Chronic dry eyes can have a negative impact on your overall quality of life. Fortunately, there are several treatments offered at our Nashville, TN practice that can alleviate the symptoms of dry eye syndrome, a condition that causes dry, itchy eyes.
Here, our team at Choate Eye Associates explores Restasis, Xiidra, and steroids, three of the most common medications used to treat the condition.
Simply stated, dry eye syndrome is caused by insufficient tear quality. This condition leads to eyes that are chronically dry, red, and irritated. Symptoms can range from mild to severe; in some cases, scarring of the cornea can develop.
Dry eye syndrome is incredibly common, especially in today’s world where computers, tablets, and smartphones are the norm. Consistently looking at these devices can compromise the production of tears, resulting in fatigued, sore, or burning eyes, among other things.
Fortunately, dry eye syndrome can be managed with the right treatments. As a first line of defense, your doctor may recommend artificial tears and decreased time in front of your digital devices.
In some cases, however, stronger medications are required to decrease the amount of inflammation in the eye. In fact, there is increasing evidence that suggests dry eye syndrome is a direct result of inflammation of the ocular surface. In the sections below, we will briefly explore Restasis, Xiidra, and steroids.
The active ingredient in Restasis is cyclosporine. Traditionally, cyclosporine has been administered to prevent the rejection of transplanted organs and to treat conditions such as psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis.
In ophthalmology, however, cyclosporine encourages natural tear production by clearing lymphocytes from the tear glands. Restasis is highly effective for many patients. However, it should be noted that this cyclosporine eye drop emulsifier typically takes between three and six months for the effects to be evident.
Restasis is typically administered two times per day, or as directed. Generally, no other eye drops or medications should be used during this time unless otherwise directed by your doctor.
Xiidra is a fairly new medication on the market designed to treat dry eye syndrome by reducing inflammation. The active ingredient in Xiidra is lifitegrast, which actively reduces T-cell activation and cytokine release. As a result, the natural production of tears is stimulated.
Like Restasis, Xiidra is typically recommended for use twice a day, around every 12 hours. If you are also using an ophthalmological ointment, be sure to apply the Xiidra drops first so they can effectively enter the eye. As always, vision could become blurred after using eye drops. If this occurs, it is important to wait several minutes for your vision to clear before driving or other important tasks.
While artificial tears work well for individuals with occasional dry eye symptoms, they simply are not effective enough for long-term use. Because inflammation can be a key factor in dry eye syndrome, corticosteroids are quite useful in treating the condition. In fact, several research studies have shown that short-term steroid use helps reduce or eliminate signs and symptoms of dry eye disease.
If you suffer from red, burning, itchy, irritated eyes, consider scheduling a consultation at Choate Eye Associates. We can help determine the root cause of your condition and recommend appropriate treatments to alleviate your discomfort. Call our office at (615) 851-7575 or contact us online anytime.