Do your eyes feel dry, itchy and uncomfortable when you spend time in air conditioning or when you stare at a computer screen? The irritation of dry eyes occurs when your eyes produce too few tears or tears that are of poor quality. The good news is that if you’re bothered by dry eye, there are treatments and lifestyle changes that can control your symptoms. We highly encourage you to learn about ways to reduce dry eye.
For some people with dry eye, daily over-the-counter eye drops as needed reduce symptoms to a tolerable level. If you find you need to use eye drops more than four times a day, be sure to choose a brand of artificial tears without preservatives. Avoid drops meant to reduce redness, which can exacerbate the problem over time. Ointments are thicker than eye drops, but can be used before bedtime to soothe and moisturize eyes while you sleep. If your eyelids are inflamed, you can use a warm, clean washcloth as a compress for five minutes at a time, and cleanse with a gentle soap.
In addition to eye drops, take steps to avoid dry eye by wearing sunglasses when outdoors, taking frequent breaks during reading or computer use, using a humidifier in the winter, positioning your computer below eye level to avoid strain, quitting smoking and avoiding exposure to secondhand smoke.
If lifestyle remedies don’t relieve your dry eyes, our doctor at Wichita Vision Institute can diagnose the underlying cause of this condition and recommend an appropriate treatment. Common medications prescribed for dry eye include antibiotics that reduce eye inflammation, which can cause oil secretion that blocks the cornea from producing tears; eye drops that control corneal inflammation; tiny inserts that lubricate the eye; and drugs that stimulate tears.
If your dry eye is caused because tears leak from the eyes too quickly, our doctor may recommend fitting tiny silicone plugs that partially clog the tear ducts, or closing the ducts with heat in a process known as thermal cautery. Another procedure, known as thermal pulsation, can unblock oil glands that prevent the eye from producing tears.
Learn More About Your Options
Dry eyes can really put a damper on a person’s life, often getting in the way of them completing everyday tasks. When you talk to Dr. Patel at Wichita Vision Institute in Wichita, you can learn about all of your treatment options so that you can finally have relief. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.