Medical Devices for Dry Eye

Whether you have Aqueous Deficient Dry Eye or Evaporative Dry Eye, there are many medical devices available that can help to treat your dry eye at home.  Some you can purchase yourself, while others require a doctor's prescription.

Medical Devices for Aqueous Deficient Dry Eye - Lack of Tear Production

If you don't make tears, there are a lot of different medical devices available that may be able to help.  Some will try and replace your natural tears, while others will help stimulate your body to make tears.

Lacrisert

Lacrisert is a prescription device that can be placed inside your eye, and it will dissolve over time with the goal of releasing moisture into your eye throughout the day.  Think of it like a time-release artificial tear.  Each Lacrisert pellet is used once and then dissolves in your eye.  Some insurance companies will pay for Lacrisert as it's more of a prescription than other devices on this list.

iTear 100

The iTear 100 device is a new and exciting device that uses neurostimulation to trigger tear production.  You rub the device on the outside of your nose to trigger a nerve response that should cause your body to make its own tears.  This device works on similar principles to the TrueTear device that was recenlty discontinued, but unlike TrueTear, it doesn't have any tips you need to buy every month.

I have been unable to find information on how much this device may cost.  It looks like the device may operate on a subscription model, where it locks after 30 days and will need to be reactivated.  More information on the device can be found in this article.

Scleral Lenses

Scleral Lenses are essentially oversized contact lenses that hold a liquid reservoir that takes the place of tears.  They can help with pain of dry eye as well as potentially help with clarity of vision.  You fill the lenses with saline solution, then use a special plunger to help put the lens in your eye.  You can wear them a few hours or all day, depending on your needs.  When you're done, you take the lenses off using the special plunger and then clean the lenses to get them ready for the next day's use.

The lenses can take some getting used to, especially if you have never had contacts.  It takes practice to learn how to put them in and take them off.  You also will need to have several visits at your doctor's office to get these lenses, as your doctor will first need to figure out the correct measurements for the lenses and then ensure that the final product fits in your eye.

Typically there are two costs for the lenses, the cost of the lenses themselves as well as a fitting fee charged by your doctor's office.  Insurance may or may not cover these lenses, or may only cover one of these fees, depending on your plan.  Typically you may also have a short window of 30 or 60 days to try the lenses and return them if you find they just are not working for you.

Medical Devices for Evaporative Dry Eye / MGD help open your oil producing glands

The medical devices available for MGD are meant to help keep your oil producing glands open.

NuLids Eyelid Massager

The NewLids Eyelid Massager is a device that can be run along your eyelids with the goal of keeping your oil producing glands open.  I have not personally used this device, so I cannot say if it is any more effective than a heated eye mask used twice daily would be.  The device is listed on their website for $279, which also includes 30 days worth of the reusable tips required for the device.  With tips costing $79 for a 90 day supply, continued use of this device is a continued expense, which insurance will not cover.