Tag Archives: dry eye syndrome

New Technology Makes Contact Lenses More Comfortable

  Dry eye We often hear from eyeglass wearers “oh, I tried to wear contacts but they irritated my eyes”. The most common reason patients discontinue contact lens wear is because of poor comfort. Significant advances in contact lens materials have improved contact lens related irritation for many patients. If you have not tried contact lenses in the past 18 months you may be missing out on the potential benefits experienced by successful contact lens wearers.

With better contact lens materials, better contact lens solutions, and better lens designs almost all patients can wear contact lenses. Not all contact lens comfort issues; however, can be fixed with a different contact lens. Often addressing an underlying systemic condition such as dry eye syndrome will improve contact lens wear comfort and extend wearing time.

Now is a great time to give contact lenses another chance. Most of the major contact lens companies are offering rebates, some up to $100. If you would like to see if new contact lens technology can help you please call our office or use our online scheduler.

We look forward to helping you join the ranks of other successful contact lens wearers

New Drug For Dry Eye Treatment

Bausch & Lomb announced it has acquired the rights to market a new medication for the treatment of dry eye syndrome. This, yet to be named, medication will improve the quality of tears by promoting the eye’s ability to produce mucin, an essential component of our tears, that is responsible for prolonging the evaporation time.

This medication will be the first of it’s class and the first to focus on improving tear quality instead of quantity. Dosing will be twice a day. Phase 3 clinical trials are to begin by the end of 2013.

While a few years from clinical use this compound will provide a new approach to the treatment of dry eye syndrome..

Does Flax Seed Oil Have a Role in the Treatment of Dry Eye Syndrome

For strict dietary vegans flax meal may be the only option of increasing the omega 3 fatty acids, albeit an inefficient one. However, for most people flax seed oil’s role is very limited in the treatment of dry eye syndrome. Flax seed meal on the other hand may have a limited role. The biggest disadvantages to using flax seed oil is that you can’t cook with it (it is not stable above 160° F), it must be refrigerated and it has a short shelf life. Flax seed meal, on the other, hand can be used as a shortening substitute, has a very high fiber content, has a much longer shelf life and can be used in baking. Therefore, I would only recommend flax seed oil over omega 3 fatty acids derived from fish if someone did not like the texture of the flax seed meal or flax meal would be inappropriate in a particular recipe.

One of the best uses of flax seed meal is its high fiber content therefore, I would recommend flax seed meal in baking to increase our dietary fiber and any ALA (alpha linolenic acid) converted to the omega fatty acids is just an extra bonus. In addition, flax seeds are not digested by our bodies and should not be considered as a dietary source of fiber or omega 3 fatty acids. The flax seed’s shell is very hard and must be crushed if our bodies are to utilize it. Therefore, if you must rely on flax as a source of omega 3 fatty acids utilize flax seed meal.

This article is the fourth and final article in a series on Omega 3 fatty acids in the treatment of dry eye syndrome.

Which is a Better Source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids Fish Oil or Flax Seed Meal

The short answer, without question is fish oil. We have found better results by eliminating the flax seed oil and greatly increasing the EPA and DHA (we like 2000 mg to 3000 mg of EPA and DHA combined). Flax seed oil is very unstable and thus has a short shelf life at room temperature. Flax seed oil also does not contain omega 3 fatty acids, instead our bodies must convert the ALA (alpha linolenic acid) contained within the flax seed into the omega 3 fatty acids that can then be used by our bodies. Another disadvantage to flax seed oil is that our body’s conversion of flax seed oil to EPA or DHA is very inefficient. The conversion ALA to EPA/DHA rate has been reported to be between 4% and 15% (worse for DHA than EPA and lower for men than women). A person’s conversion rate can vary based on many factors. Therefore, fish is a much better and efficient source of omega 3 fatty acids.

This article is the third in the four part series on using omega 3 fatty acids in treating dry eye syndrome

Selecting the Right Fish Oil Capsule for Dry Eye Relief

As eye doctors we recommend that our patients with dry eyes increase their dietary intake of omega 3 fatty acids. Our typical dosage is 2000 mg to 3000 mg in a combination of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). This translates into 4 oz of wild, Atlantic salmon per day. Regardless of how much we like salmon we probably don’t want it every day no matter how many different ways there are to fix it, therefore fish oil capsules are a necessary dietary supplement. Unfortunately, not all fish oil capsules are created equal. Often inferior and/or low dose varieties cause “fish burp” and indigestion while others can not be efficiently used by our bodies. Here is an article on how to evaluate the different types of omega 3 fish oil capsules.

This article is the second of a four part series on using omega 3 fatty acids in treating dry eye syndrome

Study Shows 70% of Dry Eye Patients Improve with Omega 3 Fatty Acids.

A hot topic currently in medicine revolves around the multiple benefits of increasing the Omega 3 Fatty Acids in our western diets. At Total Eye Care we have recommended increasing the essential fatty acids in our diet for many years. A pilot study, conducted by the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, on the efficacy Omega 3 Fatty Acids in the treatment of dry eye syndrome was published in the journal Cornea. 36 patients with dry eye syndrome were involved in the study. The control group was given a placebo and the study group was given a daily dose of 450 mg of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), 300 mg of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and 1000 mg of flaxseed oil. The patient’s symptoms and objective findings were assessed at baseline and then again 90 days later.

The objective findings suggested that there was increased tear production as well as an improvement in fluorophotometry (the assessment of the tears with fluorescein dye), however more importantly 70% of the study group experienced an improvement in their symptoms versus only 7% of the control group. This data compares well with what we see clinically at Total Eye Care.

This article is the first in a four part series on using omega 3 fatty acids in the treatment of dry eye syndrome

Ocular Manifestations of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

It’s hard to find a comprehensive source for the ocular problems experienced by patients with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.  Our very own Diana Driscoll, O.D. wrote this article, placing the most up to date information in one place.

Our practice continues to be sought out by patients for help in their quest for answers to the potential ocular complications related to Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, such as dry eye syndrome and keratoconus, as a result the number of patients we see with EDS grows rapidly.

This updated eBook includes many color pictures and references. It is the only book covering EDS and the eye. Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome: Your Eyes and EDS is now available on Amazon.com

LACRISERT® – an Option for Patients with Severe Dry Eye Syndrome

We now have LACRISERT® available in the office for the treatment of dry eye syndrome.  So far the results have been promising.  LACRISERT® is inserted inside your lower lid once or twice a day.  Lacrisert slowly releases supplemental tears to your eyes throughout the day.

Most patients have found that using the LACRISERT® once a day provides sufficient relief for most of the workday.  When the LACRISERT® has almost completely dissolved it tends to not stay trapped inside the lower lid, causing intermittent blurred vision.  A drop of artificial tears flushes out the last remnant restoring vision.

Please feel free to call the office to see if LACRISERT® may be an option for your dry eyes.

Another Possible Dry Eye Medication

In each of the previous two months I’ve written about new dry eye medications, Prolacria and RX-10045, that may receive approval in late 2010, thus I was not looking to write about another dry eye medication, however I write about new developments as I come across them so here it is .  In a recent study naltrexone hydrochloride, as an eye drop, restored corneal sensitivity and normalized tear production in diabetic rats.  Interestingly, the effect occured within an hour of administration and lasted for days.

Naltrexone hydrochloride or NTX, as it is known, is currently used in treating alcohol dependence. Low dose naltrexone (LDN) has some popular off label uses as well for auto immune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and fibromyalgia to name a few.

Studies using NTX to treat dry eye syndrome in humans can not be far behind.  It is also expect that NTX will also be studied to see if it can reverse the effects of diabetic retinopathy.

New Dry Eye Medication in Late Clinical Trials

Dry eyeInspire Pharmaceuticals announced that it has enrolled 450 patients in phase 3 of a clinical study that will compare the effectiveness of a new prescription medication in the treatment of dry eye syndrome.  At this time it is expected that the new medication, diquafosol tetrasodium ophthalmic solution 2%, will be marketed under the trade name, Prolacria.  Now that enrollment for phase three of the clinical trials has completed Inspire Pharmaceuticals expects to have results available in the first quarter of 2010.  The clinical trial will compare Prolacria with a placebo over a 6 week period.

This is great news for our patients that suffer from dry eye syndrome.  Rest assured that as soon as it is available we will let all of our readers know.

This great image of the dry eye is courtesy of Flicker user Sadisto’s, CC.