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At some point, nearly everyone experiences that gritty, uncomfortable feeling when their eyes become too dry. This is a very common disorder. It happens when your eyes don’t produce enough tears or the right quality of tears.

But for some people, dry eye is more than a temporary annoyance. It is an ongoing problem called “ocular surface disease” that requires frequent attention. There are many options to help people who experience dry eyes, including artificial tears, heat pads, and medicated eye drops. Additional treatments are explained below.

Intense Pulse Light Therapy

If you're suffering from dryness, irritation, stinging, or blurry vision, you may be experiencing dry eye or ocular surface disease. When your glands are not functioning properly, they may become blocked or inflamed. This reduces the quality and the quantity of the lipid layer of the tear film, and tears evaporate too quickly, leaving the surface of the eye exposed to much discomfort and damage. In Intense Pulse Light or IPL therapy, light is applied to the area around the eyelids. The heat generated by the light melts and thins the low-quality secretions that clog the glands.

Eyelid Repositioning Surgery

As the lower eyelid ages, it starts to droop as muscles weaken and skin loses elasticity. This can contribute to dryness of the eyes, excessive tearing, and redness. The purpose of eyelid repositioning surgery is to restore the normal position of the eyelid, improving these symptoms.

Permanent Punctal Occlusion

To help your eyes make longer use of your tears, you may consider having permanent punctal occlusion. Essentially, this closes off small funnel-like drain holes found in the inner corners of your upper and lower eyelids. The drain holes of the tear ducts, which are called puncta, can be closed with tiny plugs called punctal plugs. This can also be permanently closed with a cautery procedure.

Punctal Plugs

To increase tears in the eyes, tiny, punctal plugs are inserted into tear ducts to block drainage. This increases the surface moisture to help relieve certain forms of dry eye. These plugs are often no larger than a grain of rice. Punctal plugs are often used when eye drops fail to relieve your dry eye condition.

Scleral Contact Lenses

If you’re interested in wearing contact lenses, but have had trouble in the past, then scleral contact lenses may be right for you. The lenses are much larger than regular “hard” contact lenses and fit over the entire corneal surface and rest on the "white" of the eye (the sclera). Because of their size, scleral lenses are more stable on the eye than conventional lenses. This can be more comfortable than regular lenses, especially for sensitive eyes or irregularly shaped corneas.

Serum Tears

These tear drops have healing  properties beyond what is available in artificial tears.Serum tears are essentially eye drops made out of a patient’s blood. Serum is the somewhat clear fluid that remains after the cellular components are removed from the blood. Artificial tears are primarily salt and water, while serum tears have other ingredients, such as growth factors, that can help promote a healthier ocular surface In patients with very severe dry eye.