Dry Eye, Inflammation of the Eyelid, Sclera, or Iris

The above conditions are common in a variety of ages, and can cause redness, eye pain, the sensation having something in the eye, vision changes, or light sensitivity. Treatment provided by Dr. Ambati in Eugene will often resolve symptoms, but some people experience periodic flare-ups. You might need to talk to an eye doctor about the ways you can help reduce the frequency of these episodes. You might also have an increased risk of these conditions if you take certain medications. Consult Dr. Ambati about your eye care options.

What can cause dry eye?

Wind, dry air, polluted air, excessive computer work (and not blinking enough) can all cause dry eye. Medications that can cause dry eye include certain anti-hypertensives, anti-histamines, and anti-depressants. Age over 50, menopause, and certain medical conditions (e.g., rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Sjogren's syndrome) can also cause dry eye.

What can cause eyelid inflammation?

Bad air, age over 50, excessive alcohol and caffeine, and dry eye can all cause eyelid inflammation (blepharitis).

What can cause scleritis or iritis (inflammation of the wall of the eye (sclera) or the iris (iritis))?

Most of the time there is no known cause for iritis or scleritis. However, certain medications (rifabutin; cidofovir; certain chemotherapies) can cause iritis. Infections like Tuberculosis (TB), Lyme Disease, and cat-scratch disease can cause iritis. A variety of autoimmune conditions (where the immune system attacks different parts of the body) can cause iritis, including lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Wegener's, polyarteritis nodosa, and anti-phospholipid syndrome.

Can changing my diet help?

In dry eye, eyelid inflammation (blepharitis), and inflammation of the wall of the eye or inside the eye (scleritis/iritis), a common element is overactivity of the immune system (too much inflammation) against your eye. Adding foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids (almonds/walnuts, chia seed/flaxseed, avocado/guacamole, extra virgin olive oil, canola oil, salmon) help reduce inflammation, while cutting back on foods that are generally "bad" for you (processed foods, deep-fried items, red meat) is also helpful.  Flaxseed oil and fish oil supplements that are high in omega-3's can be helpful too.  Foods high in GLA (gamma-linolenic acid) such as black currant seed oil, borage oil, hemp oil, evening primrose oil, and GLA-enriched safflower oil can also be helpful for dry eye. 

Diet will not cure these conditions, but eating a variety of healthy foods might help improve your immune activity. Begin by choosing a variety of dark green and other vegetables such as spinach, kale, broccoli, corn and carrots to provide a healthy variety of nutrients. Fruits like strawberries, cantaloupe, bananas and oranges also offer healthy choices for many different vitamins and minerals. Develop a balanced diet by choosing dairy products such as skim milk and low-fat yogurt, and select healthy grains including quinoa, bulgur, brown rice and whole wheat pasta.

Can lifestyle changes help?

With our busy schedules, it is all too easy to neglect sleep and exercise. Adjusting your schedule to prioritize good, consistent, and enough sleep, and building in time (about 20-30 minutes a day) to increase physical activities that you enjoy (whether it be jogging, swimming, weight-training, or even just going for a brisk walk) are all useful in helping reduce inflammation

What else can I do for dry eyes and blepharitis?

Having a humidifier (at home and/or office), taking breaks every hour or so from computer work (to reduce eyestrain and improve blinking), wearing wrap-around sunglasses (or "shooter"/"motorcycle" glasses outside), wearing goggles if one is exposed to fumes or gases can be helpful. Artificial tears or gels are often helpful. Avoid drops that promise "to get the red out". Warm compresses (either with a warm washcloth or with a special eye mask (like Fire & Ice; or Tranquil-Eyes) can be helpful.

Is there anything else I should know?

If you have these conditions, do not rely on lifestyle and dietary changes alone to resolve or treat your condition. Contact your doctor for an evaluation. You might need eyedrops or oral medications to help treat these conditions, as well as an evaluation for potential causes that could be serious conditions. Some patients may benefit from the BlephEx eyelid polishing procedure (see below) followed by Cliradex tea tree roil eyelid scrubs, or the Lipiflow technology.


Lipiflow is a new, 12-minute in-office treatment that uses an applicator to deliver heat and pressure to the inside and outside of the eyelid to help massage and open the tear glands which can get blocked in dry eye and eyelid inflammation. It helps promote normal tear flow, and patients typically notice improvement in their dry eye symptoms 6-8 weeks later. With consistent use of omega-3 & GLA fatty acid supplements (such as Hydroeye, which combines fish oil with black currant seed oil), this can lead to improvement of the cornea and the eye surface on a long-term basis. Most patients notice benefits from Lipiflow for 12-18 months, at which point they may request and benefit from another treatment.  


We offer BlephEx&trade and other eye care solutions in Dr. Ambati's Eugene office.