Dry Eyes, Eye Drops and More

by Jun 6, 2023

Dry eyes are a common condition that affects many people worldwide. Artificial tears are the go-to product for treating dry eyes; they are a convenient over-the-counter solution providing temporary relief. However, while artificial tears are a crucial component in treating dry eyes, there are now additional treatment options available to improve dry eye outcomes.


Warm Compresses

Along with using artificial tears, warm compresses can aid in treating dry eyes. By using a warm compress on your eyelids once or twice a day, you can mitigate dry eye symptoms. Blocked or clogged oil-secreting glands within the eye often cause the eye’s dryness, leading to tears evaporating from the eye too quickly. Applying a warm compress can help melt blockage and allow you to massage the eyelid to keep the glands open and keep tears from evaporating.


Blinking Exercises

Blinking exercises are another at-home treatment that can help treat dry eyes, especially during long periods of intense near work. For many people, a reduced blink rate causes dry eyes. By following the 20-20-20 rule, which entails taking a break every 20 minutes and focusing on an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds, and increasing the blink frequency while reading or working, you can improve the tear film on the eyes.


Omega 3 Fatty Acids or Fish Oil

Dry eyes can result from a deficiency in oil glands within the eyelids. Omega 3 fatty acids or fish oil supplements can help improve the oil’s quality and quantity, thereby reducing symptoms of dryness and improving the tear film’s stability on the eyes.


Prescription Eye Drops

If artificial tears provide no relief for dry eye symptoms, prescription eye drops may be another option. For instance, a topical steroid eye drop may be used if inflammation causes dryness. Topical steroids can rapidly reduce dry eyes by reducing inflammation on the eye’s surface. While steroids are not typically a long-term solution, another alternative is using Restasis, Xiidra, or Cequa eye drops. These prescription-strength treatments reduce inflammatory factors that lead to dry eyes and provide a long-term, non-invasive treatment option.


Punctal Plugs

For severe dry eyes, punctal plugs can be inserted into the small eyelid drainage hole. These plugs reduce the rate at which tears drain from the eye, increasing moisture on the eye’s front surface. Punctal plugs must be inserted and removed by an eye doctor, but they can be applied in-office without additional complications.


In-Office Procedures

New technologies and procedures are available and have been proven effective at treating dry eyes. These treatments can be completed in your optometrist’s office with a scheduled appointment. Procedures, such as LipiFlow or iLux, work by heating and massaging the eyelids to increase oil gland secretion, leading to long-lasting symptom relief.


Deciding on Treatments

Choosing the best course of treatment for dry eyes is dependent on individual cases. Discussing multiple options with an eye doctor is crucial in determining the appropriate treatments for individual cases. The most critical aspect of treatment is finding the right balance of interventions for the specific case’s severity and duration of the dry eyes. Dry eyes can stem from a wide variety of issues, and the correct course of treatment can vary greatly among individuals.


Our eye doctors at Wilmington Family Eye Care in Wilmington, DE excel in the prescription of glasses, contact lenses, and the diagnosis of a variety of eye diseases. Call our optometrists at 302-299-1286 or schedule an eye exam appointment online if you would like to learn more about dry eyes. Our eye doctors, Drs. Daniel Baruffi, Amy Quan, Patricia Jones, and Joseph Goldberg provide the highest quality optometry services and eye exams in Wilmington, Delaware and its surrounding areas.

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