With more than 25 million people in the United States suffering from dry eye, this is a much more common condition than many realize. And with symptoms like red, irritated or crusty eyes, it is also an uncomfortable and sometimes embarrassing one. Below are seven effective treatments for dry eye than can give relief from this irritating condition.
Artificial Tear Eye Drops
These artificial lubricants are available without a prescription and can be found in grocery stores and pharmacies everywhere. They can provide almost immediate relief from the itching and burning of dry eye, but it might take a while to find the one that works best for a given individual.
Fish or Flax Seed Oil
Fish and flax seed oil are both rich in Omega-3 fatty acids which act as lubricants for all of the body’s mucous membranes, including the eyes. However, it is important to remember to take them orally and not as eye drops! Both have been proved to be equally effective.
Medicated Eye Drops
Eye drops which contain steroids can also provide quick relief from inflammation, but they are only meant for short-term use. Long-term use of these products can put someone at a greater risk for serious eye conditions like cataracts or glaucoma. Restasis is a good example of this category of eye drops.
If someone’s eyes do not close all the way when they are asleep, this can lead to dry and irritated eyes in the morning. A good treatment for this are moisture goggles, which create a barrier to prevent the eye from drying out overnight and this can make a big difference in how comfortable they feel in the morning.
To treat severe dry eyes, it is also possible for a doctor to place a tiny plug in the drainage port in the corner of the eyelid. This acts very much like a plug in a bathtub and prevents the draining of natural tears from the surface of the eye. These plugs can be highly effective treatment.
If part of the problem is a condition called blepharitis, which is inflammation of clogged oil glands at the edge of the eyelids), one of the best at-home treatments for this is simply a warm compress over the eyes. It is easiest to make it part of the morning routine, for example when someone it done brushing their teeth.
Another treatment for blepharitis is an in-office procedure called lipiflow. This procedure uses a combination of warmth and massage to clean out the contents of the clogged oil glands and can have someone feeling better pretty quickly.
Dry eye is an irritating and sometimes painful condition that affects millions of Americans. The good news is that there are also a number of potential treatments available to help alleviate the symptoms of this eye problem.