Dry eye is a complex disease that has many causes that often overlap and interact. For many people, a few simple lifestyle changes can resolve dry eye. Dry eye occurs when the eye does not produce enough tears or when the quality of the tears can’t keep the surface of the eye adequately lubricated. It frequently occurs with other health conditions. Environmental triggers, such as pollution or the weather, play a role. Sometimes it’s caused by medications, such as antihistamines, asthma medication or birth control pills. It can be made worse by computer or contact lens use. If your eyes remain red and irritated after trying these tips, see your ophthalmologist, a physician who specialize in medical and surgical eye care.
Dry eye diseases can have a number of causes. There are a variety of treatment approaches are used. For most people with occasional or mild dry eye symptoms, over-the-counter eyedrops (artificial tears) can help significantly. If your symptoms are persistent and more serious, your eye doctor can offer other options or switch medications that may be inducing dry eye.
Here are some of the options to treat dry eye:
- Antibiotic to reduce eyelid inflammation. Inflammation along the edge of your eyelids can keep oil glands from secreting oil into your tears.
- Eyedrops to control cornea inflammation. Inflammation on the cornea, the surface of your eyes, may be controlled with prescription eyedrops that contain cyclosporine.
- Eye inserts that work like artificial tears. Inserted between your lower eyelid and your eyeball, these tiny inserts dissolve slowly, releasing an eye lubricant.
- Tear-stimulating drugs. These drugs are available as pills, gel or eyedrops.
- Tear-stimulating devices. A new device inserted in the nose stimulates a nerve to produce tears.
- Eyedrops made from your own blood. These are called autologous blood serum drops.
- Closing your tear ducts with a tiny silicone plug to reduce tear loss.
- Unblocking oil glands, using light therapy or eyelid massage.
- Treating an eyelid condition with surgery. Ectropion, a condition that turns lids outward, preventing the lid from closing completely.
Content provided by the AAO through the Eyesmart program.