- Deanna Nguyen, OD
Dry Eye Management During COVID
With shelter in place, now may be the best time to ramp up your dry eye regimen and give your eyes much needed self-care. As we find ways to spend our time at home, you may experience worsening dry eye symptoms especially with increased screen time.
Supplementing with artificial tears three times a day is a great way to adequately lubricate the surface of the eye. After proper hand washing, it’s recommended to use preservative free artificial tears such as Retaine MGD or Refresh Optive. These preservative free formulas are less toxic to the eyes with extended use and are more sanitary than multi-use bottles. Be sure to dispose of each vial 24 hours after breaking the seal. If your doctor has prescribed medicated eye drops such as Restasis or Xiidra, consistency is key with twice a day application.
One of the biggest contributors to dry eye syndrome is related to our eyes’ diminishing ability to produce oil in our tears. This is known as Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) and can occur with time, inadequate blinking, and inflammatory related conditions.
MGD is an abnormality of the meibomian gland within the eyelids which blocks the secretion of oils or when the oil they secrete is of poor quality. Without sufficient healthy oil production, tears evaporate quickly causing dry eye.
The mainstay treatment for MGD is consistent use of warm compresses in order to soften the meibum/oil in our eyelids. A microwavable eye compress mask such as the Ocusoft or the Bruder Eye Mask are great options as they allow for application of consistent and extended heat to the eye lids compared to the traditional wash cloth which tends to cool too quickly. Apply the warm compress for 10 minutes, twice a day. With extra time at home, it’s been easier to incorporate heat therapy into daily routines. They can be great accompaniment during meditation and while listening to podcasts. For increased hygiene, wrap your mask with thin tissue before applying to your face. Once shelter in place is lifted, more thorough in office treatments can be performed to deeply clear the glands such as TearCare and LipiFlow.
Research also shows consistent Omega 3 supplementation can reduce eyelid inflammation and improve the quality of our oily tear film which can lead to better eye comfort and more stable vision. 2,000 mg is the daily recommended dosage. Denny Eye & Laser Center remains committed to the care of your eye health. We encourage you to keep up with the recommended maintenance therapies and look forward to continuing our care for you and tailoring our dry eye treatments to your specific needs.