Unconventional Treatment for Dry Eye

Last updated: March 2023

Through this dry eye journey, I have had the opportunity to try out different kinds of devices that help with dry eye and the symptoms that dry eye causes. For me, those were burning, gritty sensation, extreme dryness, eye pain and head pain.

I know that a lot of the time the focus is on reducing the symptoms on the ocular surface, but what about symptoms that may radiate to the head? That is where my dry decided to migrate to eventually, in conjunction with all the other symptoms. I was increasingly getting more miserable. I did go on to develop chronic migraines, something that can happen when dealing with dry eye according to my eye doctor in Boston.

Post-lasik dryness

I was feeling very defeated. First dealing with dry eye, now dealing with another chronic illness, migraines. My dry eyes specialist told me about a treatment that was being studied in patients with post-lasik dryness and those with dry eye. It is called Cefaly. It is a TENS unit that you place an electrode sticker on your forehead, you then place the Cefaly device onto the sticker. This sends small electrical pulses to stimulate the trigeminal nerve.1

This therapy has been used to help treat migraine for years. An opthalmologist by the name of Anat Galor did a small study in patients with post-lasik pain and dry eye. In her study, 2 out of 3 patients reported that the Cefaly device helped them with light sensitivity, burning sensation and pain.2

Trying out the Cefaly device

When I heard about this study, I immediately ordered the Cefaly. Now to say that I was nervous was an understatement, I think it sat in the box for a few days. My eyes were hurting really bad a few days later and I decided I was going to use it. It does have different intensity settings to get used to. I initially started out using it 20 minutes every evening as a preventative.

When my eyes and head were hurting really bad, I would use it an hour at a time. My doctor did tell me that I could use it a few times a day, but other people may have different needs so it's always good to ask your doctor what they recommend for you personally. Cefaly is now available to purchase without a prescription from your doctor.

I have been using Cefaly for over a year now. While it did not cure my dry eye, it has helped with the symptoms that dry eye causes. Most notably, the burning sensation and the headaches I would get with the dry eye.

I feel it has been a handy tool in my dry eye tool belt and I use it every evening for 20 minutes and sometimes a few times a day when I am having flares with my eyes and headaches. I wanted to share this information about this device because it's not widely known about and might help someone out there.

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