Dry Eye Treatments That Optometrist's Don't Want You To Know

March 16, 2022

Producing tears is a normal bodily function. Individuals often cry in response to something sad happening or even because they are happy. There are also individuals out there who cry when they are quite angry! However, sometimes individuals are unable to cry and produce tears when they need to. This prevents the tears from adequately lubricating and nourishing the eyes, often resulting in dry, itchy eyes. This condition can be quite serious, as tears are crucial for maintaining the health of the eyes and ensuring individuals have clear vision. When individuals suffer from dry and itchy eyes, they need to get treatment started as soon as possible.

Over-The-Counter Artificial Tears

Individuals can have dry and itchy eyes for a variety of reasons, including a lack of natural tears. The aging process can lead to less lubrication in the eyes from tears, or individuals may have allergies that cause itchy and dry eye conditions. Fortunately, there are numerous types of over-the-counter artificial tears. These products typically come in tiny bottles most individuals can easily carry in a pocket, handbag, or briefcase so they can make use of them at any point during the day. Individuals who want to treat their dry and itchy eyes with artificial tears should be sure to follow the directions on the exact product they purchase, unless their doctor directs them otherwise, to avoid any potential side effects as much as possible.

Eye Drops For Allergies

When individuals visit a local or online drugstore, they can find a variety of eye drops formulated for alleviating allergy symptoms that affect the eyes and consequently, vision. Individuals with allergies to pet dander, pollen, household dust, or countless other irritants that cause them to deal with itchy or dry eyes can benefit from allergy eye drops. Before using the eye drops for allergies, affected individuals should make sure to read the directions concerning the number of times they should use the eye drops each day, along with how many drops in one of these uses. This will ensure the eye drops achieve their maximum possible effectiveness without causing side effects as much as possible.

Oral Medication For Allergies

Individuals who suffer from chronic or seasonal allergies can take oral medications purchased from a local store or ones their doctor prescribe to help mitigate the severity of their symptoms, which, in addition to dry and itchy eyes, can also include red eyes, congestion, and sneezing. Of course, affected individuals must be sure to follow the proper dosages for the specific oral medication for allergies to avoid detrimental side effects.

The most popular type of oral medication is antihistamine, which is what can help alleviate itchiness and other allergy symptoms. Patients who are dealing with dry and itchy eyes due to allergies will likely need to take oral medication at least once a day, if not more, to control them.

Apply A Warm Compress

A warm compress can soothe itchy or dry eyes, and it is easy to make one several times a day. Those who wish to try this should use a soft washcloth saturated with warm water to alleviate eye discomfort. Once they have saturated the cloth, they should recline on a bed or couch with the warm washcloth over their eyes for five minutes. They can also use fragrant essential oils to reduce eyestrain along with the discomfort from the itchy skin and lack of moisture. When applying a warm compress, individuals should be sure to use highly diluted essential oils such as chamomile or lavender that will help them relax.

Take Breaks From Screens

How many hours a day do you spend in front of a computer, television or smartphone? Many individuals use electronic devices for six to eight hours a day at work or school, but when they return home, they continue to use the electronics. While watching television or looking at a computer, individuals may not blink enough to lubricate their eyes with natural tears.

In addition, individuals aren't changing the focus of their eyes if they do not take the time to look away from the screens for a few minutes. This can lead to itchy and dry eyes that feel irritated most of the time. As such, one simple but incredibly effective treatment is to take breaks from screens several times a day to give the eyes a rest. Most places recommend looking away every so often and taking a five to fifteen-minute break about every hour, and a longer thirty-minute break every two to four hours.

Eye Massage Treatments

It is possible to massage watery eyes away. If the overproduction of tears is caused by narrowing or blockage of the tear ducts, which prevent the tears from draining, a gentle massage will help open them, promoting flow. Blockages are believed to be more common in babies because their small tear ducts open slowly. If blockages are not dealt with, they may lead to eye infections. It is a lengthy process, but it is recommended to massage the corners of the eyes several times per day. This kind of massage should be quite gentle and applied in a circular motion for the best results.

Use Baby Shampoo

Baby shampoo does more than just clean fine hair. It may come as a surprise to some, but baby shampoo can also help alleviate dry eyes! Specifically, washing the eyelids with baby shampoo on a regular basis can be quite helpful for taking away some of the dryness. This is because washing the eyelids can help keep them clean and reduce the amount of oil buildup around the eyes, particularly with the eyelashes, as well as getting rid of bacteria. Baby shampoo, in particular, is also not irritating to the eyes and can also help alleviate some itchiness as well. The shampoo should be diluted with warm water and used with a cotton pad to clean the area.

Castor Oil And Vitamin A

Dry eyes and excess tear production seem like an oxymoron, but this can actually happen in certain cases. Eyes need some moisture and are dependent on tears, which contain a mix of fat, water, and proteins. If the fat content is not adequate, eyes will become dry, leading to irritation and watery eyes. Castor oil, an ingredient in many commercial artificial tears, can be dropped into the eyes at bedtime. Alternatively, vitamin A drops provide similar results. Of course, individuals should follow directions given to them by their optometrist or primary doctor for the best results. It is also crucial to note if affected individuals experience allergic reactions or other side effects, they should stop their treatment and consult a doctor.

Surgical Intervention

Individuals who deal with chronically dry eyes that do not respond to other treatment methods can also receive surgery to help them. Specifically, doctors suggest this if the major cause of the patient's dry eyes is the tears leaving their eyes too quickly, or another similar issue with their tear ducts, which typically drain tears from the eyes. Plugging the tear ducts can be achieved through the insertion of silicone plugs (punctal plugs), which are removable, or through a more permanent procedure called thermal cautery, which uses heat to close the ducts. The procedure performed depends on the patient's specific needs and the cause behind their condition.

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