Dry eye syndrome occurs when your eyes don’t produce enough tears. The condition can be temporary or chronic. With chronic dry eye, your symptoms may get better or worse at times, but they won’t go away completely. Temporary dry eye is caused by environmental factors.
Because dry eye syndrome can be caused by a number of factors, there are different treatments available. Schedule an appointment with your eye specialist to determine the best treatment approach for your symptoms. In the meantime, here are some of the best ways to manage your condition.
Mild cases of dry eye are generally well controlled with lubricating eye drops. These drops can be purchased over the counter without a prescription. However, these drops vary based on their ingredients and thickness.
Lubricating eye drops that are thin and watery generally provide quick relief with little to no blurring. But their effects are usually short lived. On the other hand, thicker eye drops offer longer lasting effects but can cause significant blurring. This is why we don’t recommend using these drops during the day when you’re working or driving.
Prescription Eye Drops
Some people with dry eye syndrome need prescription eye drops. These drops decrease inflammation in addition to keeping the eyes moist. Two of the most common dry eye medications are Restasis and Xiidra. These drops lubricate the surface of the eye, helping your body produce more tears and reduce inflammation.
It’s important to point out that these medications do not work right away. It takes several months for the full effects to be reached. Some people also experience burning or stinging when using the drops.
Steroid Eye Drops
Another option for dry eye syndrome is steroid drops. In recent years, studies have shown that inflammation is a problem for people with dry eyes. Therefore, managing chronic inflammation can help decrease symptoms.
Steroid eye drops are usually used alongside prescription medications like Restasis, but they do have the potential for side effects. Your eye doctor will need to know your full medical history before starting you on them.
Chronic dry eye symptoms can come and go indefinitely. When your symptoms worsen, you can try these natural, at-home remedies to see which bring you relief:
- Place a warm, wet cloth over your eyes for five minutes
- Massage your eyelids with a mild soap or baby shampoo
- Add omega-3 supplements to your diet
- Use castor oil eye drops (some OTC drops have castor oil)
- Wear sunglasses year-round
- Blink often when using digital devices
- Use a cool mist humidifier in your bedroom or office
- Drink plenty of water and avoid smoke
If your dry eye symptoms are severe enough, your retina specialist may recommend a more advanced procedure. Examples include closing your tear ducts, ordering special contacts or clearing blocked oil glands. Intense-pulsed light therapy is an alternative treatment that also shows favorable results for dry eyes.
The treatment you choose for chronic dry eye depends on many factors, including the severity of your symptoms and if it’s caused by an underlying condition. Schedule an eye exam with Empire Retina Consultants to learn more about the treatment options that can offer long-term relief for chronic dry eye syndrome.