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Dry Eyes: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments, and At-Home Remedies

February 23, 20235 min read

Dry eye is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It can be caused by a wide range of factors, from hormone levels to diet, and can lead to both physical and emotional discomfort. In this article, we’ll explore the causes and symptoms of dry eyes, as well as six traditional treatments and five natural home remedies for relief.

What are Dry Eyes?

Dry eye is a condition that occurs when the eyes don't produce enough tears or the tears produced aren't of good quality. The lack of moisture leads to discomfort in the eyes and issues with vision.

Common symptoms include eye fatigue, a burning sensation, itching or redness in the eyes, blurry vision, irritated eyelids, and sensitivity to light. Dry eyes can be caused by anything from hormonal changes to medications to environmental conditions such as air pollution or temperature fluctuations. Even staring at screens for prolonged periods of time can cause dry eye syndrome!

Traditional Treatments for Dry Eyes

If you're experiencing what you believe to be dry eye, your first line of defense is to find out exactly what's going on. By visiting your eye care professional, they can help properly diagnose you so that you can begin treatments that have been proven to work. Below you'll find a few traditional treatments your eye doctor might prescribe.

  1. Eyelid Hygiene: Arguably, this is the most basic and more important step. So much of dry eye is due to meibomian gland dysfunction and blepharitis, or eyelid inflammation. To battle this, you'll need to ensure that you have a great eyelid hygiene routine. We recommend hypochlorous acid used twice daily, but eyelid wipes are also a great option.

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  1. Omega-3 Supplements: Studies have shown that taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements daily helped improve signs related to dry eye syndrome, such as reduced inflammation.

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  1. Heat Compresses: Warm compresses applied directly onto closed eyelids help unblock clogged oil glands and may improve tear production. This can reduce inflammation associated with dry eyes. We recommend using a microwaveable warm compress. If you find that warm compresses do not help your symptoms, you can skip this step and discuss other options with your doctor.

  2. Punctal Plugs: This procedure involves inserting small plugs into the tear ducts located on either side of your nose so that your tears stay on your eye longer instead of draining away quickly. Punctal plugs help preserve moisture in the eye which prevents it from drying out easily. That being said, plugs can also back up inflammation onto the eye if there is a lot present. Make sure to discuss this with your doctor before undergoing this procedure.

  3. Artificial Tears: Over-the-counter artificial tears come in various forms such as drops or gels that can help replenish moisture in your eyes and reduce discomfort from dryness. Your doctor will be able to recommend an artificial tear that is right for you. Keep in mind that if your dry eye is more severe, artificial tears may only provide short term symotom relief.

  4. Prescription Eye Drops: These eye drops contain certain ingredients that work to heal the surface of your eyes, which may reduce inflammation associated with dry eye. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotic or steroid eye drops or ointments that may help reduce the inflammatory load on your eyes. In addition, there are a few prescription eye drops that have now been approved specifically for dry eyes!

At Home Natural Remedies for Dry Eyes

  1. Eating a Healthy Diet: Consuming foods rich in essential fatty acids like salmon, flaxseeds and walnuts can help maintain a healthy tear film. In addition, a plant based diet can be a great way to flood your body with antioxidants and nutrients needed for healthy eyes.

  2. Drinking Water: Staying hydrated is important as it helps lubricate the mucous membranes around your eyes which helps keep them moist. Statistics note that the majority of people are walking around dehydrated. This likely includes you! 

  3. Blinking More Frequently: Not blinking often enough leads to decreased tear production and increased irritation, so try making an effort to blink more throughout the day when you look at digital screens or headlights. If you work on a computer, taking visual breaks to look away from your screen can make all the difference.

  4. Taking Breaks from Digital Screens: Here it is again! Studies have shown that increased usage of digital devices has been linked to an increase in dryness around our eyes. We're even beginning to see this in young children and teenagers! Protect your meibomian glands in your eyelids and make sure you take frequent breaks while using any digital device.

  5. Keeping Away From Contaminated Air: Allergens present in polluted air, like pollen particulates, also cause irritation in our tear film layer. This can lead to increased feelings of dryness in our eyes. Try to avoid spending too much time outdoors when air pollution levels are high, and stay away from things you know you're allergic to.

It’s Time To Start Rethinking Dry Eye…

Joining our dry eye challenge is a great way to take control of your eye health and improve your quality of life. In this challenge, you can learn about different treatments, practices, and lifestyle changes that can help ease the symptoms of dry eyes and make them more manageable.

You'll also have access to expert advice from doctors, therapists, and other healthcare professionals who are dedicated to helping those with dry eyes. Plus, you'll be able to connect with others who are experiencing similar issues and get their insights on how to deal with it.

Taking part in a dry eye challenge can provide invaluable support and knowledge which will ultimately help you take control of your condition and get back to living a healthy, vibrant life!

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Dr. Travis Zigler

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