Treatment Options Available for Severe Dry Eye

by Aug 1, 2023

Dry eye is a common condition that can range from mild discomfort to severe symptoms that significantly impact an individual’s quality of life and vision. While over-the-counter artificial tears and warm compresses can provide relief for mild cases, the severe dry eye requires more targeted and advanced treatment options. In this article, we will explore several treatment options for severe dry eye, including prescription medications, punctal plugs, intense pulsed light therapy, and the use of an amniotic membrane.


Prescription Medications: Restasis and Xiidra

When over-the-counter treatments are insufficient, prescription medications like Restasis (cyclosporine) and Xiidra (lifitegrast) may be prescribed to manage severe dry eye. Restasis works by reducing inflammation on the ocular surface and increasing natural tear production, while Xiidra targets the underlying inflammation in the eye to provide relief. These medications can help alleviate symptoms and improve the overall health of the ocular surface. It is important to consult with an eye care professional to determine the most suitable medication and dosage based on individual needs.


Punctal Plugs

Punctal plugs, also known as lacrimal plugs, are small devices inserted into the tear ducts to block the drainage of tears. By retaining tears on the ocular surface for a longer period, punctal plugs can help alleviate symptoms of dry eye and keep the eyes better lubricated. These plugs can be temporary or permanent, and the choice depends on the severity of the condition and the individual’s response to treatment. Punctal plugs are a minimally invasive procedure that can be performed in an eye care professional’s office.


Intense Pulsed Light Therapy

Intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy is a non-invasive procedure that has shown promising results in managing severe dry eye associated with meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). During IPL therapy, intense light pulses are applied to the skin around the eyelids, targeting and improving the function of the meibomian glands responsible for producing the oily layer of tears. By unclogging and restoring the proper function of these glands, IPL therapy can help alleviate the symptoms of severe dry eye. Multiple treatment sessions may be required for optimal results.


Amniotic Membrane

In severe cases of dry eye with ocular surface damage, the application of an amniotic membrane can promote healing and regeneration. The amniotic membrane is a thin, translucent tissue that is obtained from the placenta of consenting donors after childbirth. When placed on the eye’s surface, it functions as a protective barrier, facilitates tissue healing, and reduces inflammation. Amniotic membrane treatment can help reduce pain, promote corneal healing, and improve overall ocular surface health. This procedure is typically performed in a controlled healthcare setting by a trained professional.


What Option is the Best for Severe Dry Eye?

Each of these treatments can be effective in isolation or in combination with other treatments. Determining what treatment or treatments are needed is an individual decision that will be made alongside your eye doctor based on the type of dry eye, symptoms present, and other factors such as underlying medical conditions.

Your eye doctor will be able to recommend the best treatment protocol for you in an eye examination focusing on dry eyes.



Our eye doctors at EyeDocs Family Eye Care in Brookville, OH excel in the prescription of glasses, contact lenses and the diagnosis of a variety of eye diseases. Call our optometrists at 937-770-1265 or schedule an eye exam appointment online if you would like to learn more about thr various options for severe dry eye treatments. Our eye doctors, Dr. Kyle Maxam and Dr. Cara Wampler provide the highest quality optometry services and eye exams in Brookville, Ohio.

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