Dry Eye Treatment with True Tear® Springfield MA
Healthy eyes consistently produce tears that lubricate the eye and keep the eye’s surface smooth and clear. When the eyes are unable to produce enough tears to maintain clear vision, this condition is known as “dry eye.”
At Papale Eye Center, we treat dry eye with a variety of options, but we’re most excited about a new technology called True Tear® that uses electrical stimulation to trigger natural tear production.
At Papale Eye Center, our ophthalmologists can diagnose dry eye syndrome with a simple eye exam or tear test. We may recommend any number of treatments, from eye drops to tear conservation.
What is dry eye?
Blinking our eyelids spreads a film of tears across the eye. These tears keep the eye’s surface smooth and clear. These tears are made up of three layers:
- An oily layer — This layer is the outside of the tear film. It keeps the tears from drying too quickly.
- A watery layer — This is the middle layer and makes up most of what we see as tears. This layer washes away particles that don’t belong in the eye.
- A mucus layer — This is the inner layer and it helps spread the watery layer over the eye’s surface, keeping it moist. Without mucus, our tears wouldn’t stick to the eye.
Dry eye occurs when the eyes simply don’t produce enough tears, or when the consistency of the tears isn’t correct.
What are the symptoms of dry eye?
If your eyes feel scratchy and irritated, or if you are experiencing a stinging or burning sensation and excess tearing, you may be suffering from dry eye syndrome. These are common symptoms of dry eye:
- Eyes feel like they are stinging or burning
- Eyes feel scratchy or gritty as if something is in your eye
- Eyes are red or irritated, especially when in the wind
- Contact lenses are painful
- You have an overproduction of tears (this seems counterintuitive, but the excess production is a reaction to the dry eye)
What causes dry eye?
The most common cause of dry eye is age. Hormonal changes, especially in women after menopause, cause the eyes to produce fewer tears.
- Being in smoke, wind, or dry climate
- Looking at a computer for a long time
- Using contact lenses for a long time
- Blepharitis (swollen, red eyelids)
- Taking certain medications, such as blood pressure medications, beta blockers, and sleeping pills
- Certain diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis
- Having LASIK surgery
Treating dry eye with True Tear®
There are a variety of dry eye treatments we use at Papale Eye Center. These include the prescription of artificial tears, blocking tear ducts to keep the tears you are producing in your eyes longer, and managing the causes such as avoiding hair dryer use, humidifying winter air, etc.
But we’re most excited about a new technology called True Tear®. True Tear® uses tiny pulses of energy to trigger your eyes to produce their own natural tears. The technology is called neurostimulation, and it makes True Tear® the best treatment for dry eye.
How does True Tear® work?
True Tear® is a small handheld device with dual tips. These tips stimulate a nerve in the nasal cavity with tiny pulses of energy, sending out nerve signals to the brain. The brain then sends nerve signals to the tear glands surrounding the eyes to temporarily increase tear production. The glands surrounding the eyes react to the signals and temporarily produce real tears, covering the eyes normally.
Am I a good candidate for True Tear®?
You are a good candidate for True Tear® if you:
- Are at least 22 years old
- Have dry eye from inadequate tear production, rather than due to improper tear makeup
- Do not have a cardiac pacemaker, implanted or wearable defibrillator, or other implanted metallic or electronic device in the head or neck
- Do not have a known hypersensitivity to the hydrogel material that contacts the nasal mucosa
- Do not have chronic or recurrent nosebleeds or another bleeding disorder
How does True Tear® make tears?
As our tear production decreases with age, dry eye is often a result. True Tear® simply kick starts our tear glands to increase production. Here’s how.
- Turn on the True Tear® device.
- Choose the desired stimulation level as indicated by LED lights showing the five levels.
- Insert the dual tips into the nose with the button side turned to your face.
- Insert the tips all the way to the top and front of the nose.
- The goal is to create a gentle tingling in your nose, as this signals that you are stimulating the correct tissue location and tears will be produced.
- Using the + and – buttons, adjust the stimulation until you feel the tingling.
- Stimulation should last no longer than 3 minutes but can be stopped earlier if you’ve produced sufficient tears.
- The True Tear® device automatically turns off at the one-minute session limit. If you need more stimulation, you can turn the device on again.
Use the True Tear® device at least twice a day, as needed. Don’t stimulate for more than 3 minutes at any one session. Wait 60 minutes between sessions. True Tear® can be used up to 30 minutes in a 24-hour period and has a built-in daily usage limit.
Does using True Tear® hurt?
True Tear® has five different stimulation levels. The device should only create a tingling sensation in the desired tissues. If there is discomfort, pain, or numbness the stimulation level may be too high, or you may be using True Tear® too many times in the day. Use of True Tear® should not be painful.
What are the risks of True Tear®?
True Tear® simply triggers a natural reaction in your body to produce tears, so the device is well tolerated. Still, there are potential complications:
- Discomfort or pain in the nose
- Excessive sneezing
- Irritation or numbness of the nose
- Infection, abrasion, or inflammation of the nose
- Irritation or sensitivity of the targeted nasal tissue
- Facial pain
- Increased saliva production
- Sensation of teeth vibrating
- Excessive runny nose
- Temporary increase in allergy-type symptoms