What are Dry Eye Symptoms and Treatments?
As chronic ailments go, dry eye is considered one of the most common and one of the most uncomfortable. The more a person relies on sight for work, driving, and personal interests the more annoying dry eye becomes. Thankfully, dry eye is often only temporary, and sufferers have a wealth of affordable options to choose from to treat it. But let’s first begin with the symptoms dry eye sufferers experience.
Symptoms of Dry Eye
*Symptoms usually affect both eyes, but can also affect only one. Some of these symptoms include:
- Red eyes
- Eye fatigue
- Sensitivity to light
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty when trying to drive at night
- Feelings of burning or aching in the eye
- An inability to shed tears even during emotional situations
- Fluctuating between watery eyes, and then very dry eyes
- Increased difficulties or intolerance when attempting to wear contact lenses
- A constant feeling as though something is in the eye or eyes, even when there isn’t
Treatments for Dry Eye
Thankfully, sufferers and their doctors have devised many treatments over the years. Some treatments can be done naturally at home, while others may require a visit to the pharmacy, or the doctor. The treatment prescribed may also depend on the symptoms and the causes of the condition.
Taking Frequent Breaks from the Screen. Using computer screens for prolonged periods of time, especially without blinking, often causes dry eye. Thus, the natural remedy for this would be to blink more often when using screens, and to take visual breaks by looking away and focusing on something else for short periods of time.
Artificial Tears and Eye Drops. Artificial tears are a great remedy for dry eye caused by the environment or behavior rather than by medical issues. This includes instances in which patients develop dry eye from reading, using computers for prolonged periods, or flying frequently.
When choosing artificial tears and eye drops, users must consider the pros and cons between drops with high or low viscosity. Popular prescription eye drops include Restasis and Xiidra. Steroid eye drops can also assist when inflammation causes dry eye.
Lacrisert. This works best for patients with moderate to severe cases of dry eye. It usually provides relief even when artificial tears and eye drops do not. This solid insert slowly turns to liquid throughout the day and provides constant moisture. Ask your optometrist about this one!
Punctal Plugs. This is a tiny device placed inside the small openings of the tear drainage ducts. These devices help tears to remain on the eye for a longer period by removing the opportunity for them to drain away. Instead, they evaporate slowly throughout the day. Your optometrist can insert these for you.
Meibomian Gland Expression. Many dry eye cases occur because the eyes don’t secrete enough oil from the meibomian glands. The glands, found near the base of the eyelashes, can get clogged and cause problems. In this procedure, a doctor unclogs the glands and gets them working properly again.
When to Consider Professional Help
Though there are many natural home remedies and over-the-counter solutions, some patients may need professional care in order to get relief. People suffering from dry eye should see an eye doctor if their symptoms include red eyes, irritated eyes, or when there is pain or chronic itching.
There are many methods for treating the terrible symptoms of dry eye – great news for dry eye sufferers on the hunt for a solution. What have you tried? Have any treatments been successful? Let the community know below!
Dr. Jenna Zigler
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