When you have dry eyes, it can be uncomfortable to go through your day. Light hurts, your eyes are itchy, and it can be hard to drive at night. Thankfully there are widely available treatments. Knowing the best options to treat your dry eyes can help you identify the best way to soothe them.
Drops Can Make Your Eyes Feel Moisturized
Eye drops are often the first line of defense against dry eyes and they come in a seemingly infinite number of options. Eye drops provide treatment by increasing the tears present to moisturize the eye. Before you shop, it's important to know some of the key differences you may see on the eye drop label.
Preservatives - Some varieties of eye drops have preservatives or other ingredients that can dry your eye out or should only be used in mild cases of dry eye. Mild cases are those that require the use of drops no more than a few times per day.
Viscosity - Eye drops come in different viscosities or thicknesses. Eye drops with lower viscosity are thinner and can be used for faster relief, but often they don't last long. Eye drops with thicker viscosity can blur your vision but provide more moisture. They are best used before you go to bed.
There Are Treatments Beyond Eye Drops
If you have severe dry eye, there are other treatments beyond eye drops you can use to control your symptoms. What treatments work for you will be based on the type and severity of your dry eye symptoms. Often these treatments are focused on preserving the tears your eyes produce.
Punctal Plugs - These small silicone plugs are inserted into your tear drainage ducts. Once your drainage ducts are plugged, they prevent your tears from draining away. This helps to create a more moisturized environment for your eye.
Surgery - In some cases, surgery may be necessary to alter the shape of the eyelid or to permanently close the drainage ducts.
Light Treatments - Different light therapies may be necessary to treat skin conditions around the eye that are contributing to your dry eye condition.
These treatments are often used in cases of severe dry eye and usually after treatment with eye drops has been attempted.
When To Get Help
When you're using over-the-counter remedies and they aren't working or are making your symptoms worse, reach out to an optometrist with ophthalmology services for an appointment. Dealing with dry eyes can be frustrating, but you don't have to go through it alone. Working with your eye doctor will help narrow down the cause and develop the best course of treatment for your dry eyes.