Dry Eye Treatment in Chicago, IL

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What is dry eye?

Dry eyes are more than just uncomfortable. Dry eye syndrome is known to cause blurry vision, itchiness, redness, excess tearing, and a host of other problems that interfere with your daily life. This condition can even put your vision at risk! If you have stinging or burning eyes on a regular basis, Wickerpark Eye Center takes a holistic approach to dry eye treatment. Dr. Daniel Tepper and our eye care team will start with conservative options that address the source of the problem. Many of our proven solutions like prescription eye drops, artificial tears, and warm compresses are both comfortable and gentle.

Once your treatment at our Chicago, IL, practice begins, you can enjoy long-lasting relief from dry eye syndrome. If you're ready to find out what options are available to you, schedule a comprehensive dry eye assessment in the Chicago area today.

What causes dry eye?

The fluid that covers the eyes is a mix of mucus, water, and fatty oils that play an important role in maintaining your eye health. Tears protect your eyes and keep them lubricated so you can see clearly. However, there are many reasons why you may notice a decrease in fluid production. These factors include age, genetics, hormone changes, health conditions, previous laser eye surgery, prescription medications (such as antidepressants), and even environmental factors and lifestyle choices. It's important for patients to be aware of their triggers and understand the underlying cause of their dry eyes before moving forward with treatment.

Who is a candidate for dry eye treatment?

Dry eye is a condition that affects millions of Americans each year. For many patients, dry eye syndrome is progressive, meaning that it may not subside on its own or through over-the-counter medications. This is one reason why early diagnosis and treatment at Wickerpark Eye Center is so critical. During an eye exam at our Chicago eye clinic, these symptoms may lead to a diagnosis of dry eye syndrome:

  • Eye redness
  • Scratchy or sensitive eyes
  • Difficulty wearing contact lenses
  • Blurred vision at night
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Frequent need to use eye drops

What to expect during dry eye treatment

The first step toward relief begins with the eye care team at Wickerpark Eye Center. Our office has a reputation for always respecting our patients’ schedules and their time. Your exam will include a conversation with one of our highly trained doctors, who will listen carefully as you describe your symptoms. We may recommend changes to your daily habits in addition to the following treatments:

Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) leads to dry eyes as it can cause blockages that prevent the thin layer of fluid that covers the outer surface of your eye from forming. LipiFlow warms and massages the inside of the eyelid to treat MGD by restarting healthy oil and tear production. The LipiFlow Thermal Pulsation System is an FDA-approved treatment that can deliver results a single visit. Before the treatment begins, we will administer anesthetic eye drops, then apply the LipiFlow device activators under and over the eyelids. The treatment starts by delivering a constant massaging pressure to the eyelid as it heats up to a temperature warm enough to break down the meibomian gland barriers. Finally, it cycles through various massaging pressures, which helps recover the natural flow of oil. The entire treatment usually takes less than 30 minutes to complete.

Eye Drops
Artificial tears and lubricating eye drops are generally a good solution for mild dryness resulting from computer use or other causes. If over-the-counter drops are not sufficient, we can prescribe medicated drops. These types can address swelling and inflammation as well.

Blephadex™ Eyelid Wipes
The eyelid wipes from Blephadex are preservative-free and use natural ingredients to relieve the symptoms of dry, itchy eyes without the burning or stinging sensation of other brands. Wipes are a convenient and simple method that can be incorporated into your daily hygiene routine.

Punctal Plugs
Punctal plugs are tiny devices placed in the tear ducts during an appointment. Plugs are made from dissolvable or semi-permanent materials and are made to stop tear drainage. We use extended duration punctal plugs, which are the most comfortable variety available.

Warm Compresses
If you suffer from blocked oil glands (meibomian glands), a warm compress can aid in dissolving blockages from under your eyelid. Warm compresses offer a safe and effective way to unclog oil glands and provide relief from the common condition known as meibomian gland disease.

Intense pulsed light (IPL) treatment can address dry eye issues associated with MGD. IPL liquefies the hardened oils clogging the meibomian glands in your eyelids. Intense pulsed light treatment also helps with the vascularization and inflammation of your eyelids, which in turn leads to healthy eyelid function.

Years of accumulated bacterial biofilm can lead to dry eye. BlephEx is a painless, in-office procedure that can effectively remove years of accumulated bacterial biofilm. After BlephEx treatment, your eyelids are both cleaner and healthier, allowing them to proceed with normal tear production.

Dry eye treatment FAQs

How can I prevent dry eyes?
If you have dry eyes, pay attention to potential triggers. If your eyes become irritated after wearing contact lenses for several hours, you may need to try a different type of lens. Wickerpark Eye Center can provide practical advice on how to lower the occurrence of dry eye symptoms. Additional tips include using a humidifier, staying hydrated, and wearing protective eyewear when outdoors.

What are the complications of dry eye?
Dry eye is a serious condition that can lead to dangerous side effects and complications. Untreated dry eye can raise your risk of eye infection, for example. This is because tears play an important role in protecting the eyes from the spread of dangerous bacteria. Severe cases of dry eye can lead to eye inflammation (conjunctivitis) and damage to the surface of your cornea.

Does insurance cover dry eye treatment?
Often, vision insurance will cover the costs of diagnosing and treating dry eyes. If you do not have vision insurance, you may have some out-of-pocket expenses. Your overall costs depend on several factors, including the severity of your symptoms and whether we need to perform additional tests. Our Chicago area team does everything we can to make your treatment effective and affordable.

What are some of the most significant risk factors for dry eye syndrome?
Prominent risk factors for dry eye syndrome include:

  • Older adult age (50 and up)
  • Being a woman
  • Smoking
  • Vitamin A or omega-3 deficiency
  • A dry environment, be it outside or inside
  • Wearing contact lenses
  • Previous refractive eye surgery

Can dry eye syndrome be cured?
Unfortunately, no cure exists for dry eye syndrome. However, it is not typically a serious condition. Wickerpark Eye Center is proud to offer several effective treatments for dry eyes, and we are confident we can find the right one for you.

How will I know what dry eye treatment is right for me?
The treatment recommended to you by Dr. Tepper or a team member will depend on the specific symptoms you are experiencing, the severity of your dry eyes, and further examination of your eyes. We offer treatments ranging from eye drops to laser procedures, and many more.

Manage your dry eye symptoms

If you suffer from dry eye syndrome, you are not alone. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, 3.2 million women and 1.6 million men over 50 suffer from dry eye syndrome and symptoms like stinging or burning eyes in the U.S. Get the treatment you need and find relief at Wickerpark Eye Center. Dr. Daniel Tepper and our trained eye care team in the greater Chicago area are dedicated to your success.

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*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images may contain models.