21 Jul Soothing the Soreness: Effective Tips for Managing Dry Eyes
Soothing the Soreness: Effective Tips for Managing Dry Eyes
According to the National Eye Institute, nearly 5 million Americans who are 50 or older experience severe symptoms of dry eye and about 20 million have less severe symptoms. The condition is twice as prevalent among women as it is among men.
What is Dry Eye?
Dry eye is a condition in which a person doesn’t have enough quality tears to lubricate and nourish the surface of the eye. Tears are necessary for maintaining the health of the cornea and for providing clear vision.
What are the most common causes?
Dry eyes are a part of the natural aging process.
Women are more likely to develop dry eyes due to hormonal changes.
Certain medicines, including antihistamines, decongestants, blood pressure medications and antidepressants, can reduce tear production.
People with rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and thyroid problems are more likely to have symptoms of dry eyes. Also, problems with inflammation of the eyelids (blepharitis), inflammation of the surfaces of the eye, or the inward or outward turning of eyelids can cause dry eyes to develop.
Exposure to smoke, wind and dry climates can increase tear evaporation resulting in dry eye symptoms. Failure to blink regularly, such as when staring at a computer screen for long periods of time, can also contribute to drying of the eyes.
Long-term use of contact lenses can be a factor in the development of dry eyes. Refractive eye surgeries, such as LASIK, can decrease tear production and contribute to dry eyes.
Symptoms of dry eye?
People with dry eyes may experience irritated, gritty, scratchy or burning eyes; a feeling of something in their eyes; excess watering; and blurred vision. Symptoms include: redness, stinging, scratching, or burning sensations, light sensitivity, watery eyes, stringy mucus near the eye and blurry vision.
Lubricating eye drops that mimic natural tears to alleviate dryness and discomfort by providing moisture and reducing friction between the eye’s surface and the eyelids.
Application of a warm, damp eye mask to the closed eyes helps to open clogged oil glands in the eyelids, improving tear film stability and reducing dry eye symptoms.
Prescription Eye Drops:
Medications like restasis or xiidra can help reduce inflammation and promote tear production, providing relief for chronic dry eye conditions.
Tiny silicone or gel plugs inserted into the tear ducts to slow down tear drainage, keeping the eyes more lubricated and preventing excessive tear loss.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids:
Consuming supplements or foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce inflammation and improve the quality of the tear film.
Managing dry eye triggers by avoiding smoke, wind and air conditioning and using a humidifier in dry environments can decrease eye irritation.
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Therapy:
IPL treatment helps reduce inflammation of the oil glands in the eyelids, enhancing tear quality and comfort.
Regularly cleaning the eyelids can improve the function of oil glands, which in turn helps maintain a stable tear film.
Scleral Contact Lenses:
Large, gas-permeable lenses that cover the entire cornea and rest on the sclera can help retain moisture and protect the cornea, benefiting those with severe dry eye conditions.
It’s essential to consult an eye care professional to determine the most suitable treatment for individual cases of dry eye, as the effectiveness of each option may vary depending on the underlying cause and severity of the condition. Schedule your dry eye exam with us today!