Dry eyes can be irritating or even painful, and they can start to interfere with your work or your social life if it gets to be too bad. That’s why it’s important to find out, not only the cause of your dry eyes, but how to best relieve them.
Possible Causes of Dry Eye
If you find that you are experiencing dry eyes, one of the most helpful techniques you can use to prevent the condition is to determine the cause. The following are some of the possible causes of dry eyes:
- Eyelid problems: This includes any eyelid problem which makes it hard to blink properly.
- Medications: Certain medications – like antihistamines, birth control pills, decongestants, pain relievers and drugs used to treat high blood pressure – may cause dry eyes as a side effect.
- Reduced tear production: Some people experienced a decreased amount of tear production, including people over 50, postmenopausal women, those who have had laser eye surgery or those with damage to a tear gland.
- Medical conditions: Diabetes, allergies, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, thyroid disorders and vitamin A deficiency may all cause dry eyes.
- Contact lenses: Wearing contacts may make your eyes dry, especially if you wear them for long periods of time.
- Poor tear quality: When the three basic layers of year film – oil, water and mucus – aren’t combined properly, dry eyes may result.
- Environmental conditions: This includes wind, high altitude, pollution, being around smoke or dry air.
- Concentrating: When driving, reading or using a computer you may get dry eyes.
Remedies For Dry Eyes
Whether you know the cause of your dry eyes or not, there are lots of great ways that you can treat them. The following are some of the best remedies for dry eye relief:
- Eye drops: Sometimes also known as “artificial tears,” there are numerous brands and types of eye drops available at any drugstore. In addition to over-the-counter options, there are also some prescription eye drops which may be used. Make sure the eye drops you choose are for dryness and not just for redness.
- Ointments: Ointments provide a coating of lubrication over the eyes, but they can cloud vision as well. These are best for use just before going to bed.
- Humidifier: A humidifier can be used to make the air in a room less dry, which usually is a relief to the eyes. These are great for use in a bedroom or at work, but they can be used anywhere.
- Changing medications: If the medication you are taking is causing your dry eyes, consider asking your doctor if there are any other medications you could use as a substitute. In some cases, a simple change in a prescription can relieve dry eyes which are caused as a medication side effect.
- Omega-3 fatty acids: There is some evidence that suggests that increasing your intake of omega-3 fatty acids may relieve dry eyes. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in many types of fish.
- Take out contacts: Some people find that taking out their contacts earlier in the day (or putting them in later in the day) is effective at reducing their dry eye symptoms. One technique with this method is to take off your glasses after work or to wear glasses at work instead of contacts. There are also some special contacts available which may help to reduce the dryness associated with wearing them.
- Don’t smoke: If you smoke, then cutting back on your habit could be a good way to relieve your dry eyes. This is also true for spending less time in smoky places or around others who are smoking.
- Treat underlying causes: One of the best ways to treat dry eyes in the long run is to look at the underlying causes of your symptoms. That could mean getting help for your eyelid problem or seeing a doctor about your tear glands.
- Antibiotics: There are certain antibiotics which may be used when eyelid inflammation is the source of dry eyes. Theses antibiotics may be administered orally or may be applied directly to the eyes as either eye drops or an ointment.
- Surgery: In more severe cases of dry eye where other treatments are not successful, a surgery may be performed to close the tear ducts to prevent tear loss. There are options to complete this procedure so that it is either permanent or temporary. This is reserved only for more serious cases of dry eyes.
Dry eyes don’t have to get in your way if you know how to best treat them. Use the tips above to help relieve your dry eyes. If you continue to have problems, speak with your doctor about other options for treatment.