Tips for Managing Chronic Dry Eyes

If your eyes are usually red, itchy, and irritated, you might think it’s simply a part of your life based on the environment you live in, lack of sleep, or allergies. While these may certainly be contributing factors to your dry, uncomfortable eyes, you could also have a condition called dry eye syndrome, or chronic dry eye. Dry eyes is a common condition that affects people who have a deficiency in the quantity or quality of their tears, or both. 

Here at ReVision Optix, with convenient locations in Simpsonville and Greenville, South Carolina, our skilled optometrists, Dr. Sean Stevens and Dr. Tiffany Brawner, are experts at diagnosing the underlying causes of dry eye syndrome, so they can provide effective treatment for this condition. If you suffer from chronic dry eyes, here are some professional tips regarding how to manage and relieve symptoms.

First, identify your symptoms

Before you decide which tips may work best for you, it’s a good idea to identify your dry eye symptoms. Most people experience some of the following symptoms in both of their eyes:

If you have dry eye syndrome, you might also have excessively watery eyes, which sounds counterintuitive; but it's your body’s response to the constant irritation in your dry eyes. In some cases, your tear ducts may attempt to overcompensate for your dry eyes by producing an excess of tears. 

Artificial tears and eye drops

For mild cases of dry eyes, you may be able to get relief with over-the-counter artificial tears. For example, if you sit in front of a computer screen for prolonged periods of time, artificial tears can help lubricate your eyes and restore comfort throughout the day.

For more complex cases of dry eye syndrome, your optometrist at ReVision Optix may prescribe a daily eye drop that lubricates the surface of your eyes and also reduces inflammation. Some prescription eye drops help your body produce more natural tears, as well, to keep your eyes moist and comfortable. 

Oral antihistamines and allergy medications

If allergies are a contributing factor to your dry eye symptoms, oral antihistamines may help bring relief. Allergy medications may also help keep your eyes lubricated and help flush out allergens to reduce irritation and soothe your eyes. 

BlephEx™ to reduce blepharitis symptoms

Many people with dry eyes also suffer from blepharitis. Blepharitis is an inflammation of your eyelids that affects your tear production. BlephEx is an in-office treatment in which your optometrist effectively cleans your eyelids and lashes, reducing debris associated with blepharitis, and relieving chronic symptoms of irritated eyes. 

Home remedies and lifestyle changes

If dry eyes bother you throughout the day, in addition to using lubricating drops, you can also apply a warm, wet washcloth to your eyes to help keep your eyelids clean and to increase eye comfort. Also, take frequent breaks throughout your day, especially if you look at a computer screen at work. Blink your eyes and look away from the screen every 20 minutes. 

Try not to have air conditioning or heat blowing directly on you, as that creates dry air and can make chronic dry eye symptoms worse. You might even use a humidifier to keep the air in your home or office moist. And when you’re outside, wear quality sunglasses to protect your eyes from harmful ultraviolet rays, wind, dust, and other environmental pollutants. 

Nutritional supplements that contain fatty acids help some people get relief from dry eye syndrome, and drinking more water each day helps your whole body stay hydrated, including your eyes. 

Switch your contacts

If your dry eyes are the result of contact lens wear, you may need to take a break from your lenses and wear glasses for awhile so your eyes can recover. You might consider switching to daily disposable contact lenses so you wear a fresh pair of contacts each day. Dr. Stevens and Dr. Brawner can advise you on the best approach to contact lenses with dry eye syndrome and blepharitis. 

Since the underlying cause of chronic dry eyes is different for everyone, and may be a combination of factors, the first step in getting relief is to schedule an eye exam at our Simpsonville or Greenville offices. Give our friendly team a call at the office closest to your home or office or contact us online today. 

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