There are many ways to manage or treat dry eye, a common condition – especially here in the desert. Studies show that about 25% of patients over 50 have clinically significant dry eye.
There is now a new FDA-approved treatment which utilizes nasal neurostimulation to increase tear production. This is a non-pharmaceutical way to manage or treat dry eye.
The studies have shown that on average after one month of use, patient tear volume as measured by standardized testing more than doubles and the treatment outcomes improve somewhat over time. The patient uses a small device (see image) that creates tiny pulses of energy to the nasal area. This results in prolonged tear secretion.
The composition (protein, lipid and aqueous components) of tears produced by this new method were undistinguishable from regular tears. Average daily application time was 130 seconds per day (typically twice daily for 1 minute).
- Patients with cardiac pacemakers, implanted or wearable defibrillators or other implanted metallic or electronic devices in the head or neck;
- Known hypersensitivity to the hydrogel device material that contacts the nasal mucosa;
- Chronic or recurrent nosebleeds; a bleeding disorder.
- If patients feel pain or discomfort with higher levels of stimulation, they should reduce the level or duration;
- The disposable tip has to be replaced each 48 hours;
- Remove any studs, nose rings or other piercing prior to using;
- Because the tear flow increase happens immediately, ophthalmic eye medications or eye drops should not be used within 30 minutes before or after applying stimulation;
- Keep the device out of the reach of children.
If you eliminate the initial cost of the device, the cost to replace the tips is in line with pharmaceutical eye drops. This intra-nasal stimulator device is available by prescription by eye care providers (ophthalmology or optometry).
Dr. Evans is the founding owner of Evans Eye Care in Palm Desert and can be reached at (760) 674.8806 or online at www.evanseyecare.com.