Focus on Fundamentals
Discussing dry eye sensations and solutions to reduce the condition’s negative effects on a person’s vision and well-being doesn’t have to take place only in the exam room.
Dry eye sundry items are a great conversation starter in the optical. Offering these easy and salable solutions, accompanied with the expertise to explain their benefits, gives opticians and support staff the opportunity to get involved in the client’s eye care and can help to make eyeglasses more effective.
Dry Eye Sundries in the Optical
➤ Hot Compress Eye Masks: These masks are relaxing, easy to use, and effective for treating dry eye symptoms. They are often the first recommendation for individuals suffering from eye discomfort. They work by stimulating oil glands to liquefy the natural oils produced by the meibomian glands located along the eyelid margins. These oils are crucial for stabilizing the tear film and preventing the rapid evaporation of tears. Several different styles of hot compress masks exist:
- Microwaveable styles are filled with beads or flaxseeds, heat up easily in the microwave, and hold heat for a good treatment duration.
- Single-use, self-heating eye mask styles are packaged individually. They are quite foolproof as there is no risk of overheating them in the microwave. They offer convenience as they are light, compact, portable, and sterile.
- Multiuse, self-heating masks by TearRestore offer the unique option to see while wearing. Eye holes allow the wearer to engage in other tasks during the treatment time. This option is ideal for busy individuals, those who do not have a microwave, and wearers who value the reduced environmental impact of multiuse products.
- Electric styles have multiple temperature options and automatic timers so the wearer can choose different treatment lengths.
➤ Lid- and Lash-Cleansing Products: Cosmetics, pollen, and dirty eyelid margins can lead to blocked oil glands and cause dry eye symptoms. Correctly cleansing eyes and removing makeup with products specifically designed and formulated with ingredients with eye health in mind can ease dry eye sensations.
- Liquid and foaming cleansers are easy to use for patients of any age and can be integrated into a daily hygiene regimen. They can be applied with fingers or used with brushes.
- Single-use wipes are individually wrapped and premoistened with the product. They are convenient and travel-friendly and the application material is soft, sterile, and lint-free.
➤ Vitamins: Vitamins and supplements tailored specifically to reduce dry eye symptoms are available in pill and gummy form, with a focus on key ingredients such as vitamins A, B12, and D, and omega-3 fatty acids to promote healthy eyes and aid in reducing dry eye symptoms.
➤ Artificial Tears and Eye Drops: Most artificial tears and eye drops are available without a prescription. They can offer instant relief, if only temporarily, from the sensations of dry eye symptoms. Selecting brands and types available specifically in eye clinics offers greater control on quality and ingredients and can result in more effective dry eye relief.
Misconceptions about dry eye symptoms and how they affect a person’s vision can create misinformation and lead to obstacles in relief offered by simple take-home treatments.
Misconception: Dry eye doesn’t affect my vision.
Reality: If a patient’s prescription, eyeglasses, or contact lenses are not performing in providing clear vision, dry eye could be affecting the overall clarity. Dry eye symptoms can lead to intermittent blurred or fluctuating vision, glare, or halos around lights at night.
Misconception: Only older people get dry eye.
Reality: While aging can increase the risk, dry eye can affect anyone, regardless of age. Certain medications, environmental conditions, and underlying health issues can also contribute to dry eye in people of all ages.
Misconception: If your eyes water, you can’t have dry eye.
Reality: The patient may think dry eye means no tears, but dry eyes can cause excessive tearing as a response to irritation. The eyes might water as a reflex to the dryness and discomfort.
Misconception: Dry eye is just about not producing enough tears.
Reality: Poor tear quality or an imbalance in the composition of tears, insufficient oil in the tears, or faster evaporation of tears can cause dry eye.
Misconception: Using eye drops only when you experience discomfort is sufficient.
Reality: Using eye drops or artificial tears as needed might provide temporary relief, but managing dry eye often requires a consistent regimen as directed by an optometrist or ophthalmologist, even when symptoms aren’t present.
Misconception: Dry eye is not a serious condition.
Reality: While it might not seem severe compared with some eye conditions, untreated dry eye can cause discomfort, impact vision, and, in some cases, lead to complications like corneal damage or infections if left untreated.
Misconception: All eye redness means dry eye.
Reality: Redness can indicate various eye conditions or issues, including dry eye, but it’s not the sole indicator. Other symptoms and a comprehensive eye examination are necessary for an accurate diagnosis and treatment recommendation.