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Chronic dry eye disease can damage ocular tissues and, in severe cases, lead to scarring of the cornea, the clear dome of tissue that covers the front part of the eye. This damage can cause blurry vision and, in severe instances, vision loss. Dry eye disease can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life. Having a chronic, mild to moderate dry eye disease can decrease quality of life as much as breaking one’s hip due to pain and physical limitations.

Severe dry eye symptoms

  • Foreign body sensation – feeling like something is in your eyes.
  • Burning
  • Itching
  • Excessive watering
  • Light sensitivity- Photophobia
  • Red eyes
  • Blurry vision

Six health conditions that can cause severe dry eye

  1. Diabetes: Nearly half of the people with diabetes have dry eyes. A loss of nerves in the cornea neuropathy leads to chronic dry eyes. Without functional nerves in the cornea, tear production from the tear-producing lacrimal glands is decreased.
  2. Rosacea: Rosacea- a skin condition that causes facial redness and visible blood vessels often leads to eye problems known as ocular rosacea. Approximately 80% of patients with ocular rosacea have meibomian gland dysfunction, which causes the eyelids to secrete fewer oils that blend with a patient’s natural tears. Without the oils, the patient’s tears evaporate too quickly, resulting in dry eyes.
  3. Sjögren’s syndrome: The immune system targets the glands that make tears and saliva, leading to dry eyes and dry mouth. Sjögren’s syndrome can stand alone, though it often accompanies rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
  4. Rheumatoid arthritis: Dry eye disease in patients with rheumatoid arthritis can progress from annoying to painful quickly. Rheumatoid arthritis can also cause other eye conditions, which like dry eye disease, if not treated, can lead to vision disturbances or loss.
  5. Lupus: Dry eye disease can make eyes have a gritty feel and burning sensation as if something is in the eye. Approximately 20% of patients with lupus also have Sjögren’s syndrome. Lupus can also cause changes in the skin, nerves, and blood vessels in and around the eye, leading to long-term vision complications.
  6. Scleroderma: Scleroderma is the hardening or tightening of the body’s connective tissues, including the eyelids. The condition can also decrease functionality in the tear-producing glands of the eyes, reducing overall eye moisture.

Tips for caring for dry eyes at home

Your dry eye specialist likely will start your care with steps to reduce environmental dryness and shake up your daily routine. The first line of care recommendations might include these tips:

Pro-tip: store your artificial tears in the refrigerator. The cold feeling of the tears on the eye feels good and provides even more relief.

  • Avoid air blowing in or across your eyes: Air conditioners and heaters are significant contributors to dry eye disease. Ceiling fans are substantial culprits in drying out the eyes! When indoors or driving, point fans away from your eyes. Outdoors, wear protective eyewear such as sunglasses when it’s windy outside. If you run a heater or fan at night while you sleep, consider using an eye mask or humidifier.
  • Blink more often or take an eye break: We tend to blink less often while reading or looking at a computer or smartphone. If you’re doing tasks that require more visual concentration, make a conscious effort to blink more frequently or stop periodically to close your eyes for a few minutes.
  • Use artificial tears: Artificial tears are a mainstay to dealing with dry eye disease. I recommend using preservative-free artificial tears. The reason is that the preservatives used to keep bacteria from growing can damage the eye’s surface over time, causing even more irritation and redness. One can purchase preservative-free eye drops over the counter at many pharmacies or grocery stores. They come in single-use vials – they cannot be reused once open and must be discarded. Not reusing eye drops help prevent developing eye infections. The key to eye drop is to used it to avoid the eyes from feeling dry. And not after the eyes start to feel dry.
  • Try an eye gel or ointment: These thicker versions of tears might provide longer-lasting lubrication. Consider putting them in the right before bed because the thickness can blur your vision for 15 minutes or more. Overnight use also helps protect your eyes if you don’t close them during sleep.
  • Use a warm compress: Putting a warm washcloth or mask over your eyes can help clear blocked oil glands. Do this for five to 10 minutes twice a day. I do this regularly to maintain my eye health – and it can be pretty relaxing!
  • Lid scrubs: Eyelid cleansers to help keep the glands in the eyelid clean. Purchase lid scrubs at most pharmacies or grocery stores. Lid scrubs can help scrub away the debris. Daily lid scrubs daily in conjunction with warm compresses to increase oil production and keep your glands healthy. Tear-free baby shampoo is an effective and less costly alternative to lids scrubs.
  • Punctal plugs or punctal occlusion are inserted into the tear ducts in the eye’s inner corner to block tears from draining. Beware that punctal plugs can increase incidences of eye infections. Fifty percent of the time, punctal plugs fall out within one year. 
  • Autologous serum tears use your blood serum to create eyedrops. These drops contain compounds found in natural tears that may help heal the eye’s surface. Evidence for recommending them over artificial tears lacks, however.
  • Surgery can correct eyelid abnormalities or reduce the eye’s surface area to help reduce tear evaporation.

If you’re experiencing dry eye symptoms, seek out a definitive diagnosis, which is crucial for proper treatment.  

Advanced dry eye therapies

If self-care therapies don’t effectively treat your symptoms, your doctor might suggest more advanced, nonsurgical treatments, such as:

  • Medication adjustment: Certain drugs, such as antihistamines, antidepressants, birth control pills, and blood pressure medications can worsen dry eye symptoms. We can work with your primary care doctor or specialist to find an alternative. Make sure to talk with your doctor about all medications you are taking and continue taking them as prescribed until your doctor recommends a change.
  • Prescription eye drops: If over-the-counter artificial tears are not enough, prescription eye drops can help increase tear production and decrease inflammation.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS): Oral NSAIDs purchased over the counter may be used to help ease discomfort associated with dry eye disease.
  • Steroid eye drops: Dry eye disease triggers inflammation, which may require short-term use of steroid eye drops. These eye drops can help get the inflammation under control. Use of steroids for a short period due to potential side effects.
  • Autologous serum tears use your blood serum to create eyedrops. These drops contain compounds found in natural tears that may help heal the eye’s surface. Evidence for recommending them over artificial tears lacks, however.
  • Surgery can correct eyelid abnormalities or reduce the surface area of the eye to help reduce tear evaporation.

How TheraLife Can Help.  

  • TheraLife Eye Capsules – to restore normal tear function naturally through mito-activation. Relief dry eyes with your tears all day long. 
  • Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid supplements have been shown in some studies to help dry-eye symptoms. However, not all experts agree on the benefits. See more below.
  • Warm compresses – to treat meibomian gland dysfunction. The heat from warm compresses is vital to melt the clogging in the meibomian oil glands, with gentle massaging of the eyelid, the clogging surfaces. 
  • Eyelid cleanser – we highly recommend Avenova, which stops the re-infection of the eyelids.  

To learn more, click here

TheraLife Customer Story – Severe Chronic Dry Eyes – Relief with TheraLife.

“I have had chronic severe dry eyes for many years   I am writing to let you know how thankful I am for your product- TheraLife Eye.  It has virtually changed my life.  Instead of ALWAYS thinking about my sore, red, dry eyes, I NEVER think about them anymore.  And every time I look in the mirror and see my bright, wide, youthful looking eyes I make a little wish that your company is thriving and I will never again have to be without TheraLife Eye capsules. You know, when your eyes are red and you squint in discomfort, you really do look older.

 I’ll be traveling to Las Vegas soon and am anxious to see how I do in the desert air.  Wish me luck!  A bottle of TheraLife Eye will be in my purse for sure.

 Thank you, thank you, thank you.

C.L. Ohio, United States

* Results may vary

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