Dry Eye Treatment
Many factors contribute to dry eye, so it is important to undergo a thorough medical evaluation to determine the precise nature of your disease and pinpoint contributing factors. Specialized imaging and diagnostic testing can determine which type of dry eye disease is present, allowing for more effective treatment plans. Obtaining relief from dry eye may require a combination of various types treatments.
Over-the-counter medications: Artificial tears and lubricants to act as tear replacement. Omega 3 fatty acid supplements are also often recommended.
Prescription medications: Topical anti-inflammatory eye drops, autologous serum tears, topical and oral antibiotics.
Punctal Plugs: Tear drains in the eyelids are plugged using non-permanent plugs made of a silicone material to help tears stay in your eye longer. This procedure is not recommended for dry eye cases caused by inflammation.
Punctal cautery: Permanent surgical closure of the tear drains may be recommended when temporary plugs are not working.
Prokera: Amniotic membrane is a biologic tissue with strong anti-inflammatory and healing properties that can be placed on the eye like a bandage to heal the surface of the eye. This treatment is only used in severe forms of dry eye that cause corneal defects such as erosions and filamentary keratitis.
Scleral contact lenses: Specialized contact lenses that bathe the surface of the eye in fluid to keep it lubricated while also correcting vision.
Lipiflow thermal pulsation therapy: The goal of this treatment is to improve the health of the meibomian glands to restore gland function and increase oil production. It is aimed at “resetting” glands in order to prevent the damage that leads to reduced gland function. The treatment consists of placing an eyepiece underneath the lids that warms and gently massages them, prompting the lids to empty the glands of unhealthy secretions. Relief from dry eye symptoms usually occurs at 4-6 weeks. Depending on the severity of the patient’s disease, some patients require additional treatments to maintain the effect. Thermal pulsation therapy can be repeated every 9-24 months. This treatment normally is not covered by insurance.
A comprehensive eye exam will determine the precise nature of your dry eye so that your doctor can prescribe the appropriate therapy. The following tests may be performed:
Medical history: A doctor will thoroughly review your medical history, including any medications you take.
Visual acuity: This test, which determines how well you can read letters on a standard eye chart, includes a refraction to determine if you need eyeglasses to achieve your best vision.
Tear osmolarity: A small sample of tears will be taken to determine the concentration of your tears. This test is an indicator of the severity of dry eye and the stability of the tear film.
Inflammadry: A small sample of your tears will allow the detection of any inflammation. Inflammation caused by dry eye has been shown to cause damage to the ocular surface.
Schirmer testing: Small paper strips placed on your outer lower eyelids will collect baseline tears and determine the aqueous component of your tears.
Lipiview: By viewing digital images of your meibomian glands, the doctor can examine the structure of the glands to determine if you have meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). Images of your tear film allow for measurement of the oily layer of the tears. Video analysis of your blinking pattern will assess the quality of your blink and how it contributes to your tear film.
Intraocular pressure: This test helps determine your risk for glaucoma.
Slit lamp exam: The doctor examines your eyes under the microscope to evaluate your eyelids, tear film, and the surface of your eye.
Vital stains: Special stains are placed on the eye to determine if the eye’s surface cells are damaged due to dry eye.
Tear break-up time: The tear film will be evaluated to determine the amount of oil present, based on how quickly the tears break up upon blinking.
Expression of the meibomian glands: Gentle pressure along the eyelid margin will be used to observe the quality of the meibomian gland secretions.
Dilated exam: Dilating drops are placed in the eye to enable the doctor to see structures in the back of the eye.
Callahan is the only full-service facility in Alabama specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of the eye and one of only a few worldwide that is entirely devoted to advancements in ophthalmology. That reputation is supported by 16 operating rooms dedicated to eye surgery and a 24/7 eye emergency room that is the region’s only Level I Ocular Trauma Center. More than 11,000 surgeries are performed at UAB Callahan Eye Hospital each year, and we conduct more reconstructive eye procedures than any other facility in the world.
Our facility is home to more than two dozen ophthalmologists, many of whom are named among the top doctors in their fields nationally. Callahan is widely recognized for excellence in patient care, having consistently earned prestigious awards from health care consulting group Press Ganey, and in 2017 Callahan was named as one of the “100 Great Places to Work in Healthcare” by Becker’s Hospital Review.
Callahan also is known for pioneering developments in surgical instruments, devices, and procedures used by ophthalmologists across the globe. As part of the UAB Medicine academic medical center, Callahan is actively involved in ongoing research and clinical trials. Many of our ophthalmologists have received funding from prestigious research organizations and institutions and collaborate in clinical care to bring the latest in scientific discovery to our patients.
Images and Videos
Advice for Contact Lens Wearers
Treat Dry Eye
Improving the detection of glaucoma
Glaucoma is a silent disease. It does not hurt, symptoms are slow to develop, and most people do not notice any loss of vision until it is too late. A project by ophthalmologists at UAB are examining whether a partnership with community-based optometrists will improve detection and treatment of glaucoma, especially for high-risk populations.
UAB Callahan Eye Hospital helped save a young baseball player’s career and, most importantly, his sight.
Baseball Eye Injury
College baseball player Meade Kendrick was nearly blinded by a batted ball during a practice drill. The ball hit directly on Kendrick’s left eye resulting in a severe closed-globe injury to the eye. See how Meade's vision was restored by UAB Ophthalmologist Doug Witherspoon, M.D. at the UAB Callahan Eye Hospital.
After being hit in the eye with a bottle rocket, Dianne Peterson underwent sight-saving surgery at UAB Callahan Eye Hospital.
Fireworks Eye Injury
Dianne Peterson was just a bystander when a firework hit her in the eye on July 4th. The damage to her left eye was severe. Instead of celebrating, she had eye surgery at midnight. See her story of caution.
UAB Callahan Eye Hospital 50th Anniversary
Since 1963, the nation has looked to UAB Callahan Eye Hospital for innovation and breakthroughs in sight restoration, and we've delivered. We invite you to take a look at our story as it unfolds through the eyes of so many who have helped write it in our video tribute titled "50 Years In Sight."
Traditional vs. Laser Cataract Removal
UAB Callahan Eye Hospital offers a new surgery to remove cataracts and correct astigmatism using a refractive laser, which offers increased precision while eliminating the use of a blade. Watch the video and see the difference laser cataract surgery can make in helping you see more clearly, again.
Learn about fireworks eye safety from Dr. Jay McCollum, Director of Emergency Services and Ocular Trauma at UAB Callahan Eye Hospital.
Fireworks Eye Safety on Fox 6 WBRC
The eye is the second most injured part of the body in firework accidents. Learn about fireworks eye safety from Dr. Jay McCollum, Director of Emergency Services and Ocular Trauma at UAB Callahan Eye Hospital.
Watch the ABC 33/40 Focus at 4 segment with Edward Burch and Pam Huff about UAB Callahan Eye Hospital's 50 Year Anniversary.
Callahan on ABC33/40
Edward Burch and Pam Huff with ABC 33/40 feature the UAB Callahan Eye Hospital's 50th Anniversary in a Focus at 4 segment. Learn how one man's vision is still in focus today as the Callahan Eye Hospital remains Alabama's only dedicated eye hospital performing more than 10,000 surgeries each year.
UAB is an active participant in research and clinical trials for the diagnosis and treatment of dry eye. We encourage you to speak to your physician about research and clinical trial options and browse the link below for more information.View Clinical Trials
IV Hydration Therapy is Trendy, but What Does the Science Say?
Birmingham to Launch Non-Smoking Health District with Community Partners
UAB, Highlands Hospitals Earn A’s on Patient Safety
‘Wonders of Alabama’ Art Collection Donated to UAB by Energen Corp.
Recovery and the Holidays: Tips for Celebrating Sober