Dry eye syndrome is caused by poor tear quality and low tear volume. Dry eye can can cause irritated eyes and visual problems due to a poor tear surface. The symptoms of dry eye can be dryness, irritation, burning, stinging, grittiness, foreign body sensation, tearing, red eye, sensitivity to light, blurred vision, fluctuating vision, and contact lens intolerance. Symptoms also tend to vary and worsen with wind and smoke and while doing activities that reduce blink rate such as reading and computer work.
If you are one of the many people suffering with dry eyes, here are some ways to help bring relief to your eyes. First of all, many people find OTC artificial tears to be beneficial. I recommend Systane Balance for most people. Just a drop in each eye a few times per day can be very comforting. Also, be sure to drink at least 64 ounces of water a day, eight (8-oz glasses) to help boost tear production. Taking Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil pills, flax seeds and soybeans, has been shown to help improve your actual tear quality. Blinking more frequently and more forcefully can be helpful especially while doing computer work. Using hot compresses and eye lid scrubs once or twice daily for a couple of minutes can help open up your tear pores to get better tear quality. For more severe cases, a prescription eye drop medication called Restasis can be used to help your eyes produce more tears. Punctal plugs can be used to plug the drainage pores in your eyelids so that more tears will remain on your eyes. Steroid eye drops can be helpful to aid healing and improve comfort. Some people notice their symptoms are worse after waking. They may be sleeping with their eyes opened slightly, causing dryness. When this is occuring taping the eyelids closed at night can be helpful.
An eye doctor can evaluate your eyes and your tears with a microscope. After evaluating your eyes the doctor will be able to advise you on your optimal treatment plan so your eyes can start feeling better fast.
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