A walk down any pharmacy eye aisle can be overwhelming. There are many different options. What you chose depends on the reason why you have dry eyes. Some drops seem to work better than others.
The basic story of dry eye syndrome is in the name, though its medical term – keratitis sicca – won’t tip you off in the same way. When the eye surface lacks moisture and lubrication due to a shortage of tears, we experience it as dryness and irritation, sometimes accompanied by redness and itching. Ironically, watery eyes, triggered by an overproduction of the liquid part of your tears to protect the eye, can also be a symptom of dry eye. Finding the best remedy depends on unlocking one’s dry eye – the underlying causes.
What Is Causing Dry Eye?
Let’s start with our tears. Tears are associated with human empathy; tears also clean and moisturize our eyes while providing them with enzymes that neutralize their naturally occurring microorganisms. Most dry eye is due to either the tear-producing lacrimal gland under producing tears or the meibomian gland reducing oil output (or clogging). When this happens, you will get evaporative dry eyes (over-evaporation of tears), just like loosening or tightening the faucet. Causes could be menopause, LASIK surgery; a side effect of medication; or a product of living in a dry, dusty, polluted, or windy city, such as Las Vegas or Tucson.
It can be an alarming indicator of autoimmune diseases such as Sjogren’s Syndrome, lupus; rheumatoid arthritis; or ocular rosacea if occurring alongside other issues. As if that wasn’t daunting enough diagnostically, dry eye is also linked to long hours at the computer, extended contact lens wear, smoking, and seasonal allergies. It could be a combination of things, as well. For occasional dry eyes, over the counter drops may work just fine. However, if it is a chronic issue, it may require more in-depth investigations or lifestyle changes. Remedies include installing an air filter, humidifiers, or more breaks from the electronic devices.
Much Ado about Drops:
“Artificial tears,” which are the most common eye drops, come in two varieties – with and without preservatives. Suppose you are struggling with severe dry eyes, preservative-free eye drops are preferred. Some artificial tears will also include electrolytes to help balance the tear for the surface of the eye. Your eye doctors may prescribe eye drops that treat inflammation, such as steroids. Eye drops that focus their pitch on “reducing redness” are not advised in providing moisture. Your eyes can acquire a tolerance to the eye-whitening vasoconstrictors in these red-eye fixes, which can lead to more redness in the long term.
If you wear contact lenses, make sure to remove them before using the eye drops and wait 15-20 minutes before putting them on again.
What to do when eye drops don’t work?
If using a good artificial teardrop 3-4 times a day is not improving your symptoms, or has made you feel even worse, Here are some recommendations.
- If your eyes burn and are even redder than before, you may have a sensitivity to that particular eye drop or to the preservatives in that eye drop.
One option is switching to artificial tears in “individual use droppers” because they do not contain preservatives. These one-time droppers are also a good option if you use your teardrops more than five or six times a day. Because preservatives can dry eyes out even more when used too frequently. They are typically a bit more expensive and must be used immediately after opening. You can drop the tears in each eye, then discard the rest of the dropper to prevent bacterial growth.
- If you are using your eyedrops (preserved or non-preserved) four or more times a day, and your eyes are still irritated and dry, you may need additional dry eye treatment. The next thing recommend is use an artificial tear ointment. It is similar to eyedrops but has the consistency of Vaseline. It is best applied immediately before lying down to sleep at night because it does blur vision.
Then when you wake up in the morning, do a good eyelid scrub with either baby shampoo, Cetaphil face wash, or a pre-made lid scrub like those made by Ocusoft. You can put a few drops of the soap in a cup with water and use a q-tip to gently scrub the eyelashes base. Follow the scrub with a warm compress for about 5-10 minutes.
These things help because your tears must have three components: Oil, Water, and Mucus. They must all be in the right “amount” to have a happy, healthy ocular surface. When the oil glands in your eyelids get clogged, the oil gets hard, similar to the consistency of Crisco. When you heat Crisco in a skillet, it becomes clear and coats the bottom of the pan. This coating is what your eyes need. Scrubbing the eyelid margins helps remove the oil plugging the opening. Using a hot compress encourages it to naturally coat the ocular surface.
Combining teardrops with good eyelid hygiene and warm compresses is helpful for many people and is typically inexpensive. The only thing you have to lose is your dry eye symptoms!
- Moderate dry eyes still feel dry despite using scheduled teardrops 4-6 times per day
- Can try switching to a preservative-free formulation
- Can add warm eyelid compresses or eyelid scrubs, which helps release oil to coat the surface of the eye and hold your tears on your eye longer.
Consider oral dry eye treatment when eye drops don’t work. Ask Theralife for help.
Check with your eye doctors.
If dry eye is a troubling reoccurrence, make the time to discuss possible causes with your eye doctors. He or she may recommend nutritional supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids Theralife Eye capsules, and more. The two of you can also plan a long term strategy that identifies and addresses your unique factors.
Get TheraLife for help.
Oral dry eye treatment that has clinically proven to work. Call us toll free 1-877-917-1989 US/Canada. Call and talk to a doctor. Let’s see if TheraLife is right for you.
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