Tis' the season for dry eye

By John L. Henahan,
OD, FAAO
Special to The Citizen

Winter is the season for celebration. The joy of Christmas trees, stockings and fires crackling in the hearth make the season bright. Unfortunately for many people, the colder weather and drier air also leads to a flare up in their dry eye symptoms, according to Dr. John L Henahan at Spectrum Eyecare in Peachtree City.

The good news is that the treatment options for dry eye continue to evolve.

“We use a staged approach to treating dry eye to find maximum relief of dry eye without over treating”, continued Dr. Henahan. “We also firmly believe in using natural therapy whenever possible, and we resort to prescription medications only when necessary.”

Advances in Treatment

Of the big advances in 2010 in treating dry eye, perhaps none is more exciting than a new contact lens that secretes a moisturizing compound as it is worn. This breakthrough product uses the most effective moisturizing compound used in eye drops for treating dry eye. Since contact lens wearers are among those who most commonly suffer from dryness problems, this exciting lens can represent a real breakthrough. Imagine a contact lens that corrects your vision and secretes artificial tears all day.

Another exciting development is in the arena of topical foams that reduce dry eye caused by blepharitis, which creates symptoms due to inflammation in the eyelid. This hygiene regimen is especially powerful when combined with nutritional intervention such as vitamins and fish oil capsules.
A simple in office procedure, called punctal plugs can provide almost immediate relief for a majority of patients with chronic dry eye. It is often a first line treatment due to it’s ease, the fact that it is covered by most insurance companies, and it’s simple “set it and forget it” nature.

Smart Strategies for Treating Dry Eye

Before undergoing treatment for dry eye, patients should ask themselves some simple questions, reported Dr. Henahan. “Do you drink adequate amounts of water every day? Do you eat a healthy diet or is your diet overloaded with fried foods and products loaded with High Fructose Corn Syrup? Are you having other symptoms, that might be associated with thyroid problems? Finally, if you are on any number of different medications including anti-histamines, birth control or hormone replacement therapy they could be playing a role in your symptoms.

In most cases, if you can make changes in these areas, your symptoms may be reduced. For many, these changes are not practical, in which case evaluation and treatment by your eye doctor is warranted.

Dr. John Henahan is a fellowship trained doctor of optometry practicing and living right here in Peachtree City with his wife and two sons. You may call his office at 770 487-0667 or visit him on the web at www.speceye.com.

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