Dry Eye Management

dry eye logo

At Valley Eye Clinic, we treat each patient with individualized care. Based on the findings of the dry eye evaluation, patients are provided with a personal daily maintenance checklist detailing how they can manage their dry eye.

Dr. Matthew Ward believes in taking a more natural, holistic approach to treating dry eye before resulting to pharmaceutical drugs. His recommendations typically include the following:

Omega-3’s – You’ll be pressed to find a health professional who doesn’t recommend Omega-3 fish oil fatty acids. Omega 3’s lower bad cholesterol, decrease stress hormones, and improve hair and skin. They are also ANTI-inflammatory. Research shows that diets rich in Omega-3’s may even reduce inflammation at the level of the eyelids, resulting in improved meibum quality (read about meibum in Dry Eye Evaluation (hyperlink). Evidence also suggests that Omega-3’s reduce risk factors for heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and joint pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis.

Triglyceride or re-esterified fish oil results in the most potent Omega – consumption by the body. Ethyl-ester form fish oil is less expensive and less bioavailable. Most over the counter fish oils are ethyl-ester based. Be careful when purchasing these fish oils from the drugstore. Ethanol is an additive to gasoline and shouldn’t be consumed. It also causes dehydration, making dry eye worse.

Omega-3 for Eye Health from Heyedrate is an excellent triglyceride form fish oil option. It is easily digestible with no fishy aftertaste and comes in small, easy to swallow capsules. It is non-GMO, as well as soy and gluten free. Vitamin E and other vitamins help preserve the fish oil purity and protect it from free-radical damage.

Click here to purchase Heyedrate Omega-3


Warm compress eye mask:


The use of the warm compress promotes the continual liquification of meibum in the meibomian glands after the MiboFlo deep clean treatment. Regular use with blinking exercises results in expression of meibum with every blink. This means the oil from your eyelids are able to mix with the tears, decreasing evaporation of tears and promoting healthy, moist eyes. The fabric portion of the mask is washable and reusable.

Cosmetic information:

Chemicals in your makeup may in fact be making your dry eye worse.

Here are some rules to follow when it comes to makeup:

Skin Care and Beauty Tips:
1. No facial cleaners, soaps or liquid makeup removers anywhere near the eyes. Be precise with your cleansers, avoiding the area inside the bony rim
2. No waterproof makeup. DO NOT apply eyeliner to the lid margin or ‘waterline’.
3. Skin care and makeup: Avoid parabens. Avoid formaldehyde donors: Quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, Ureas, Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate
4. No retin-A or ‘anti-aging’ formulas.
5. Best anti-aging product is a Paraben free sunscreen (e.g. Mychelle Reef Safe, EltaMD Clear Zinc, TraderJoe’s Clear Zinc Sunscreen Stick)
6. Cosmetics Shopping: PetitVour, CredoBeauty, The Detox Market, Lily Lolo

Another key component in battling dry eye is diet. Eating an anti-inflammatory diet is vital. Foods that increase inflammation will cause inflammatory issues throughout the entire body. Foods that promote inflammation are:

  • Dairy
  • Processed foods – white bread, white pasta, white rice.
  • Trans-fats – found in most processed foods – linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
  • Artificial Sugars

Dr. Ward recommends a diet focused primarily on organic, whole foods including leafy greens, vegetables, beans, minimally processed grains, and fish, as well as grass-fed organic beef, pastured chicken and eggs and healthy fats found in nuts, seeds, avocados and some oils.

Other key tips

  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Consume foods and drinks that are rich in probiotics. These probiotic cultures increase metabolism in the gut, protect the gut lining, and improve your overall metabolism. Fermented foods and drinks like sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha have billions of cultures to keep your gut clean and reduce inflammation in your body.
  • Add seasonings like ginger and tumeric to your foods. These are known to decrease inflammation.
  • Increase your antioxidant uptake – tart cherries and other berries all combat free-radical damage and reduce inflammation.
  • Regular exercise promotes improved metabolism and overall health.
  • Chiropractic care
  • Acupuncture

Remember: The key to being successful in combating dry eye is to be consistent with your daily maintenance prescribed by your doctor. If you only do your daily maintenance 25% of the time, you’re only going to feel 25% better. Daily maintenance is vital to successfully managing your dry eye symptoms. Managing your dry eye is like going to the gym. If you work out for 2 weeks, you’re not going to see long term results. If you are consistent, however, and disciplined with your routine, you will see those results!

Office Hours & Info

  • Monday
  • 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Tuesday
  • 9:00am - 6:00pm
  • Wednesday
  • 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Thursday
  • 8:00am - 12:00pm
  • Friday
  • 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Saturday
  • 8:00am - 12:00pm*
  • Sunday
  • Closed
*First of the month only

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  • 2020 Grand Avenue
  • West Des Moines, IA 50265

Contact us today or visit our appointment request page to find a time that is convenient for you to see us.