Chronic Dry Eye Treatment Options and Tips for an Eye-Healthy Lifestyle
Do you suffer from chronic dry eye? This condition may cause discomfort, blurry vision, and headaches. Piedmont Eye Care offers treatment to relieve you of dry eye and its unpleasant side effects. In some cases, severe dry eye treatment may be required.
Also, we offer practical lifestyle tips that may help keep your eyes more lubricated.
What is Dry Eye Disease?
Dry eye disease (DED) is a frequently misdiagnosed and misunderstood condition. Dry Eye Syndrome (DES), or Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS), is a disease of the tears and the front surface of the eye. The eye doesn’t produce enough tears for nourishment and lubrication.
According to the American Optometric Association, dry eye has numerous associated factors or causes including:
- Age – Dry eyes can develop with age and is most common for people over 65.
- Gender – Women most commonly suffer from dry eyes due to hormonal changes throughout life including oral contraceptive use, pregnancy, and menopause.
- Environmental conditions – some factors include smoke exposure and wind exposure. Hours staring at a computer without blinking may also contribute to drying eyes.
- Medical conditions – Some medical conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid problems, and diabetes increase the likelihood of developing dry eye syndrome.
- Medications – Some medicines like antihistamines, decongestants, antidepressants and blood pressure medications can reduce tear production.
- Other factors like eye surgeries and prolonged contact lens use may upset tear production.
Dry eye affects different people in different ways. It may range from mild short-term dry eye to chronic severe dry eye.
Common Dry Eye Symptoms Include:
- Red or itchy eyes
- Blurred vision
- Light sensitivity and glare
- Excessive tearing
- Foreign-body sensation
- Fluctuation vision
- Decreased ability to comfortably wear contact lenses
Be sure to discuss all your symptoms with your eye care professional. In some cases, eye-friendly lifestyle changes (keep reading for tips) or over-the-counter eye drops may help mild dry eye. However, always see an optometrist for an exam and to discuss any new or worsening eye issues that you experience.
Diagnosis and Chronic Dry Eye Treatment Options
The first step in your treatment journey is a comprehensive eye exam. Your optometrist will examine the surface of your eyes to look for signs of irritation or inflammation.
During the exam, your eye doctor will get a better idea of what’s really going on with your eyes. There are also certain tests that can help determine if you have Chronic Dry Eye. Annual eye check-ups are always a good idea as early treatment and prevention help keep your eyes healthy.
During Your Comprehensive Eye Exam Your Optometrist and Staff May:
- Consider your symptoms and history
- Examine your eyes
- Evaluate your tear production and tear quality
- And conduct any other specialized tests deemed necessary.
Piedmont Eye Care is an official “Dry Eye Center of Excellence” and our skilled doctors have been treating dry eye syndrome for many years.
Moderate to severe dry eye treatment may involve adding tears, conserving tears, increasing tear production, and treating any condition that may be contributing to ocular surface or eyelid inflammation.
Lifestyle changes may also alleviate symptoms especially in milder cases of dry eye. And in other cases, an eye-healthy lifestyle may increase the effectiveness of prescribed treatment.
Lifestyle Tips to Relieve Chronic Dry Eye
Here are some simple changes you can do yourself to keep Chronic Dry Eye from getting in the way of your daily life. Keep in mind, these tips are not a substitute for professional care. They are simply general recommendations for an eye-healthy lifestyle.
Make Eye-Healthy Changes to Your Routine
- Get plenty of sleep – aim for at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night.
- Do not over wear your contact lenses, talk with your optometrist for wearing guidelines specific to your situation.
- Always wear sunglasses outside.
- Take frequent breaks from staring at a computer screen. Aim to give your eyes a break every 20 minutes. The 20-20-20 exercise may help. Every 20 minutes at your computer, take a break and look at a non-digital object that is around 20 feet away. Let your eyes linger on that object for 20 seconds.
- Also take breaks when watching television, reading, or doing up-close crafts. Be sure to blink, this may sound like strange advice but sometimes people forget to blink when staring at televisions, monitors, or during focused work.
Changes Around the House To Prevent Dry Eye
- Use a humidifier in your bedroom or around the house as dry air can contribute to dry eye.
- Lower the speed of your ceiling fan and avoid sitting in the wind flow from fans and air conditioners.
Other Lifestyle Strategies to Help Prevent Dry Eye
- Fish oil and omega-3 fatty acids are two supplements that may be beneficial for people with Chronic Dry Eye.
- Stay well hydrated and aim to drink 8 – 10 glasses of water daily.
Are You Using Artificial Tears Frequently Throughout the Day?
Using artificial tears helps provide temporary relief for Chronic Dry Eye symptoms.
Artificial tears are typically one of the first treatments recommended for people with Chronic Dry Eye. If you’re using artificial tears often or your symptoms are bothersome, you may now have more new treatment options.
New Chronic Dry Eye Treatment Options
What is my eye love? Give your eyes some love with a combination of strategies that may also include a prescription called Xiidra. This prescription eye drop may relieve dry-eye symptoms.
LipiFlow is another option for some types of dry eye syndrome. This treatment involves a thermal eyelid massage. The device applies heat to the eyelids and massages them with a gentle, pulsating pressure. The goal is to massage away meibomian gland blockages.
The experienced doctors and staff at Piedmont Eye Care offer comprehensive vision examinations and specialize treating of a range of eye conditions including chronic and severe dry eye. We use the state-of-the-art diagnostic technology and treatment options.
If dry eyes are getting in your way, it may be time to talk to us! Read more information about Dry Eye treatment and talk to us about your symptoms!