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In accordance with the regulatory governing body of Optometry in Manitoba, masks are still REQUIRED by all staff and patients entering the office.

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Punctal Plugs

If you suffer from dry, burning, irritated or itchy eyes, you may have dry eye syndrome. Dry eye syndrome is a condition where your eyes either don’t produce enough tears or produce low-quality tears that can’t keep your eyes adequately hydrated. Sometimes the meibomian glands, which produce the oily layer of your tears, found inside your eyelid don’t function properly or are blocked, causing your tears to dry out.

If your tear ducts are blocked, your eye doctor may suggest punctal plugs.

What Are Punctal Plugs?

Punctal plugs are small devices that are inserted into the tear ducts — the puncta — of the eyelids. Another type of plug is inserted into the tear duct, the canaliculus, at a deeper level.

Puncta are small openings in your eyes that drain tears. The plug, which is about the size of a grain of rice, prevents fluid from flowing from the eyes. This ensures that the maximum amount of tears remain on the eyes at all times, resulting in less itching, burning, and redness.

Two Types of Punctal Plugs

Temporary/dissolving plugs

Temporary/dissolving plugs are made of a material, such as collagen, that the body absorbs over time. These plugs can last anywhere from a few days to several months in the eye. After refractive surgery, such as LASIK, temporary plugs are frequently used to keep the eye moist. They can also be used to test out punctal plugs to see if they provide dry eye relief.

Semi-permanent plugs

Semi-permanent plugs are composed of medical plastic, such as silicone or acrylic, that lasts longer. These plugs are made to stay in the eye for years. Your eye doctor can remove them, if necessary.

Another sort of semi-permanent punctal plug is inserted in the canaliculus, which is a deeper section of the tear duct. Once in the eye, these plugs are completely invisible.

How Are Punctal Plugs Inserted?

Your eye doctor will first inspect your eye to determine the optimum type and size of plug for your eyes.

Anesthesia may be used to numb your tear ducts. However, in some cases, you may not need to have your eyes numbed. As the punctal plug is inserted into your eyelid, you may feel some pressure.

After the plugs are inserted, you should be able to resume your normal activities at once.

When and How are Punctal Plugs Removed?

How to remove the plugs and when will depend on which plugs are inserted.

To remove silicon plugs from the tear ducts, your eye doctor will use forceps to gently pull the plugs out. Another option for removing these plugs is to use a saltwater solution to flush them out. The plugs are forced out of the tear ducts and into the nose or throat during this procedure.

Surgery is usually required to remove plugs that are deeper in the tear duct (in the canaliculus).

For most people, punctal plugs don’t cause any problems. However, if you have any eye pain, itchiness, or fear you have an infection, contact your eye doctor right away. The eye doctor will examine your eyes and remove the plugs if necessary.

Are Punctal Plugs for You?

Consult your eye doctor if artificial tears or other eye drops have failed to relieve your dry eye symptoms. If blocked tear glands are the culprit, your doctor might advise you to try punctal plugs. For more information regarding punctal plugs contact Dry Eye Services at Family Optical today!

Our practice serves patients from Winnipeg, Grande Pointe, Lorette, and Oak Bluff , Manitoba and surrounding communities.
Book Online
Call Our Two Locations!
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Autologous Serum Eye Drops for Severe Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry eye syndrome is a chronic lack of moisture in the eye caused by insufficient tears or poor tear quality. It can lead to irritation and, left untreated, can damage your corneas. While artificial tears and lubricating drops help the majority of patients, others continue to search for relief, especially if their dry eye syndrome is severe. Autologous serum eye drops (ASED) are a possible treatment for intransigent cases of dry eye.

What are Autologous Serum Eye Drops?

Autologous means that the donor and the recipient are the same person. In this case, Autologous Serum Eye Drops (ASED) are made from a patient’s own blood. These drops are found to be highly effective and well-tolerated. They consist of ingredients that artificial tears can’t replicate. They promote healthy growth and healing of the ocular surface ( the cornea) and contain antibodies, albumin, Vitamin A, and special growth factors important for healthy eyes known as epidermal growth factors.

ASEDs are not tear substitutes and are often used alongside other dry eye treatments such as artificial tears, lubricating eye drops and in-office treatments provided by some optometrists for dry eye.

How are Autologous Serum Eye Drops Made?

Autologous serum eye drops are created by drawing a very small amount of your blood into a sterile tube and allowing the blood to clot for at least 10 hours.

The blood is then spun for 15 minutes so the serum is separated. The blood serum is collected, combined with sterile saline and divided into several small dropper bottles. The serum to saline ratio varies according to your doctor’s assessment of the severity of your dry eye. The serum is not red; it is clear, like other eye drops.

This process takes up to three hours. You usually receive several months’ supply of drops, depending on your dosing frequency.

The prepared eye drops are placed in the freezer to maintain optimal freshness and remove the risk of harmful microorganisms growing for up to 6 months.

The serum drops create a lubricating fluid rich in certain nutrients and growth factors that may be missing in very dry eyes.

What Do Autologous Serum Eye Drops Cost?

ASED are not FDA approved because they are a blood product and not a pharmaceutical; most health insurance policies do not cover the treatment. Medications that have attained FDA approval receive government and health insurance funding to lower their cost to patients. For this reason, ASED are priced higher than traditional eye drops, but are considered life-changing for many patients.

How Long Does it Take to Notice Improvement?

Most patients experience a noticeable reduction of their dry eye symptoms within 2 weeks of starting ASED therapy.

If you suffer from dry eye syndrome, and have been frustrated trying to find relief for dry eye, we recommend you consider ASED. Contact Dry Eye Services at Family Optical to learn more about ASED and how they can change the way you see.

Our practice serves patients from Winnipeg, Grande Pointe, Lorette, and Oak Bluff , Manitoba and surrounding communities.

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Vitamins and Foods That Relieve Dry Eye Syndrome

Approximately 16 million Americans have dry eye syndrome. Symptoms of dry eye—other than the obvious eye dryness—include grittiness, burning, irritation and difficulty reading or looking at a screen for long periods of time. Studies have shown that certain foods help the eyes stay properly hydrated.

Specific vitamins, fatty acids and trace elements are good not only for our overall health but also for our tear film.

Omega Fatty Acids For Dry Eye

Omega fatty acids are responsible for forming the stabilizing oil layer in the tear film. If this outer layer of the lubricating film is disrupted, it can lead to dry eye symptoms like burning, redness and itchiness. In addition, omega fatty acids have an anti-inflammatory effect.

Foods high in omega fatty acids include:

  • Fish. cod, mackerel, salmon, trout
  • Meat. red meat, pork liver
  • Oils. canola oil, rapeseed oil, sunflower oil, walnut oil,
  • Other animal products. cheese, eggs

Vitamins for Dry Eye

Below is a list of vitamins that help with dry eye and boosts general eye health.

  • Vitamin A (retinol) helps protect the surface of the eye. Vitamin A deficiency, which usually occurs in developing countries, can cause an increase in dry eye. By adding foods rich in Vitamin A, like carrots, pumpkins, apricots, spinach, tomatoes, dairy products and liver, you can prevent the development of this condition.
  • Vitamin B2 protects your eyes from cell damage. It is found in broccoli, avocados, dairy products and whole-grain products.
  • Vitamin B6 is needed for a healthy tear film. Foods such as kale, potatoes, goose, mackerel, salmon and sardines contain high doses of vitamin B6.
  • Vitamin B12 is also important for lubricating the eyes. It’s typically found in mackerel, beef liver, calf’s liver and pork liver. It is also found in dairy products and eggs, though in smaller amounts.
  • Vitamin C protects against oxidative stress and plays an important role in maintaining a functioning tear film. It can be found in peppers, broccoli, rosehip, acerola berries and brussels sprouts.
  • Vitamin E is necessary to protect your eyes against cell damage as well as dry eye. This vitamin is prominently found in sunflower oil, mackerel, wheat germ oil, peppers, spinach, mangos and redcurrants.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin

Lutein and zeaxanthin are antioxidants that help cells function correctly and stay healthy. They help prevent many chronic eye diseases, including dry eye syndrome. Foods rich in these antioxidants include leafy greens like romaine lettuce, kale and spinach. They are also available as supplements.

Zinc for Eye Health

Zinc plays an important role in keeping your eyes healthy. This mineral is responsible for getting vitamin A from your liver to your retina and produces melanin, a pigment that protects your eyes. Dairy, whole grains, nuts, sweetcorn, peas and lentils are all excellent sources of zinc.

Drink Water to Hydrate Your Eyes

Lastly, drink water. While it may seem obvious, many of us forget to drink enough water. Staying hydrated can help improve eye comfort and is vital for your kidneys, bowels and radiant-looking skin.

Eating healthy and staying hydrated helps to ensure your eyes get the vitamins and minerals they need. So go ahead and protect your vision, improve eye health and relieve your dry eye symptoms by adding these nutrients to your diet. However, remember to always consult your eye doctor before taking any supplements.

Contact Dry Eye Services at Family Optical to learn more and to explore our effective and lasting treatments to relieve your dry eyes so you can live your best life.

Our practice serves patients from Winnipeg, Grande Pointe, Lorette, and Oak Bluff , Manitoba and surrounding communities.
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Call Our Two Locations!
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Eye Drops for Dry Eyes

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Eye Drops for Dry Eyes: Why You Should See Your Eye Doctor

Effectively managing a health condition like dry eye syndrome (DES) requires a thorough diagnostic and treatment process. So why do so many people find themselves pacing up and down the eye drop aisle at their local drug store, searching for yet another eye drop to ease their symptoms?

Knowing exactly what’s causing your symptoms and how to treat the condition at its source is the only way to attain long-lasting relief. At Dry Eye Services at Family Optical, we do more than just treat the symptoms — we determine the underlying cause of your DES and get to the root of the issue.

Do You Have Dry Eye Syndrome?

DES is a progressive eye condition that affects over 20 million North Americans annually. It is caused by either poor tear quality or insufficient tears.

The most common cause of poor tear quality is a condition called Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), a blockage of the meibomian glands — the tiny glands at the edge of the eyelids that secrete an oily film into your tears.

Some medical conditions that can cause decreased tear production include Sjogren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, scleroderma, thyroid conditions, and lupus. Aging and a vitamin A deficiency can also lower tear production.

Symptoms of DES range from mildly uncomfortable to debilitating, and can include:

  • Red eyes
  • Dry eyes
  • Painful or irritated eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Itchy eyes
  • Fatigued eyes
  • Burning eyes
  • Blurred vision

DES can make it difficult for the eye to flush out foreign bodies, so sand, grit and allergens sometimes get stuck in the eye.

Why Do People Use Over-the-Counter (OTC) Eye Drops?

beautiful eyesGiven how uncomfortable dry eye symptoms can be, it’s no surprise that dry eye sufferers seek relief using over-the-counter drops. People with DES may not realize that they should visit their eye doctor rather than seek solutions on their own.

Some eye doctors recommend using OTC eye drops to temporarily treat mild symptoms until the condition naturally heals. For example, after an eye injury or surgery, many find that lubricating eye drops soothe the eyes and provide moisture.

But not all eye drops are created equal. People with mild to moderate cases of DES who seek relief from OTC solutions may be choosing the wrong types of drops or dosage for their eyes.

The three main categories of non-prescription eye drops are:

  • Lubricating eye drops/artificial tears
  • Antihistamine eye drops
  • Redness-reducing eye drops

Masking a mild case of DES by using redness-reducing eye drops (also called decongestant eye drops) won’t address the underlying source of the redness. In fact, decongestant eye drops have been shown to exacerbate DES symptoms in the long run.

What’s more, your eyes can eventually become [desensitized] to the effects of OTC eye drops after repeated use. This eventually leads people back to the drugstore in search of even stronger eye drops, perpetuating the never-ending “eye drop cycle.”

End the Vicious Eye Drop Cycle

Experiencing continual eye irritation indicates the need for professional eye care. An optometrist will isolate the cause of your DES and use their expertise to find the most effective treatment for lasting relief.

Even if you have a mild case of dry eye syndrome, now is the perfect time to start treatment, before symptoms worsen. If you’ve sought help in the past but were told nothing else could be done to treat your eye condition, speak with Dr. Dale Mulhall, Dr. Terry Falconer, Dr. Alyson Sas and Dr. Colleen Mulhall regarding the latest and most effective dry eye treatments.

If you’re ready to end the cycle of getting over-the-counter eye drops without lasting relief, contact Dr. Dale Mulhall, Dr. Terry Falconer, Dr. Alyson Sas and Dr. Colleen Mulhall for a dry eye evaluation.

Our practice serves patients from Winnipeg, Grande Pointe, Lorette, and Oak Bluff , Manitoba and surrounding communities.

REFERENCES

Book Online
Call Our Two Locations!
Read More About Dry Eyes
Finding Relief for Dry Eye Thumbnail.jpg

An Overview of Dry Eye Symptoms and Causes

dry eye treatments Thumbnail.jpg

What Treatments Can Relieve Dry Eye Syndrome?

Read Our Latest Posts
The Link Between Dry Eyes and Depression 640×350 1.jpg

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Dry Eye Air Travel Tips 640×350 1.jpg

5 Ways to Prevent Dry Eyes During Air Travel

Whats The Link Between Dry Eye And Accutane 640×350 1.jpg

What’s The Link Between Dry Eye and Accutane (Acne Medication)

Blinking Exercises 640×350 1.jpg

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Call Our Two Locations!