When the air is colder and drier than the rest of the year your eyes are much more susceptible to drying out. Even if you don’t normally have chronic dry eye problems, when this kind of weather rolls around you might suddenly start feeling it. Maybe you’ve noticed your eyes feeling dry and scratchy, or getting red, or being overly watery. These are dry eye symptoms.
Dry eye syndrome is a chronic and typically progressive condition. In most cases, dry eyes can be managed successfully, usually resulting in noticeably greater eye comfort, fewer symptoms, and sometimes sharper vision as well. Because dry eye disease can have a number of causes, a variety of treatment approaches are used.
The best dry eye treatment may simply be frequent use of lubricating eye drops. There are many brands of artificial tears that are available without a prescription.
There are many brands of artificial tears that are available without a prescription. These eye drops are available with a wide variety of ingredients and visvosity (thickness). Artificial tears with low viscosity are “light” and watery and often provide quick relief with little or no blurring of your vision. However, their soothing effect is very short-lived. Artifical tears that have a high viscosity are more gel-like and can provide longer-lasting lubrication, but can cause significant blurring of your vision for several minutes immediately after you apply them. These drops usually provide better relief for more severe dry eye.
Instead of artificial tears (or in addition to them), your eye doctor might recommend daily use of a prescription eye drop. Restasis, Xiidra and steroid eye drops are three medications that can be used for dry eye. These medications reduce inflammation that is associated with the signs and symptoms of dry eyes. Although medications are not for everyone, some patients will experience significant relief with these drops.
Restasis does more than simply lubricate the surface of your eye. It includes an agent that reduces inflammation associated with dry eye syndrome and helps your body produce more natural tears to keep your eyes moist, comfortable and healthy.
Punctal plugs are sometimes used in dry eye treatment to help tears remain on the surface of the eye longer. A punctal plug is a small, sterile device that is inserted into one of the small openings (puncta) of tear drainage ducts that are located in the inner corner of the upper and lower eyelids. After these openings have been plugged, tears can no longer drain away from the eye.
This drawing shows the lacrimal glands and tear ducts. A lacrimal plug (or punctal plug) has been inserted into the lower tear duct to keep the eye’s moisture from draining away too quickly.
Intense Pulsed Light
In IPL treatment, a hand-held device flashes bright light onto the skin. Many patients experience relief from their dry eye symptoms and become less dependent on artificial tears and other eye drops to control dry eye symptoms after IPL therapy. For this reason, IPL treatment may be well-suited for dry eye patients who don’t want to be troubled by the inconvenience of frequent eye drop use.
If you have dry symptoms, a thorough eye examination is needed to evaluate the cause of your dry eyes and help find the best treatment for you.
Home Remedies for Dry Eyes
If you have mild dry eye symptoms, there are several things you can try to get relief before going to the eye doctor:
- Blink more frequently
- Take frequent breaks during computer use
- Remove eye makeup thoroughly
- Clean your eyelids
- Drink more water
- Wear quality sunglasses: Wraparound-style sunglasses and eyewear with side shields can protect your eyes from moisture-robbing wind and irritating debris.
- Nutritional Supplements: The doctor’s at Total Eye Care recommend PRN Dry Eye Supplements that contain Omega 3 Fatty Acids which have typically shown to decrease dry eye symptoms