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Can You Treat Dry Eye Disease on a Budget?

Dry Eye disease is incredibly common and can be experienced as anything from mild irritation and tired eyes to debilitating glare and pain in the eyes. There are a ton of new treatments that help a lot, but many of them are expensive.

So what are you to do on a budget? In today’s video I’ll give you my best advice for treating dry eye on a budget.

Welcome back to Eye school with me, Dr. D where I teach you about products and treatments related to dry eye syndrome and eye beauty so you can have healthy, beautiful, comfortable eyes.

Dry Eye Medication Is Expensive! Here's What To Do!

A 2011 study aimed to look at the economic impact of Dry Eye disease treatment in the United States. In the survey their analysis indicated that the average annual cost of managing a patient with Dry eye was $783 from the payers perspective. This puts an overall burden of Dry Eye disease for the US healthcare system at $3.84 billion.

Recently newer Dry Eye disease treatments are proving to be even more expensive and not covered by insurance, thus putting the cost burden on the patient for Dry Eye disease. In this video I hope to give you some ways to treat dry eye disease that are friendlier for a lower budget to help reduce your overall expenditure on Dry Eye treatments.

Establish A Routine - Consistency is key in so many aspects of life, with dry eyes being no different. Carefully evaluating your daily needs in terms of vision is important in determining your individualized dry eye routine. You especially want to pay attention to what times of day you’re typically on a computer or other devices with a screen.

In the morning it’s important to start your day with an artificial tear and any dry eye medications you take. Then if you’re going to be on a screen make sure to use an artificial tear before starting your activity and then about every two hours while you’re using that device. Make sure to take blink breaks throughout and use the 20 2020 roll every 20 minutes looking 20 feet away for 20 seconds to encourage you to blink and replenish your tears while you’re on devices.

Clean up your diet - diet is an important part of Dry Eye management. In particular you want to avoid inflammatory foods like fried foods with excessive amounts of sugar or caffeine. In addition, take a look at the omega-3 you’re getting in your diet and consider increasing that as well.

You might even consider taking an omega-3 supplement but be careful looking for the cheapest brand because not all fish oil is created equal and you truly need a pharmaceutical grade EPA/ DHA content fish oil in order to make a difference in your dry eye syndrome.

Treating Dry Eye On A Budget Is Possible

Boost your Water Intake - A rule of thumb is your body weight divided by two - that’s how many ounces you should consume a day. A 160 lb woman should consume 80 oz/day.

Do a makeup/Skincare Deep Dive - Audit your skincare and makeup, determining what preservatives you’re putting in and around your eyes. Eliminate or reduce the worst offenders which I’ll leave on screen here. Avoid retinol at all costs, it has a known negative impact on the meibomian glands!

Practice Computer Hygiene - I covered this when talking about daily routine but what you do while you’re on the computer is very critical to how your eyes will feel throughout the workday. While on the computer , remember the 20 2020 rule: every 20 minutes looking 20 feet away for 20 seconds can make a major impact on how your eyes feel at the end of the day.

Find out what your insurance covers - because many Dry Eye medications can be very expensive without insurance or out of pocket, it’s important to take a look at your medical insurance and consider even requesting their formulary to find out which drugs they prefer.

That way you can try the Dry Eye medication that your insurance includes on their formulary and you can save yourself and your doctor time by producing that formulary and showing them which medication you’re gonna be able to get first.

Some Doctor Recommended Tips For Treating Dry Eye On A Budget

In addition, once you fail on the medication‘s that your insurance will cover, then medical insurances are usually more willing to approve the more expensive newer Dry Eye medication for you. If you find out that there’s a Dry Eye medication that your doctor recommends but your insurance won’t cover it, look into patient assistance foundations and coupon companies like good RX.

Typically, individual pharmaceutical companies will also offer a prescription assistance foundation and you can apply through the foundation to see if you can get your medication covered.

  • Prescription drug coverage/formulary

  • Patient assistance foundations and coupon companies

  • Advanced procedures like plugs, amniotic membranes - Some advanced procedures like punctal plugs and amniotic membrane while expensive if they were out of pocket might be covered by your insurance in there for a more affordable option.

What you should NEVER TRY TO DIY:

  • Intense Pulsed Light - While you may be able to find some over-the-counter IPL options, these are largely sold for hair removal and should never be used on the face and especially not near the eyes.

  • Gland Expression - Another thing I would never encourage you to try at home is gland expression you may see videos of it and think it looks fairly simple to squeeze that oil out of the glands, but it’s very important to first heat up the glance the appropriate temperature which is incredibly difficult to do at home. Cold expression of the Glands can damage the Glands further making your Dry Eye worse.

Please feel free to let me know what you have tried and if you had success, your personal experiences and questions always help me learn more and lead to better patient care! Comments and questions either here on my blog or on my youtube channel are always welcome.

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