Can an Optometrist Prescribe Medication for Dry Eye?

Dry eye is a common condition that affects many people, and it can be caused by a variety of factors. However, your optometrist can help diagnose the underlying cause of dry eye and provide relief with prescription eye drops. At Okotoks Eye Care, we use advanced diagnostics to determine if dry eye treatment can use prescription eye drops such as Restasis or Xiidra. For more severe dry eyes, gels and ointments can be used, especially at bedtime.

In some cases, small plugs may be inserted in the corner of the eyelids to delay drainage and tear loss. Treating any underlying systemic disease or changing your diet to include foods such as fish or flaxseed oil can also sometimes be helpful. New prescription drugs are now available to help the body produce more of its own tears. Inflammation causes tears to be unstable and become very salty, contributing to eye irritation, gritiness and fatigue. Your eye doctor may recommend prescription eye drops to calm the vicious cycle of inflammation.

A visit to the optometrist for a regularly scheduled eye exam can provide a diagnosis for people who have symptoms. And if you have dry eye, there are several dry eye treatments that can provide you with relief. You may be tempted to take some over-the-counter eye drops and call it quits when you experience symptoms, but prescription eye drops may be better for you. LOTEMAX and ALREX are typically prescribed to patients with dry eyes for short-term relief if they are experiencing moderate to severe attacks. You can also reduce the severity of dry eye symptoms by making simple lifestyle changes, such as increasing air humidity in your home and at work, wearing sunglasses outdoors, taking nutritional supplements (such as omega-3 fatty acid, which can help increase tear production), changing your diet and drinking enough water to prevent dehydration. According to the Canadian Association of Optometrists, 30% of Canadians experience eye symptoms associated with dry eye syndrome.

The condition can be caused by several factors, such as aging, certain medications, and blockage of the Meibomian glands (glands on the edge of the eyelids where an oily film is produced that is essential for keeping the eyes moist). During your comprehensive eye exam, your optometrist will use these tests to determine the root cause of your dry eyes and then create a personalized treatment plan for you. Writing prescriptions is still one of the pillars of the education and training that optometrists receive, so it can really boost a treatment plan for dry eye when you do. Dry eye symptoms may be due to the normal aging process, hormonal changes, exposure to certain environmental conditions, problems with normal blinking, or medications such as antihistamines, oral contraceptives, or antidepressants. If you experience a burning sensation, itching, the feeling that there is always something stuck in the eye, or redness and irritation of the eyes, visit your optometrist right away for treatment that will help you see comfortably once again. Medications aside, for some patients, a specific type of contact lens called a scleral lens can help moisturize dry eyes.

After fifteen seconds, the optometrist will remove the threads and measure the amount of tears produced. The inclusion of an optometrist in the physician locator does not imply the referral, endorsement, or recommendation of MyDryEye, nor does the omission of any individual optometrist indicate MyDryEye's disapproval. The optometrists listed on the website are expected to respect current regulatory and professional standards for practicing optometry in their respective provinces.

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