If you’re one of the millions of people worldwide suffering from dry eyes, you know that the constant discomfort and irritation can be unbearable. But did you know that there are a variety of treatment options available, including oculoplastic solutions for dry eyes? From surgical interventions to home remedies and prescription medications, there’s no need to suffer in silence. In this blog post, we’ll explore the latest dry eye treatments in 2023, including oculoplastic solutions for dry eyes, and provide you with the knowledge you need to find relief.

Key Takeaways

  • Oculoplastic treatments relieve dry eyes by addressing underlying causes through surgical options.
  • At-home remedies such as warm compresses, lid hygiene and artificial tears can help manage symptoms.
  • Professional help is recommended for severe cases. Preparation includes documenting symptoms and medical history before the appointment.

Oculoplastic Treatments for Dry Eyes

A person wearing protective eyewear to protect their eyes from dryness

Oculoplastic treatments offer a variety of surgical options to address the underlying causes of dry eyes. These treatments aim to improve tear production and retention, ultimately providing relief from persistent discomfort and irritation.

We will examine some of the most prevalent oculoplastic treatments such as eyelid surgery, punctal occlusion, and salivary gland transplantation.

Eyelid Surgery

Eyelid surgery is an effective oculoplastic treatment that can correct issues such as eyelid inflammation or malposition, which contribute to dry eye symptoms by affecting the oil glands. An oculoplastic surgeon can alter eyelid shape or size to enable tears to circulate around the eye, alleviating dry eye symptoms caused by conditions such as ocular rosacea. While there are potential risks of infection and scarring, the advantages of eyelid surgery include enhanced tear production, improved vision, and increased comfort.

If you’re experiencing severe dry eye symptoms, such as pain, redness, or blurred vision, it’s crucial to seek professional assistance. Your eye care specialist will be able to determine if eyelid surgery is the right treatment option for you, and guide you through the process to ensure the best possible outcome.

Punctal Occlusion

Punctal occlusion is a procedure that involves the use of plugs or cautery to close tear ducts, helping to retain tears on the eye’s surface. The process is quick and requires only numbing eye drops and a few minutes with an eye surgeon, who will use small forceps to correctly position the punctal plugs. In some cases, thermal cautery may be employed as a more permanent solution when punctal plugs are not appropriate or if a lasting solution is desired.

Punctal occlusion, which closes tear ducts and lessens tear drainage, can provide significant relief for those suffering from dry eyes. This treatment option is particularly helpful for those who have tried over-the-counter eye drops and other remedies without success, as it directly targets the underlying issue of tear retention.

Salivary Gland Transplantation

Salivary gland transplantation is a rare but effective procedure for severe dry eye cases, wherein damaged tear glands are replaced with salivary glands. Typically utilized for individuals suffering from cicatricial disorders or autoimmune conditions that attack mucous membranes, salivary gland transplantation can alleviate light sensitivity, the sensation of having something in the eye, and general eye pain.

Prior to undergoing the procedure, patients must work closely with their physician and ophthalmologist to ensure proper health management, including the use of general anesthesia. Though it may not be suitable for everyone, salivary gland transplantation offers a potentially life-changing solution for those struggling with severe dry eye.

Managing Dry Eye Symptoms at Home

A person using a warm washcloth to treat dry eye symptoms

While surgical treatments and prescription medications can be highly effective, many individuals with dry eye can find relief through simple at-home remedies.

This section covers the benefits of warm compresses, lid hygiene, artificial tears, and environmental factors in managing dry eye symptoms at home.

Warm Compresses and Lid Hygiene

Warm compresses, which involve applying heat to a specific area of the body, can be particularly beneficial for those suffering from dry eye. They work by:

  • Increasing blood flow
  • Decreasing pain
  • Promoting healing
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Improving oil flow to the eye

To make a warm compress, soak a clean washcloth in warm water and place it over your closed eyes for several minutes.

Maintaining proper lid hygiene is vital in managing dry eye symptoms alongside warm compresses. Regular eyelid washing can reduce the presence of bacteria and debris on the eyelids, reducing inflammation and promoting oil flow to the eye. To practice good lid hygiene, gently cleanse your eyelids with mild soap and warm water daily.

Artificial Tears and Lubricating Eye Drops

Artificial tears and lubricating eye drops temporarily relieve dry eye symptoms by helping stabilize the tear film and hydrate the ocular surface. These nonprescription products, also known as over-the-counter eye drops, can be an effective first line of defense against mild dry eye symptoms. When selecting a product, it’s important to consider preservative vs. non-preservative drops, as some individuals may be sensitive to the preservatives used in certain eye drops.

In addition to artificial tears, lubricating eye drops can be used to alleviate dry eye symptoms. These drops work by providing additional moisture to the outer surface of the eyes, helping to alleviate symptoms of dryness and irritation. However, bear in mind that some people may experience side effects like stinging, burning, or redness when using these products.

Protective Eyewear and Environmental Factors

Controlling environmental factors and wearing protective eyewear can play a significant role in minimizing dry eye symptoms. Protective eyewear, such as glasses or goggles, shields the eyes from potential irritants like dust, wind, and other harmful elements. Reducing exposure to these irritants with protective eyewear can help alleviate dry eye symptoms and keep the eyes moist.

In addition to protective eyewear, it’s important to address environmental factors that can contribute to dry eye symptoms. Maintaining a humid environment, avoiding exposure to irritants, and using humidifiers to increase indoor humidity can all help reduce dry eye symptoms. By taking these steps, you can create a more comfortable environment for your eyes and potentially reduce the need for additional treatments.

Prescription Medications for Dry Eye

A person using eye drops to treat dry eye symptoms

When at-home remedies and over-the-counter treatments aren’t enough, prescription medications may be necessary to target inflammation and stimulate tear production.

This section will cover the range of prescription eye drops for dry eye, which include anti-inflammatory treatments, cholinergic agents, and autologous serum eye drops.

Anti-Inflammatory Treatment

Anti-inflammatory treatments are crucial in managing dry eye symptoms by reducing inflammation and ocular surface damage in moderate to severe cases. Examples of anti-inflammatory treatments include Restasis, Cequa, and Eysuvis, which alleviate inflammation and promote tear production.

Before starting any anti-inflammatory treatment, consulting with a healthcare professional is vital due to potential side effects like stomach upset, nausea, and headaches. However, when used correctly, these treatments can offer significant relief for dry eye sufferers and improve overall eye health.

Cholinergic Agents

Cholinergic agents are another class of prescription medications used to treat dry eye. These drugs stimulate tear production and are available in various forms, such as eye drops, gels, or pills. Examples of cholinergic agents include pilocarpine and cevimeline.

While cholinergic agents can effectively treat dry eyes, the results may vary depending on the individual. Some of cholinergic agents’ most commonly observed side effects include eye irritation, redness, and impaired vision.

Like any medication, consulting with your eye care professional before starting a cholinergic agent is critical to ascertain it’s the right treatment for you.

Autologous Serum Eye Drops

An image of autologous serum eye drops bottle, one of the effective oculoplastic solutions for dry eyes

Autologous serum eye drops are a unique treatment option for severe dry eye cases when other treatments have failed. Made from the patient’s own blood, these eye drops replicate the biochemical properties of natural tears, promoting healing and alleviating dry eye symptoms.

The process of creating autologous serum eye drops involves the following steps:

  1. Take a sample of the patient’s blood.
  2. Process the blood in a centrifuge to separate the serum from other blood components.
  3. Mix the serum with a preservative.
  4. Package the serum into sterile containers for use as eye drops.

While autologous serum eye drops may not be suitable for everyone, they can provide significant relief for those struggling with severe dry eye, reducing inflammation and facilitating the healing of the ocular surface.

Specialty Contact Lenses for Dry Eye Relief

A person wearing specialty contact lenses to treat dry eye

For some individuals, specialty contact lenses can provide relief from dry eye symptoms by maintaining a stable tear film and protecting the ocular surface.

This section delves into the benefits of scleral lenses and custom soft lenses for those suffering from dry eyes.

Scleral Lenses

Scleral lenses are large, gas-permeable lenses that vault over the cornea and rest on the sclera, providing a reservoir of fluid to keep the eye moist. These lenses are specifically designed to accommodate the curvature of the eye, forming a space between the lens and the cornea that is filled with a saline solution, helping to keep the eye hydrated and comfortable.

The benefits of scleral lenses include a comfortable and secure fit, along with superior vision compared to traditional contact lenses. However, ensuring a correct fit for scleral lenses is critical, as an improper fit can lead to irritation and discomfort.

Additionally, proper cleaning and storage are essential to avoid the risk of infection.

Hybrid and Custom Soft Lenses

Hybrid and custom soft lenses are another option for those with dry eye and irregular corneas. Hybrid lenses combine a rigid gas permeable central zone with a soft or silicone hydrogel peripheral zone, offering clarity similar to rigid lenses and comfort comparable to soft lenses.

Custom soft lenses, on the other hand, are specifically designed to fit the unique shape and prescription of an individual’s eyes, providing a personalized and precise fit for optimal vision correction and comfort. Both hybrid and custom soft lenses offer a comfortable fit and improved vision for dry eye sufferers, and are more resilient than traditional soft lenses.

The fitting process for these lenses requires a comprehensive eye exam, corneal measurements, and a trial fitting, which may necessitate multiple visits to ensure the lenses fit correctly and deliver the desired visual correction.

When to Seek Professional Help

When severe dry eye symptoms persist, including blurry vision, or when home remedies and over-the-counter treatments are ineffective, seeking professional help is essential.

This section outlines the signs of severe dry eye and guides preparing for your appointment with an eye care specialist.

Signs of Severe Dry Eye

A person looking at a chart of severe dry eye symptoms

Severe dry eye can be identified by the following signs and symptoms:

  • Persistent discomfort
  • Redness
  • Changes in vision
  • Stinging, burning, or itchy sensation in the eyes
  • Stringy mucus in or around the eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Blurred vision

If you’re experiencing these symptoms and haven’t found relief through at-home remedies or over-the-counter treatments, it’s time to consult with an eye care professional. Once you’ve scheduled an appointment, your eye care specialist will perform a comprehensive evaluation to determine the cause of your dry eye symptoms and develop a customized treatment plan.

This may include specialized treatments or procedures such as eyelid surgery, punctal occlusion, or salivary gland transplantation.

Preparing for Your Appointment

Before your appointment, documenting your symptoms, medical history, and any treatments you’ve attempted is necessary. Create a list of your symptoms, as well as any questions or concerns you may have, to provide a comprehensive overview for your eye doctor. This information will help your eye care specialist better understand your condition and develop an effective treatment plan.

On the day of your examination, it’s recommended to:

  • Abstain from using eye drops and wearing eye makeup
  • Ensure that you get a full 8 hours of sleep prior to your appointment
  • Avoid straining your eyes to guarantee optimal performance during the evaluation.


In conclusion, there are numerous treatment options available for those suffering from dry eye, ranging from at-home remedies to surgical interventions and prescription medications. By exploring the various treatments outlined in this blog post, you can find relief from the persistent discomfort and irritation associated with dry eye. Don’t hesitate to seek professional help if your symptoms persist or worsen, as early intervention and proper treatment can significantly improve your quality of life.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the newest treatment for dry eyes?

The latest treatment for dry eyes is 100% perfluorohexyloctane (MIEBO; formerly known as NOV03, Novaliq/Bausch + Lomb), which has recently been granted FDA approval for use in 2023.

What is the best eye correction for dry eyes?

Given the potential risks associated with LASIK, the best option for correction of dry eyes is PRK. This procedure is tailored to individual patients based on their corneal thickness and levels of correction, leading to improved long-term comfort.

What can ophthalmologists do for dry eyes?

Ophthalmologists may recommend simple lifestyle changes to manage mild dry eye syndrome. Treatment options can include artificial tears or medicated eye drops, antibiotics for inflammation, punctal plugs to slow the drainage of tears, and cauterization for severe cases. They can also insert tiny plugs into tear-drainage ducts to help retain moisture and use tiny silicone or gel plugs (called punctal plugs) that can be removed later.

How much does LipiFlow cost?

LipiFlow typically costs between $700 and $1400, depending on whether you’re having one or both eyes treated.

What are 3 causes of dry eye?

Common causes of dry eye include an imbalance in the tear-flow system, hormonal changes due to menopause or pregnancy, prolonged reading or screen usage, and a dry climate.

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Photo graph of Dr. Conlon operating with loops on.

Dr. M. Ronan Conlon started his career in the field of ophthalmology at the same time as the development of refractive eye surgery in Canada. In 1996, he brought laser technology to Canada from Germany, which allowed him to perform laser eye surgery before it was available in the United States. With the establishment of the Conlon Eye Institute, Dr. Conlon has performed more than 40,000 refractive procedures and has advanced his expertise in LASIK and refractive cataract surgery.


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