Dry eye is a condition that causes mild-to-severe eye irritation, including itching, the sensation of grit in the eye, and burning. Dry eye from any cause can be a major hurdle in everyday life and can become severe enough that it’s hard to even open your eyes in the first place.
Before you get dry eye treatment, or as you go through treatment for chronic dry eye, there are steps you can take at home to make sure your eyes stay lubricated and comfortable and that you can see without strain.
Here at Beverly Hills Eye Center in our comfortable office in the Beverly Hills area of Los Angeles, California, experienced ophthalmologist David Kamen, MD, evaluates and treats chronic dry eye using the latest advancements in his field.
If you’re tired of the eye irritation, eye strain, and itching that come with chronic dry eye, here’s what you can do to cope.
Understand your condition
Improving your understanding of your diagnosis may lead to better outcomes in the long run. Despite its name, chronic dry eye actually involves a lot of eye watering for many individuals with the condition. This is because the underlying issue comes from inadequate tear production, and your eyes are attempting to compensate for a lack of chemically balanced tears.
A functional tear film consists of an oily layer on the outside, a watery layer in the middle, and a mucus layer against the eye’s surface. Each of these layers balances the others and serves its own unique purpose. Together, they all keep your eye clear of debris and lubricated. Often, dry eye comes from a problem with one of the three layers, which can be caused by screen usage, certain medications, surgeries, and chronic conditions.
Eliminate bad habits
While they may not be the only causes of your dry eye, certain behaviors and habits can influence or contribute to the condition. Perhaps the most notable of these is screen usage, or the use of tablets, smartphones, televisions, and computers.
It’s next to impossible to get through life without using such technologies nowadays, especially if your occupation or industry relies on any kind of screen usage. However, if you get creative about it, you can usually find ways to cut down on screen time for dry eye relief.
Whether or not you’re taking any medications for your chronic dry eye, you can give your eyes some rest by:
- Taking frequent breaks from the screen throughout the day
- Limiting or eliminating recreational screen use
- Limiting reading time
- Avoiding dry and windy climates
- Avoiding first- or second-hand smoke
- Limiting the use of air conditioners and ceiling fans in the home
There may be other, more specific behaviors and environmental factors contributing to your dry eye. The better you understand your condition and the factors contributing to it, the more you can do to manage your symptoms.
One of the most effective ways to manage dry eye is with eye drops. While many prescription eye drops are available from your ophthalmologist, you also have nonprescription options that may be more accessible to you or a better fit for symptoms that are mild.
Artificial tears are non-prescription eye drops that lubricate your eyes. They offer quick relief, but you may need to use them frequently to continue enjoying their effects.
There are many prescription eye drops out there, and your ophthalmologist can guide you to an option that suits you. Additionally, professional care for chronic dry eye can involve collagen or silicone punctal plugs to temporarily close your eyes’ drainage ducts and keep moisture in your eyes.
Interested in exploring your options?
Chronic dry eye is an undeniable hurdle in any lifestyle, and it’s not always simple to manage with self-care alone. To schedule an appointment for chronic dry eye treatment at Beverly Hills Eye Center, call the office or book online any time.