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Hot Compress Eye Masks For Effective & Rapid Dry Eye Relief

If you are suffering from mild to moderate dry eye symptoms, such as itchy and gritty eyes, this low tech solution may be just what you need. Hot compress eye masks are easy to use and a natural way to treat blepharitis, meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), and specifically – chronic dry eye disease.

What Is Dry Eye Disease?

Dry eye disease (DES) is a condition where the eyes chronically feel dry, irritated, and uncomfortable. This is due to either insufficient or poor quality tears. Other symptoms include:

  • Watery eyes – the eyes may overproduce tears to compensate for the lack of lubrication
  • Red eyes
  • Fatigued eyes
  • Sore or achy eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Photophobia (light sensitivity)

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms and suspect you may have dry eye, speak with Dr. Paul Ives, Dr. Alexa Ives, and Dr. Tessa Ives about the latest dry eye treatments available. Hot compress eye masks are one of the recommended methods for relieving dry eye.

How Does A Hot Compress Eye Mask Provide Dry Eye Relief?

A hydrating hot compress eye mask contains special beads that continuously absorb and store water molecules from the air. When the mask is warmed up in the microwave, the clean, natural moist heat immediately begins to provide soothing relief for your eyes. A heated eye mask helps stabilize the tear film, improves oil gland function, and slows tear evaporation.

After using the mask, your hydrated and lubricated eyes will be able to expel bacteria and debris more efficiently so your eyes feel refreshed and rejuvenated. The heat from the mask also helps unblock meibomian glands and produce more tears.

Contact Dr. Paul Ives, Dr. Alexa Ives, and Dr. Tessa Ives to discuss your dry eye symptoms and to determine whether hot compress eye masks are the right treatment for you.

Our practice serves patients from Murrysville, West Newton, Delmont, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and surrounding communities.
Request A Dry Eye Appointment
Think You Have Dry Eye? Call 724-733-1918
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Punctal Plugs

If you suffer from dry, burning, irritated or itchy eyes, you may have dry eye syndrome. Dry eye syndrome is a condition where your eyes either don’t produce enough tears or produce low-quality tears that can’t keep your eyes adequately hydrated. Sometimes the meibomian glands, which produce the oily layer of your tears, found inside your eyelid don’t function properly or are blocked, causing your tears to dry out.

If your tear ducts are blocked, your eye doctor may suggest punctal plugs.

What Are Punctal Plugs?

Punctal plugs are small devices that are inserted into the tear ducts — the puncta — of the eyelids. Another type of plug is inserted into the tear duct, the canaliculus, at a deeper level.

Puncta are small openings in your eyes that drain tears. The plug, which is about the size of a grain of rice, prevents fluid from flowing from the eyes. This ensures that the maximum amount of tears remain on the eyes at all times, resulting in less itching, burning, and redness.

Two Types of Punctal Plugs

Temporary/dissolving plugs

Temporary/dissolving plugs are made of a material, such as collagen, that the body absorbs over time. These plugs can last anywhere from a few days to several months in the eye. After refractive surgery, such as LASIK, temporary plugs are frequently used to keep the eye moist. They can also be used to test out punctal plugs to see if they provide dry eye relief.

Semi-permanent plugs

Semi-permanent plugs are composed of medical plastic, such as silicone or acrylic, that lasts longer. These plugs are made to stay in the eye for years. Your eye doctor can remove them, if necessary.

Another sort of semi-permanent punctal plug is inserted in the canaliculus, which is a deeper section of the tear duct. Once in the eye, these plugs are completely invisible.

How Are Punctal Plugs Inserted?

Your eye doctor will first inspect your eye to determine the optimum type and size of plug for your eyes.

Anesthesia may be used to numb your tear ducts. However, in some cases, you may not need to have your eyes numbed. As the punctal plug is inserted into your eyelid, you may feel some pressure.

After the plugs are inserted, you should be able to resume your normal activities at once.

When and How are Punctal Plugs Removed?

How to remove the plugs and when will depend on which plugs are inserted.

To remove silicon plugs from the tear ducts, your eye doctor will use forceps to gently pull the plugs out. Another option for removing these plugs is to use a saltwater solution to flush them out. The plugs are forced out of the tear ducts and into the nose or throat during this procedure.

Surgery is usually required to remove plugs that are deeper in the tear duct (in the canaliculus).

For most people, punctal plugs don’t cause any problems. However, if you have any eye pain, itchiness, or fear you have an infection, contact your eye doctor right away. The eye doctor will examine your eyes and remove the plugs if necessary.

Are Punctal Plugs for You?

Consult your eye doctor if artificial tears or other eye drops have failed to relieve your dry eye symptoms. If blocked tear glands are the culprit, your doctor might advise you to try punctal plugs. For more information regarding punctal plugs contact Ives Eyecare Center today!

Our practice serves patients from Murrysville, West Newton, Delmont, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and surrounding communities.
Request A Dry Eye Appointment
Think You Have Dry Eye? Call 724-733-1918
Read More About Dry Eyes
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Heat Therapy for Dry Eye Syndrome

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Heat Therapy for Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry eye syndrome is a common condition that occurs for a variety of reasons. The leading cause of dry eye is meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), which affects the essential oil layer of the eye’s tear film and causes the tears to evaporate too quickly. Mild to moderate cases of dry eye causes discomfort, while severe dry eye can result in permanent damage and scarring of the cornea.

More than 85% of patients who visit their eye doctor due to dry eye symptoms are diagnosed with meibomian gland dysfunction. MGD is chronic and the symptoms generally worsen when left untreated.

Fortunately, a certain procedure, called meibomian gland expression, uses heat to unblock glands in the eyelids to relieve the itchy, gritty feeling caused by MGD.

What Is Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD)?

The meibomian glands are located along the outer edges of your upper and lower eyelids, where they produce complex oily fluid that stabilizes the tear film and slows the evaporation of your tears. This is an essential function, as tears ensure your cornea lubricated for comfortable and clear vision.

When the meibomian glands don’t function properly or are blocked, the oil layer of your tear film isn’t thick enough to keep your eyes moist. In addition to the rapid evaporation of tears, this creates greater friction between the cornea and eyelids, resulting in eye irritation.

What Is Meibomian Gland Expression?

Just like the pores in our skin, the tiny meibomian glands can be blocked with thickened oil residue. Meibomian gland expression is a procedure that unblocks the gland by squeezing out a tiny amount of oil from the glands. This also allows your eye doctor to determine how to best open the glands permanently.

The process is not only a method for diagnosing MGD, but also a therapy that can remove the blockage and reduce MGD symptoms.

How Does It Work?

Meibomian gland expression involves gently expressing and squeezing out the oils of the glands by applying pressure to the eyelids.

The eye doctor uses tiny forceps or paddle-like instruments to compress the lower and upper eyelids. The doctor may also apply a warm compress before the expression of the gland for the smooth secretion of the hardened oils that clog the glands.

Depending on the severity of your MGD, your doctor may suggest other types of heat therapies or treatment.

Other Heat Therapies for Dry Eye

Intense Pulsed Light

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) heats the skin around the eye area and dislodges the oil build-up. This treatment targets the source directly – the blood vessels that surround the glands. Once this occurs, the glands can once again secrete the oils naturally, resuming their moisturizing effects.

LipiFlow

LipiFlow is a device that applies warm and gentle pressure directly to the meibomian glands, liquefying the blockage. Your eye doctor will then be able to remove the blockage from the area, flushing out any dead cells, leaving your glands clear and comfortable.

The Bruder Mask

The Bruder Mask is a heated compress that sits over your eyes, almost like a large, soft beauty mask. The mask is made up of many tiny beads which, when warmed, release heat. This heat gently opens the oil glands and helps restore the oil secretion back into the eyes.

Meibomian gland expression promotes healthy secretion of oil to the eyes’ surface and provides excellent long-term results. All successful meibomian gland expression treatments decrease dry eye symptoms by increasing the glands’ quality of oil production. Usually, a single session is sufficient, but many people benefit from regular treatments.

If not treated early and properly, meibomian gland dysfunction can cause severe damage to your eyes and vision. Contact Dr. Paul Ives, Dr. Alexa Ives, and Dr. Tessa Ives to learn more about meibomian gland expression and attain the dry eye relief you seek.

Our practice serves patients from Murrysville, West Newton, Delmont, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and surrounding communities.
Request A Dry Eye Appointment
Think You Have Dry Eye? Call 724-733-1918
Read More About Dry Eyes
what causes dry eye.jpg

What Can Cause Dry Eye?

Thumbnail 2 treatments.jpg

Dry Eye Blog

dry eye treatments Thumbnail.jpg

What Treatments Can Relieve Dry Eye Syndrome?

Finding Relief for Dry Eye Thumbnail.jpg

An Overview of Dry Eye Symptoms and Causes

Read Our Latest Posts
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