Chronic dry eye is defined by lack of tear production in the eyes for a long period of time. In most cases, the symptoms might settle or worsen but do not completely subside.
The reason for this is rapid evaporation of tears. In some cases, it is brought about by inflammation in or around the eye. Remember that this type of dry eye is often due to an underlying condition. Some of the conditions that contribute to the condition include skin diseases near the eyes, allergies or issues with the eye glands.
Management of chronic dry eye
- Medications – the doctor might prescribe various oral medications in treating dry eye. Antibiotics are given to stimulate the production of oil in the glands around the eyes. These drugs are given as a pill or as eye drops. If the cause is inflammation, anti-inflammatory antibiotics are given. Cyclosporine might also be given which suppresses the immune system.
- Eye drops – these are commonly used in managing chronic dry eye, especially the anti-inflammatory variants. These eye drops reduce the inflammation on the eye surface to allow the tears to stay longer.
- Eye inserts – these are miniature, clear tubes of medication that go into the eye in the same way as contacts. The inserts are placed in between the eyeball and lower eyelid. The medication is released throughout the day to keep the eye moist.
Aside from prescription medications, some procedures are used in treating chronic dry eye such as:
- Closing of the tear ducts – in cases that do not respond to traditional measures, the doctor might suggest this procedure to allow the tears to stay longer in the eye.
- Specialized contacts – relief can be provided by using scleral or bandage contact lenses. These are created to protect the eye surface and prevent moisture from escaping.
- Dealing with the oil glands – the doctor might suggest a procedure where a small cup is placed over the eye. Warm water can flow over the eye for 15 minutes to clear any blocked oil gland.