Dry eyes are a significant problem in today’s society. There are different types and severities of dry eyes that lead to symptoms of dryness and uncomfortable eyes, or eyes that have tears constantly running.
Hot compresses and eyelid scrubs/massage with baby shampoo help by providing a thicker, more stable lipid layer. This is especially helpful if a person has meibomian gland dysfunction, rosacea, or blepharitis. The heat warms up the oil in the oil glands, making it flow more easily; the massaging action helps get the oil out of the glands. The cleansing action decreases the number of bacteria that break down the oil.
There is no single over-the-counter drop that is best for everybody. We can advise which combination would best suit your individual situation.
Artificial tears and lubricating eye drops and gels (available from Eyecatchers) help provide more moisture and lubrication for the surface of the eye. They are typically used about four times a day, but they can be used as often as needed. Preservative free solutions are recommended if one wishes to use eye drops more than six times a day. Some drops may have a longer time effect than others.
Lubricating eye ointments are much thicker than eye drops and gels. Because ointments are thick, they last much longer than eye drops and gels. However, because of their thickness, ointments may blur vision if they are used during the day. Therefore, they are typically used to lubricate the eyes overnight during sleep.
If the eyes are dry mainly while reading or watching TV, taking frequent breaks to allow the eyes to rest and become moist and comfortable again is helpful. Closing the eyes for 10 seconds every five to 10 minutes will increase comfort, as will blinking more frequently.
Taking a fish oil or flax seed oil (or other high quality source of omega-3 fatty acids) supplement every day can often be helpful in alleviating symptoms of dry eye.