What options do I have for dry eyes?
Dry eyes can be due to a variety of reasons including not blinking often enough, side effects of medications, changes in hormones, seasonal weather variations, or other systemic diseases.
Some symptoms often associated with dryness include:
- Irritated, gritty feeling
- Burning or stinging sensation
- Mild pain
- Excessive tearing (trying to make up for dryness)
- Foreign body sensation when blinking (may be due to clogged glands along the eyelids)
Tips to try to improve dry eyes at home:
- Take frequent breaks when doing near work to consciously blink. Studies have shown us that we do not blink as often when focusing on computers or reading. Taking a break every 20 minutes to look 20 feet away and blink for 20 seconds allows our eyes to relax reminds us to consciously blink.
- If dryness is due to clogged glands which produce your tears, you can consider doing warm compresses once or twice a day. Simply wet a clean wash cloth with warm water (not too hot to burn yourself), and place the washcloth on your eyes for a few minutes (making sure it is touching your eyelids). Then massage your eyes by putting mild pressure on the eyelids close to the eyelashes.
- Using artificial tears can be helpful to supplement our natural tear production but are often just a temporary relief.
What can your eye doctor do to help:
- Assess your dry eyes to see what factors may be contributing
- Discuss and collaborate with your primary care doctor to consider other causes or associated symptoms
- Prescribe medication eye drops to treat the inflammatory aspect of dry eyes
- Consider inserting punctal plugs which are used to reduce tear drainage and keep your natural tears on your eye for longer to increase moisture.
- Fit specialty scleral lenses in some cases when medically necessary which allow saline to stay on the eye and provide long lasting comfort
While you can consider starting some of these options at home, it is important to have your eyes evaluated to determine the best course of action. You can schedule your appointment online or call our office to schedule an appointment to discuss your symptoms and the most appropriate management.