Dry Eye

Dry eye is a common and often chronic problem, particularly in older adults. It is an eye condition caused by a chronic lack of sufficient lubrication and moisture on the surface of the eye. Consequences of dry eyes range from subtle to severe. They can lead to constant eye irritation, significant inflammation, and even scarring of the front surface of the eye.

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Seven Tips for Battling Dry Eye

Living with dry eye can be a challenge, but the following tips are simple things you can do to help relieve some of the symptoms of dry eye.

1.Use artificial tears. Artificial tears are available without a prescription. There are many brands on the market, so you may want to try several to find the one you like best. Use them as often as you wish, but if you find yourself using them more than once every two hours, preservative-free brands may be better for you. Lubricating gels can also help, but because they are thicker and blur your vision, you will probably want to apply them at bedtime.

2. Avoid too much air movement. Fans, wind, and hair dryers can make your eyes even drier, so you should limit your exposure to them. If you are going to be outside on a windy day, wear a pair of wraparound sunglasses to reduce the chance of wind blowing directly into your eyes.

3. Use a humidifier in the winter. Heating your home in the winter often dries the air out, so use a humidifier to add some moisture back into the air. Don’t have a humidifier? A pan of water on your radiator is a good substitute.

4. Give your eyes a rest. If reading or watching television makes your eyes feel dry, make sure you take frequent breaks. Giving your eyes a rest and blinking more frequently will allow your eyes to regain some of the moisture that they’ve lost.

5. Avoid cigarette smoke. There are already a lot of good reasons not to smoke or be exposed to second-hand smoke, but cigarette smoke can irritate dry eyes. Smoking can also increase your risk of developing dry eye in the first place.

6. Use warm compresses and wash your eyelids. Putting warm compresses on your eyes and then gently washing your eyelids with baby shampoo can help release the oil in your eyelids’ glands, thus improving the quality of your tears. Make sure you rinse all of the soap away from your eyes when you are finished.

7. Consider an omega-3 fatty acid supplement. Some people may find relief from dry eye by supplementing their diet with omega-3 fatty acids, which are found naturally in foods like oily fish (salmon, sardines, anchovies) and flax seeds. Ask your ophthalmologist if you should take supplements of omega-3 fatty acids and, if so, in what form and dosage.

Schedule a Consultation

Dry eye is a chronic condition that affects many people, so knowing how to manage it can be a positive step. Eye doctors have many ways to help alleviate dry eye symptoms, so if you are bothered by dry eye, contact us to set up an appointment today.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should you not do if you have dry eyes?

Living in dry or windy environments can worsen dry eyes, as well as looking at screens for long periods of time.

What aggravates dry eye?

Dry eye can be aggravated by staring at screens like a computer, phone, or TV for long periods. The light emitted from these screens makes you blink less frequently, which causes your eyes to become drier. Dry eye can also have medical causes such as having certain conditions or taking certain medications.

What is a major consequence of having dry eyes?

Having chronically dry eyes can lead to significant health problems like infection, inflammation, and even vision loss. Its best to treat dry eyes as soon as possible with the help of your ophthalmologist.

How long does it take dry eyes to heal?

It can take a few months to recover from dry eyes with regular use of eye drops and lifestyle changes.

How often should I put eye drops in for dry eyes?

You should put in lubricating eye drops (artificial tears) as frequently as needed depending on your symptoms. Some people find that using eye drops only once or twice per day is sufficient, while others find that they need them throughout the day. If you find that you need to put in drops more than four drops a day, it is recommended that you use a preservative free option.

Can eyedrops make dry eye worse?

Using certain types of eye drops too often can negatively impact your eyes ability to naturally produce lubrication. Always consult your opthalmologist for the right eye drops to use and how often.

What is the most common cause of dry eye?

Aging is often the most common cause of dry eye, but its also common to experience dry eyes from looking at screens for long periods of time.

Can dry eye affect your brain?

Dry eyes can cause problems with your vision, which in turn can mean a stronger association with mood disorders like depression and anxiety.

Is dry eye a permanent condition?

Dry eyes can be a permanent condition depending on the cause. If you find that you have chronic dry eyes despite using artificial tears , it is a good idea to ask your eye doctor about other treatment options such as prescription eye drops or punctal plugs.

Can at home treatments such as warm compress help dry eye?

At home treatments, such as warm compresses, can certainly help some people suffering from dry eye depending on its severity. You should always be careful when trying at home treatments because some can actually be harmful to your eyes, such as irrigating them with sink water.


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