Dry eye affects more than 20 million people in the U.S., according to one Allergan study. (Count me as one of them!) Symptoms can include a burning sensation, excessive tearing, and redness. While many steps can be taken to alleviate dry eye, I still highly recommend seeking professional help. The doctors at Professional Vision treat and manage dry eye syndrome in a multitude of ways. (From punctal plugs, to prescription drops like Restasis or steroids, to treatment of the eyelids which can be a major factor with dry eye) Many sufferers from dry eye may not realize that this is a medical condition, where the services by your eye doctor can be covered through your medical insurance. Below I’ve listed some easy ways to treat dry eye on your own, in conjunction with being managed and followed by your eye doctor.
SIMPLE STEPS TO RELIEVE DRY EYE
1. Artificial Tears: When purchasing these drops, all brands usually have “lubricant eye drops” listed on the box/bottle. There are often many different choices, and different combinations (some for “contact lenses”, or also “get the red out”, ect…), but I suggest for starters, just trying “lubricant eye drops.” Some people use these many times a day, while others use the drops as needed. This is why it’s important for people with dry eye to be followed by an eye doctor, to determine what might work best for them. Sometimes preservative free drops may be the best choice, depending on the severity and sensitivity of the patient.
2. Omega 3 Fatty Acids/ Fish Oil: More and more research keeps coming out about the multiple benefits of Omega 3 fatty acids/fish oil. Omega 3 fatty acids have been found to have anti-inflammatory effects on our bodies. Dry eye has an inflammatory component to it, where omega 3 fatty acids have been found to aid in dry eye relief. While many eye doctors recommend the suggested daily dosage of this, (make sure it’s omega 3 fish oil, not the vegetable omega), it’s still important to speak with your eye doctor, and also your primary care physician, about suggested dosage.
3. Warm compresses of the eyelids: Meibomian gland dysfunction can play a large role in causing forms of dry eye syndrome. Warm compresses can loosen up the clogged meibomian glands in the eyelids. These oil glands aid in lubricating the cornea. How often this should be performed depends on the degree of dry eyes.
4. Stop smoking: Here’s one more reason to quit smoking. Smoke can alter and irritate the tear film.
5. Humidifier: Many of my dry eye patients notice more irritation when the heat’s cranking in the winter. Try using a humidifier in the room where you spend the most time.
6. Drink plenty of water: Hydration has numerous positive effects on the body, including one more piece to the puzzle in helping to relieve dry eye.
If you have any other questions, feel free to contact me. Have a great day!