Dry eye treatment relieves the irritation and discomfort caused by dry eye syndrome, also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca. When the eyes do not produce enough tears or evaporate too quickly, it leads to dryness, grittiness, redness, burning, and other problematic symptoms. The good news is that various effective Dry eye treatments are available to provide relief. From artificial tears to prescription anti-inflammatory drugs, dry eye treatment aims to lubricate the eyes, reduce inflammation, clear blocked glands, and stimulate tear production. With proactive dry eye treatment, most people can successfully manage this condition and improve their eye comfort. Fortunately, there are several effective treatments available to provide relief.
The most common dry eye treatment is artificial tears, also called ocular lubricants. These wetting agents provide temporary relief by mimicking the eyes’ natural tear film. Artificial tears are available over-the-counter as solutions, gels, and ointments. Popular brands include Systane, Refresh, Blink, and TheraTears. They come in different formulations for varying dryness levels. Artificial tears can be used throughout the day to hydrate and lubricate the eyes.
Applying warm, moist heat is another handy dry eye treatment. It helps stimulate tear production and clear oil blockages from glands. To do this, soak a clean washcloth in warm water, wring it out, then place it over closed eyes for 5-10 minutes. Repeat 2-4 times daily. Microwavable eye masks and compresses are also available. The heat loosens blocked meibomian glands and promotes gland secretion.
For moderate to severe dry eye, prescription medicated eye drops may be recommended as part of the treatment plan. These include anti-inflammatory drops like Restasis and Xiidra to reduce eye irritation and swelling. Others contain cyclosporine to increase tear production. Steroid eye drops also minimize inflammation. Oral antibiotics such as doxycycline can address eyelid inflammation caused by meibomian gland issues. Always use medications as directed by your eye doctor.
Certain nutritional supplements can aid dry eye treatment by reducing inflammation. Omega-3 fatty acids in fish, krill, and flaxseed oils have anti-inflammatory properties. Oral supplements like hydro eye also contain antioxidants along with omega-3s to help relieve dry eye symptoms. Check with your ophthalmologist before taking any supplements for proper dosage.
Lid Hygiene and Compresses
Part of an excellent dry eye routine involves keeping the eyelids and lashes clean to prevent oil blockages from worsening symptoms. Use a gentle lid scrub or baby shampoo to wash the eyelids, rinsing thoroughly after. Follow up with a warm, moist compress over the eyes for 5-10 minutes. Proper eyelid hygiene helps treat meibomian gland dysfunction.
It also helps to avoid factors that can aggravate dry eyes, such as air conditioning, cigarette smoke, wind, and low humidity. Wear sunglasses outside and use proper ventilation indoors. Identify and limit exposure to elements that seem to worsen dry eye discomfort.
Other therapies like punctal plugs or prescription drugs may be needed in severe dry eye cases. But for most patients, combining these treatments brings significant relief and improves eye health and comfort. Work with your ophthalmologist to find the right solutions for dry eye management.