Dry Eye Treatment

Dry Eyes Icon by Brisbane Ophthalmologist Dr David Gunn.

Why is my eye dry & sore?

Dry eye is an extremely common condition. This can be due to the eyes not making enough tears or the tears being poor quality. This is a chronic condition that will get better or worse at different times and may depend on the environment. Being female, increasing age and other eye or eyelid problems can bring the dry eye on. There is no cure, and the central concept in dry eye is managing the symptoms and stopping the disease from getting worse.

What can trigger my dry eye symptoms?

When you are reading or performing a visual task your eyes blink less and can get more sore. Air conditioning or a windy environment can also make things worse. Often after eye surgery patients will get dry eye symptoms, these usually settle with time.

Sometimes my vision gets blurred, is this normal?

Unfortunately this is a very normal problem in dry eye. The front of the eye (the cornea) should be a clear window. When the tear film is dry or patchy, the vision can come and go with blinking like the windscreen wipers on a car.

Image of Intense Pulsing Laser (IPL) as a treatment for dry eyes by Brisbane Ophthalmologist Dr David Gunn.

What are the options for treatment?

The main arms of treatments are:

  • Tear film replacement – this involves putting in preservative free eye drops during the day and sometimes using a thicker ointment at night to heal the eye

  • Eyelid treatment – inflamed eyelids or “blepharitis” can cause the tear film to be unstable and make the eyes more red and sore. Dr Gunn will assess if this is the case and give you a treatment plan – this usually involves daily eyelid scrubs, and in some cases IPL eye treatment (intense pulsed light). Dr Gunn may also prescribe a course of antibiotics to help the eyelids.

  • LipiFlow - QEI are one of very few practices in Australia to have access to the ground breaking LipiFlow treatment. This is a 12 minute non invasive treatment to eyelids that has been shown to reduce dry eye symptoms by 50% for 1-2 years. https://tearscience.com/lipiflow/

  • Intense Pulse Light - QEI we have access to IPL (intense pulsed light) treatments which are another avenue to improve symptoms of meibomian gland disease

  • Punctal plugs – tears can be made to stay in the eye for longer by blocking the normal drainage pathway. Extremely small silicone plugs can be inserted into the drain (or “punctum”) on the inner part of the eyelids. If this provides relief, the punctum can be closed with a very small procedure in the clinic.

  • Fish Oil Tablets – omega three tablets can potentially improve symptoms in some patients and are worth trialing for 3 – 6 months.

  • Medicated eye drops – for more severe dry eye, medicated eye drops may be required such as steroids, immunomodulatory and hormone type drops.

As a corneal specialist, Dr Gunn has special interest and understanding in the treatment of dry eye. He will work with you through the various treatment options to try and help get on top of your symptoms.