Suffer from dry eyes? There is help! See below for some useful tips:
Artificial Tears are beneficial for the stinging or burning associated with dry eyes. Made of ingredients that temporarily restore moisture to eyes (e.g., glycerin and oils), you can use one or two drops in each eye when they feel uncomfortable.
If you need to use more than 3 or 4 times a day, see your ophthalmologist; and if you use drops frequently, try switching to preservative-free drops.
Omega 3’s help reduce the inflammation that can contribute to dry-eye syndrome (DES). Studies have shown that patients who take daily supplements of omega-3 fish-oil supplements plus flaxseed oil produce more tears. You can increase your intake byadding a few servings of salmon to your weekly diet or by taking fish-oil and flaxseed supplements after discussing them with your practitioner.
There are prescription medications for treating chronic DES. Restasis® is a prescription eye drop that contains cyclosporine, which can help increase natural tear production. Use it twice a day as directed by your ophthalmologist.
Warm Compresses are helpful for when your eyes just don’t have enough tears! Tears are your eyes’ lubrication and are made up of water and oil. The oil is produced by glands along the eyelid; if the cells in the glands harden and the openings of the glands become plugged, the oil in the tears may be reduced. Without the oil, the water in tears evaporates too quickly, leaving your eyes feeling dry. Warm compresses can liquefy the plugs so the oil can flow into the tears.
Eyelid Washes are helpful when dry eyes have accompanying flaking along the eyelids (a sign of blepharitis–“dandruff” and inflammation of the eyelash follicles). Because of the overproduction of oil (the same concept as dandruff on the scalp), cells near and around the eyelids stick together, causing inflammation. Too much oil can clog the glands and cause tears to evaporate too rapidly. An OTC eye wash contains mild cleansing agents to dissolve the oil and remove the flakes (as well as irritants and allergens). If the symptoms persist for more than 2-3 days, see an ophthalmologist.
Eye Inserts are a new treatment option that can be used when all other remedies fail. Available only by prescription, Lacrisert®ophthalmic inserts are tiny cellulose beads that you place within the pouch of your lower lids. These beads dissolve slowly and mix with your own tears and provide ongoing lubrication throughout the day. Use once or twice a day as directed by your ophthalmologist.