Tips for Treating Dry Eyes
There are many different options for treating the symptoms of dry eye disease. The most common treatment option is lubricating artificial tears. In moderate or severe cases, prescription eye drops or other medications may be necessary. Even with these treatment options, symptoms of dryness and irritation can be persistent. Many cases of dry eye disease can have additional factors that can cause or worsen symptoms, so addressing some of these other factors can be an important part of treating the disease. Sometimes, even simple lifestyle modifications can play a role in improving symptoms. Continue reading to learn more tips and tricks that may help in the treatment of dry eyes.
Talk to Your Doctor About Your Dry Eyes
Not just your eye doctor – your primary care doctor, too! There are many different underlying medical conditions that can cause or worsen dry eye disease, like Sjogren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, or others. By helping you manage these conditions, your primary care doctor can help reduce symptoms of dry eye disease. Dry and irritated eyes can also be a side effect of many systemic medications. In most cases, the medications we take are necessary to keep us healthy, so do not stop taking your medications without consulting with your doctor. However, understanding that your medications or other health conditions can affect your dry eyes can help you better treat and control your symptoms.
Dry Eye Disease and Your Diet
If your current treatment of artificial tears or prescription eye drops is not doing enough to relieve your symptoms of dryness and irritation, it may be time to alter your diet. Some doctors recommend nutritional supplements, especially omega-3 fatty acids and flaxseed oil, to help combat symptoms of dry eye disease. Both of these dietary components fight dry eye disease by reducing inflammation throughout the body, including the front surface of the eye. Omega-3 fatty acids are naturally provided by a wide variety of foods, including nuts, seeds, or fatty fish like salmon, tuna, or anchovy. Flaxseed is less common, but can still be found naturally in many different whole grains, cereals, or pastas. Some doctors also recommend vitamin C to combat dry eye and other ocular conditions. Vitamin C can be found in fresh fruits, like oranges, apples, and bananas. In addition to being found naturally in foods, all of these nutrients can be found as supplements in capsule or tablet form. If you are considering adding one of these supplements to your diet, talk to your primary care doctor to ensure these are appropriate to add to your diet.
Tobacco Products Harm Your Eyes
Smoking is known to significantly worsen the symptoms of dry eye disease. Electronic cigarettes or other vaping products also contribute to symptoms of burning, dryness, and irritation. For some, simply being in a smoky environment is enough to make the eyes uncomfortable. If you are a smoker, talk to your doctor about ways to quit smoking – as we know, the benefits of quitting stretch beyond the improvement of dry eyes. If your eyes are sensitive to smoke, consider keeping artificial tears and lubricating drops on hand in case you find yourself in a smoky and uncomfortable environment.
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