What Can Your Eye Doctor Do About Eye Dryness?

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What Can Your Eye Doctor Do About Eye Dryness?

Chronic eye dryness can make living your daily life a struggle. The blurry vision that often goes hand in hand with eye dryness makes it hard to concentrate on your work, and then there's the itchiness and discomfort to worry about.

The good news is that there are plenty of ways to manage and treat eye dryness. Your eye doctor may recommend one or more of the following approaches, depending on the cause of your eye dryness.

Lifestyle Changes

Many daily habits impact your tear production and may cause eye dryness. In some cases, you may just need to make some lifestyle changes to reduce your discomfort. Smoking has a strong link to eye dryness. If you are a smoker, then start taking steps toward quitting. Drinking more water may also help enhance tear production - aim for at least eight glasses per day.

If you do not blink often enough, this can cause your eyes to feel dry. Many people blink less often when they are staring at a screen, which is common in today's society. If you work behind a computer screen, then start taking breaks whenever possible and reminding yourself to blink more often. You may notice that your eyes begin to feel more comfortable.

Contact lens wearers can make a few specific changes to reduce eye dryness. Protein buildup on contacts is a common cause for eye dryness. Clean or replace your lenses more often to remove protein or talk to your eye doctor about switching to disposable daily lenses. Also, consider switching to a different brand of contact solution. Some people experience dryness and irritation when they use certain brands.

Medications and Eye Drops

Several types of medications and eye drops are used to manage eye dryness. For mild to moderate eye dryness, your eye doctor may recommend an over-the-counter, lubricating eye drop. These drops contain ingredients like humectants and electrolytes to keep your eyes moist throughout the day. Most drops are safe to apply several times per day, as needed.

For more serious cases of dry eye that are caused or made worse by inflammation in the eye, your eye doctor may prescribe cyclosporine eye drops. Cyclosporine works to increase tear production, keeping your eyes more comfortable. Usually, you will need to put the drops in your eyes twice per day. Contact lens wearers can often use cyclosporine drops as long as they wait 15 minutes between using the drops and inserting their lenses.

Punctal Plugs

If your eye dryness is a temporary side effect of eye surgery, or if you are unable to use prescription medications for eye dryness, then your eye doctor may recommend a treatment called punctal plugs. These are tiny plugs placed in your tear ducts. They prevent your tear ducts from absorbing tears as quickly, so the tears linger on the surface of your eye longer - reducing feelings of dryness.

There are a few different types of punctal plugs. Some are temporary and dissolve on their own within a few days or weeks - these are often used to treat post-surgical dryness. If your eye dryness is related to an autoimmune condition, then your eye doctor may recommend semi-permanent punctal plugs. Having the plugs put in place is quick and painless, and side effects are rare. 

If you have been suffering from eye dryness, then don't hesitate to reach out to your eye doctor. There are many ways to manage dryness, from simple lifestyle changes to prescription medications. Untreated dryness increases your risk of an eye infection and corneal scratches, so why put yourself at risk? Contact The Spectacle - Dr. Kevin Lenahan to schedule an appointment.

Katy Lenahan