When the eye produces too few tears or the tears they produce do not offer adequate lubrication, the result is dry eye. The eye care specialists at Berks Eye Physicians and Surgeons explain how to relieve dry eye in the short term. Chronic dry eye, however, requires professional evaluation and treatment.
Dry Eye Causes
Temporary dry eye can result from the use of certain medications. The side effects of antihistamines and nasal decongestants include dry eye. That is also true of certain drugs prescribed to lower blood pressure, as well as antidepressants and acne medications. Do not stop using prescription drugs without consulting your doctor. Discuss whether there are suitable substitutes that may not cause dry eye.
Here are a few ways to relieve occasionally dry eyes:
1. Artificial Tears
Use over-the-counter artificial tears to soothe mildly dry eyes. Do not use products advertised to reduce redness if your eyes are not red. By constricting blood vessels, they may cause irritation. Artificial tears are applied several times daily.
2. Reduce Screen Time
Excessive screen time and dry eye often go hand-in-hand. If possible, reduce the amount of time spent staring at screens, including television, and see if symptoms subside. When using screens, take regular breaks and make sure to blink regularly.
3. Omega-3 Supplements
Taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements may relieve dry eye symptoms over time, although they do not provide immediate relief. An alternate or complement to supplements is consuming foods containing large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, such as fatty fish, walnuts and flax or chia seeds.
4. Stay Hydrated
Hydration is crucial for good health. A lack of hydration may cause various issues, including dry eye. Keep water on hand and drink it throughout the day.
5. Use a Humidifier
A dry environment aggravates dry eye. Use a humidifier to keep a healthy amount of moisture in your indoor environment.
Permanent Dry Eye Solutions
If dry eye is an ongoing issue, consider permanent dry eye solutions. An eye care professional will determine the source of your chronic dry eye and devise the best solution for your needs.
Prescription medications can reduce eyelid inflammation contributing to dry eye. Other drugs may increase tear production. Other solutions involve contact lenses designed to hold moisture, eye inserts that dissolve slowly and mimic tears, and light therapy accompanied by eyelid massage. Many patients benefit from a combination of therapies.
If you are experiencing ongoing dry eye, contact the dedicated eye care specialists at Berks Eye Physicians and Surgeons to schedule a consultation. You need a definitive diagnosis as to the cause of chronic dry eye for appropriate therapy. We will answer all of your questions and let you know your treatment options.