Dry eyes are a common problem. Computer use, low humidity environments (such as Southern Alberta) advancing age and certain medications can make this condition worse. We have various treatments to help relieve the symptoms of dry eyes depending on the type of dry eye and specific cause.
One of the more frequently seen causes of dry eye is an inflammatory condition known as meibomianitis. The eyelids carry an oily fluid (meibum) that helps keep your tears on the surface of the eye by preventing evaporation. In meibomianitis the glands that contain this oily fluid are inflamed, causing a problem with the oil entering the tear film on the surface of your eyes. This oil is often very thick, like toothpaste, and gets stuck up in the eyelids instead of getting pumped out onto the surface of your eyes with each blink.
One of the treatments we recommend for meibomianitis is warm compresses. These should be applied to the closed eyelids for 5 minutes at a time, two or three times daily. This softens the beneficial oils in the eyelids, allowing them to enter the tear film, preventing evaporation of tears and reducing the symptoms of dry eyes. Warm compresses can be applied using a variety of methods, but it can be difficult to get an even level of heat across the eyelid surface for the duration of the treatment. A new product that has worked very well for our patients is the Bruder Mask. This is a heat mask developed specifically for those with dry eyes from meibomianitis. The soft fabric mask contains special beads that, when heated in the microwave, emit a warm, moist heat for the full 5 minutes required at each application. Simply pop the Bruder Mask in your microwave for 20-25 seconds on high, apply the mask (test first to ensure not too hot) over your closed eyelids and lay back and relax.
The Bruder Mask may be recommended alone or in combination with other treatments to help relieve symptoms of dry eye. Come and see us for an appointment if you suffer from dry eyes for an examination with one of our eye doctors. We will advise you as to the treatments that would work best for your specific condition.