lower eyelids. Results showed the treatment unclogs inflamed and dormant glands that produce the oil part of tears. As the natural oil is produced by the treatment, it seeps from the oil glands in the eyelids into the tear film, so the tears don’t dry up and evaporate as quickly. People noticed that the redness was reduced and the dependency on eye drops starts to go away.

The problem with using eye drops for dry eyes is that it is similar to licking chapped lips…it only has a very temporary effect because it’s not going after the source of the problem. The source of the problem in this case is insufficient oil in the tear film. So if you use the artificial tears too often, whether it’s stuff designed to get the redness out, or the dry sensation, it can actually make the condition worse.

IPL-Laser treatment for dry eye was found to be effective for several months and up to 1 year. This 5 to 10 minute treatment is painless and causes very few side effects, the worst being some swelling of the area lasting a day or 2. Usually 1 to 2 sessions are required, but up to 4 may be needed for severe cases. Then treatments are done yearly for maintenance of the condition.

Treatments are performed in both Reading and Brookline. If you are not sure whether you have dry eye, please ask to schedule an appointment with Dr. Latina for an eye exam.