Most people will experience at least one episode of dry eyes at some point during their lifetime. Dry eye syndrome occurs when the eyes fail to produce enough tear film to keep them hydrated and comfortable, the tear film drains too quickly, or it doesn’t have the right quantities of the water, oil, and proteins that it is made from.
Dry eyes can be irritating, uncomfortable, and debilitating. Fortunately, there are lots you can do to help alleviate the effects of the condition. Here are 12 methods that can help to relieve the symptoms of dry eye syndrome.
As their name suggests, artificial tears are a manmade substance that is designed to replicate natural tear film. They are available over the counter and can usually be applied as often as you need to keep your eyes comfortable. They don’t treat the underlying cause of your condition, but they will help with your symptoms.
If artificial tears aren’t giving you enough relief, you could ask your eye doctor about prescription eye drops instead. These usually focus on reducing inflammation associated with dry eyes, making it easier for your body to produce the tear film it needs for your eyes to remain comfortable.
Steroid eye drops are a particular form of eyedrops and they are usually only prescribed as a short-term solution. This is because there are some side effects associated with their use that have the potential to make you unwell.
If you suffer from eye allergies, antihistamines may be invaluable for helping to counteract the effects of dry eyes. When you have an allergic reaction, the body produces histamines that induce itching, watering, and rashes. These can make the symptoms of dry eyes much more than they should be. Daily antihistamines could work, and you should speak to your eye doctor about this option to see if it is suitable for you.
Some eye doctors recommend nutritional supplements to patients suffering from dry eye. This is because research has found that supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids can help alleviate dry eyes and even prevent it from occurring. As well as in supplements, you can find natural omega-3s in oily fish like sardines and salmon, and flaxseed oil.
We can’t expect our eyes to be properly hydrated if our body isn’t. Water is the healthiest thing that we can drink, and mild dehydration can often make eye problems much worse. Drinking the recommended minimum of 8 glasses of water each day, and avoiding caffeinated drinks which are extremely dehydrating, can reduce your dry eye symptoms and prevent future episodes.
Punctal plugs are an ideal treatment for people whose dry eyes are caused by tear film draining too quickly. These tiny biocompatible devices are inserted into the tear drainage ducts to stop tear film from draining away. This keeps it on the surface of the eyes for longer.
The meibomian glands are responsible for creating the oils that form an essential part of the tear film. Sometimes the glands become blocked by hardened oil deposits, preventing enough oil from getting through to the tear film. Meibomian gland expression is a technique used to squeeze the clogged contents from the glands so that they can work properly again.
Warm compresses can be used as a standalone treatment or as part of meibomian gland expression. Holding a very warm compress against the eyes can help soften hardened oil deposits so that they can be passed out, and oil can join the tear film production again.
LipiFlow applies the principles of meibomian gland expression but uses technology to create the same effect. The LipiFlow device comprises special, sterile devices placed onto the eyelids and the LipiFlow machine. The machine causes the sterile pads to heat up, helping to remove any blockages. Meanwhile, gentle pulsations from the machine help to shift blockages too, enabling oil to flow more freely.
If your dry eye isn’t alleviated using any of the other suggestions, you may be recommended to try IPL treatment. IPL stands for intense pulsed light. IPL treatment involves a small, handheld device being used to target bright light onto the skin. This bright light is said to have a therapeutic effect that can reduce the effects of dry eye syndrome.
Still, struggling with dry eyes? Make an appointment with our experienced and knowledgeable eye care team today to talk about your symptoms and see what we can do to help.
Contact us today to relieve dry eye symptoms, Shelby Township, MI (586) 247-2020 or St. Clair Shores, MI (586) 200-1905.