Manage your Dry Eye Symptoms

March 26th, 2019

Dry eye disease (DED) affects hundreds of millions of people throughout the world and is one of the most frequent causes of patient visits to their eye care practitioners. The effects of DED are associated with significant pain, burning and a scratching sensation in the eye and can cause limitations in performing daily activities.

However, many patients don’t realize that DED is a common side effect of several medications, medical conditions, and dry, windy climates.[2]  A common occurrence of DED also increases with age. Approximately 3.2 million women and 1.68 million men, all aged 50 and over, are affected by DED in America.[3]

Don’t become part of the statistic, learn about DED, manage your symptoms, and talk with your eye care professional.

 

Manage your Dry Eye symptoms by taking a few precautionary steps:

 ARTIFICIAL TEARS-

Mild cases of dry eye may be managed by using over-the-counter artificial tear solutions. Preservative-free artificial tear solutions are recommended because they contain fewer additives that can further irritate the eyes.[1] [2]

INCREASING TEAR PRODUCTION-

Your eye care professional may prescribe eye drops that increase tear production, like artificial tears but with added medication. Taking an omega-3 fatty acid nutritional supplement, which studies have shown to increase tear production, may be a beneficial precautionary step.[1] [2]

TREATING  EYELID OR OCULAR SURFACE INFLAMMATION-

Eye care professionals recommend ointments, warm compresses with lid massage, or eyelid cleaners to help decrease inflammation around the surface of the eyes. [1] [2]

SELF-CARE-

You can take the following steps to reduce symptoms of dry eye at home.
Blink regularly when reading or staring at a computer screen for long periods of time.
Wear sunglasses outdoors, particularly those with wraparound frames, to reduce exposure to drying winds and the sun.
Nutritional supplements containing essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals help to decrease dry eye symptoms.
Drink plenty of water (8 to 10 glasses) each day to avoid becoming dehydrated. [1] [2]

Most importantly, remember that as we age, a certain amount of dry eye disease is bound to happen. It’s just part of the process. That does not mean, however, that everyone who ages will have DED. By monitoring the symptoms of DED through regular, comprehensive eye exams and detecting any advancement early on, you may be able to prevent, or at least slow down, significant progression and eyesight damage.

Resources:
[1] Dry Eye. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/eye-and-vision-problems/glossary-of-eye-and-vision-conditions/dry-eye
[2] DRY EYE REDEFINED: TFOS DEWS II REPORT. (n.d.). Retrieved from  https://www.tfosdewsreport.org/
[3] https://www.aao.org/newsroom/eye-health-statistics

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