Dr. Audrey Raley offers non-invasive, drug-free options to treat dry eye disease at Refined Eye Care & Eyewear Gallery. These treatments are unique because they work with the eyes to heal the underlying cause, instead of masking the symptom.

Dry eye happens when the eyes do not properly create the moisture they need, which causes inflammation, irritation and redness. Patients will find reduced work productivity and a decrease in quality of life when dry eye disease is untreated.

“Patients in our area don't have a ton of options for dry eye specialists,” Dr. Raley said. “It's something I'm very passionate about since I have dry eye myself. I've really enjoyed offering more innovative and unique options for patients.”

Some patients undergo surgery or use prescription eye drops to mitigate these painful symptoms.

Dr. Raley offers another solution for patients who want a less invasive treatment with long-lasting relief.

Dr. Raley offers three different treatment options for patients:
  • radiofrequency,
  • intense pulsed light (IPL)
  • and thermal pulsation
Although all three options work slightly differently, the goal is to improve and stabilize the patient’s natural tears.

Radiofrequency and thermal pulsation both use controlled heat to remove clogged oil from the glands around the eyes while IPL uses a pulsed light to target the inflammatory blood vessels around the eyelid margins.

While IPL is not painful, some patients experience slight discomfort because of the type of high-energy light used in this treatment procedure, Dr. Raley said.

“Radiofrequency and the thermal pulsation are actually very comfortable,” Dr. Raley said. “Imagine a hot stone-like massage around the eyelid area. We get a lot of feedback that it's very soothing and relaxing.”

In addition to providing comfort for the eyes, Refined Eye Care & Eyewear Gallery makes visiting the office an enjoyable experience.

“We understand that being very close to patients’ eyelids can be a little bit intimidating,” Dr. Raley said. “We have music that plays softly in the background, and we always have cold refreshments so the patients can feel a little more at ease. We [also] have blankets and neck pillows...[patients] are reclined in a medical grade chair so they are in a position where they can be relaxed.”

Dr. Raley said she has seen an increase in patients coming to her practice to receive care for dry eye.

“One thing that's really interesting is that the prevalence of dry eye is really increasing and partially this is because of digital device use,” Dr. Raley said. “People are actually not blinking as much as they should. It's a phenomenon that happens when we're looking at a screen versus a piece of paper or book.”

The mechanism of blinking moisturizes the eyes and helps feed them vital nutrients. When people blink less frequently, the eyes don’t get the nutrients they need and can become irritated and more prone to infections.

Dr. Raley said as technology continues to play a common role in people’s day-to-day lives, it is important to take care of the eyes.

To protect your eyes from screen-related fatigue, Dr. Raley recommends:
  • Turn off devices early in the evening to balance your circadian rhythm.
  • Use protective lenses that filter blue light.
  • Apply a blue light filter to your computer screen.
  • Practice blinking exercises.
  • Spend at least 30 minutes outside a day and use your long-distance vision.
Dr. Raley said people should make an appointment with an eye doctor at least once a year, because this is a form of preventative care.

“Early detection leads to early intervention, and you can prevent someone from coming into a chronic state where they have more serious problems down the road,” Dr. Raley said.

Refined Eye Care & Eyewear Gallery is located at 2188 TX-46 W. Ste. 102, New Braunfels. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Raley, visit her practice’s website.

The above story was produced by Multi-platform Journalist Mary Katherine Shapiro with Community Impact's Storytelling team with information solely provided by the local business as part of their "sponsored content" purchase through our advertising team.