Dry eye can be a chronic or temporary condition. Severe dry eye symptoms are likely to hurt. If your eyes are feeling dry and looking red, don’t worry as relief is available. Depending on the cause and severity of dry eyes, it might not be completely curable.
However, in a majority of cases, you can manage dry eyes successfully. This can usually result in fewer dry eye symptoms, noticeably greater eye comfort, and sometimes even sharper vision.
Causes of Dry Eyes
If your eyes are healthy, they are constantly covered with a liquid, called a tear film. It’s designed to stay stable between each blink. This helps prevent your eyes from becoming dry and promotes clear vision. The tear film can get unstable if your tear glands produce fewer tears. It can also break down quickly, which creates dry spots on the surface of your eyes.
Dry Eye Symptoms
If you have dry eye syndrome, you may experience a range of different symptoms, such as:
- Blurry vision
- Stringy mucus around or in the eyes
- Watery eyes
- Redness of the eyes
- Sensitivity to light
- A stinging or burning sensation
There are several medications and procedures for the treatment of dry eye.
You can use prescription medications to treat dry eyes.
Inflammation on the eye surface (cornea) can be easily controlled using prescription eyedrops that have the immune-suppressing medication corticosteroids or cyclosporine (Restasis). Mild cases of dry eyes are often caused by reading, computer use, and schoolwork. In these cases, the best dry eye treatment can simply be regular use of artificial tears or any other lubricating eye drops.
On the other hand, if you have moderate to severe dry eye symptoms and eyedrops or artificial tears aren’t helping, another option is using a tiny eye insert that resembles a clear grain of rice.
Your doctor may prescribe punctal plugs for dry eye treatment in order to help tears stay on the surface of your eyes longer. You will have to place the inserts in your eye between your lower eyelid and your eyeball. They release medicine throughout the day and keep your eyes moist.
Unblocking Oil Glands
Another (and perhaps more comfortable) way to open your clogged meibomian glands for treating dry eyes is the application of warm compresses to your closed eyelids. This will soften your hardened meibum. Also, a thermal pulsation device is another great way to unclog your oil glands.
If you have severe dry eyes, you can also opt for special contact lenses (called scleral lenses or bandage lenses) to protect the surface of the eyes and trap more moisture. You can find relief and comfort by wearing scleral or bandage contact lenses.
You can make some at-home changes that can improve your chronic dry eye symptoms.
- Blinking regularly when performing the same task for an extended period, such as looking at a computer screen or reading a book
- Using a high-quality cool-mist humidifier to add more moisture to the air
- Avoiding smoking as well as smoky places
The dry eye treatment you choose for treating dry eye syndrome depends on various factors, such as the severity of your symptoms.