Dry-eye treatments have come a long way
If you’ve sought treatment for dry eye, especially if it was more than five years ago, you probably heard the following advice, or something like it: Use warm compresses and try different over-the-counter lubricating drops until you find one that works.
“Those were once the biggest things in our arsenal for treating dry eye,” says Dr. Lynne Roy, an optometrist. “But things have come a long way since then.”
Dr.Roy, co-founder of Drs. Roy & Associates in Brookfield, WI, saw how frustrated patients were with the old approach. It worked for some, but many remained plagued with the itchiness and discomfort that happens when eyes don’t produce their natural lubricants. She was frustrated, too. So, she pursued training in the diagnosis and treatment of dry eye, learned more and more, and decided to invest in diagnostic equipment. Today, Dr. Roy specializes in dry eye treatment and has a website, dryeyewi.com.
“The knowledge around dry eye keeps evolving and expanding,” she says. “As I and others treat more patients and share information, patterns emerge, and paradigms are shifting.”
A Complicated Diagnosis
The eye is a complicated organ and lots of things need to work properly for the eyeball to be lubricated. If one thing goes wrong, you could develop irritation, eye fatigue, headaches, fluctuating vision and more.
Because a complex array of causes can be responsible for these symptoms, the term “dry eye” covers a vast range of ailments and conditions. Each cause and condition calls for a different treatment. When lubricating drops and compresses can’t help, Dr. Roy recommends treatments like thermal pulsation, light therapy and Autologous Blood Serum Eye Drops.
“So, when a patient complains about dry eye, you start by trying to assess the thing that’s going wrong,” says Dr. Roy. Her path to diagnosis is an investigative process Sherlock Holmes would appreciate.
Step 1: Your medical history
This starts with a review of your medical and eye health history, the medications you are on and any chronic conditions that could be contributing to the problem. Certain diseases and medications are linked to dysfunctions of the glands that help lubricate the eye. Determining if any of these are a factor will help zero in on a solution.
Step 2: Your specific symptoms and lifestyle habits
Certain occupations or activities could also be the culprit. Learning more about these and about your specific symptoms will further narrow down the causes. Are your eyes drier in the morning or later in the day? How much time do you spend on digital devices? What is your occupation? What cosmetic products do you use? This can help determine if, for instance, your eye isn’t blinking enough due to the time you spend staring at a computer screen. Or you might be using a cosmetic product that’s linked to gland damage.
Step 3: Imaging
The first or second steps can trigger a treatment. If not – or if the first treatment isn’t sufficient – Dr. Roy enlists technology. A variety of imaging tools and techniques can be used to take a detailed, up-close look at the eye. For instance, meibography investigates the structure of the meibomiam gland, which produces one critical component of natural tears. A biomicroscope (also called a slit lamp) offers a detailed look at the eye’s outer surface as well as the cornea, which can offer still more clues.
Why Use Serum Tears?
Autologous Blood Serum Eye Drops, commonly called serum tears or serum drops, are generated from a person’s own blood and contain many of the same components found in natural tears, such as vitamins, structural proteins, enzymes and growth factors. “The big difference between serum tears and lubricating drops is that serum tears are actually designed to heal the eye’s surface,” says Dr. Roy. Lubricating drops, on the other hand, treat the symptoms of many dry-eye conditions, but don’t tackle the underlying cause.
Serum drops are especially well suited to conditions that affect the cornea. “If the cornea is in tough shape I will generally reach for the serum tears right away,” Dr. Roy says. “If someone is going to have cataract surgery, I’ll reach for the serum tears.”
The reason? “Serum tears tend to rehab the cornea quicker because of all that good stuff in them – human growth factors to facilitate repair.”
Conditions such as keratitis – inflammation of the clear dome on the front surface of the eye – respond well to serum tears, which have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits. And, when prepared without preservatives, they don’t introduce any foreign substances that might cause irritation.
An effective, affordable option
Innovations in the process of creating serum tears have made this treatment easier to access and more affordable. ARCPoint Labs of Milwaukee North uses technology that meets high-quality standards for serum tears compared to other methods.
Dr. Roy recommends serum tears like the ones ARCPoint produces: mixed with a sterile, non-preserved saline and without preservatives or additional lubricating drops added. “It’s important that whoever makes the serum tears is actually doing it the correct way.”
ARCPoint’s serum tears are processed on-site and are typically available the same day you request them. And, because ARCPoint’s sterile process reduces the amount of equipment needed and the number of steps required, those savings can be passed along to clients.
Ask your doctor if serum tears are right for you or call ARCPoint for more information at (262) 923-8386.
To learn more about Dr. Lynne Roy and her practice, visit www.royvision.com.