How Is Dry Eye Disease Treated?
Your ophthalmologist might tell you to use artificial tears. These are eye drops that are like your own tears. You can use preservative free artificial tears as often as you need to.
Your ophthalmologist may suggest blocking your tear ducts. This makes your natural tears stay in your eyes longer. Tiny silicone or gel plugs (called punctal plugs) may be inserted in your tear ducts. These plugs can be removed later as needed. Your ophthalmologist could also recommend surgery that permanently closes your tear ducts.
Increasing Your Tears
Your ophthalmologist might have you use a prescription eye drop medication. This helps your eyes make more of their own tears.
Treating Dry Eye Culprits
Treating the underlying cause may require
- prescription eye drops or ointments
- warm compresses on the eyes
- massaging your eyelids
- certain eyelid cleaners
What must one do to prevent Dry Eye
- Avoid air blowing in your eyes. Don't direct hair dryers, car heaters, air conditioners or fans toward your eyes.
- Add moisture to the air. In winter, a humidifier can add moisture to dry indoor air.
- Consider wearing wraparound sunglasses or other protective eyewear. Safety shields can be added to the tops and sides of eyeglasses to block wind and dry air.
- Take eye breaks during long tasks. If you're reading or doing another task that requires visual concentration, take periodic eye breaks. Close your eyes for a few minutes. Or blink repeatedly for a few seconds to help spread your tears evenly over your eyes.
- Be aware of your environment. The air at high altitudes, in desert areas and in airplanes can be extremely dry. When spending time in such an environment, it may be helpful to frequently close your eyes for a few minutes at a time to minimize evaporation of your tears.
- Position your computer screen below eye level. If your computer screen is above eye level, you'll open your eyes wider to view the screen. Position your computer screen below eye level so that you won't open your eyes as wide. This may help slow the evaporation of your tears between eye blinks.
- Stop smoking and avoid smoke.
- Use artificial tears regularly. If you have chronic dry eyes, use eyedrops even when your eyes feel fine to keep them well-lubricated.