Dry Eye Treatment

Daily Health Solutions, Dry Eye, Featured Article, Healthy Aging, Healthy Living
on January 26, 2012
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Dry eye, or keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), can affect anyone. However, in the United States, nearly 3.2 million women and 1.68 million men 50 years and older are estimated to suffer from dry eye, reports the American Academy of Ophthalmology. If you suffer from dry eye, the following may be prescribed as treatment options.

How is dry eye treated? According to the American Optometric Association, primary treatment for dry eye includes adding tears, conserving tears, increasing tear production and treating any inflammation that may be contributing to your dry eye syndrome.

Medication. Cyclosporine is an anti-inflammatory prescription medication used in the treatment of chronic dry eye. The National Eye Institute states that this medicine cannot only increase your tear production while reducing dry eye symptoms, but it also will decrease corneal damage. It is important to note that this medication may need to be taken for several months for its full effects to combat the dry eye. Your doctor also may prescribe a short-term eye drop to help reduce the inflammation as well.

Eye inserts. Your doctor may decide to treat your dry eye by placing an eye insert on the inside of your lower eyelid. This treatment generally is used if you can’t tolerate artificial tears. The insert is small, about the size of a grain of rice, according to the Mayo Clinic, and it will dissolve slowly, lubricating your eye.

Tear conservation. Plugs can be inserted into your tear ducts to help your eyes from leaking tears too quickly, which can contribute to dry eye syndrome. The tear ducts may also be closed or shrunk with cauterization.

Over-the-counter and home remedies. Over-the-counter remedies such as artificial tears or gel drops can be used for temporary relief of dry eye. The National Eye Institute recommends avoiding artificial tears that contain preservatives or chemicals that may cause blood vessels to contract. When suffering from dry eye, stay hydrated, drinking at least 10 to 12 8-ounce glasses of water daily. In addition, try to avoid dry environmental conditions and run a humidifier at home or work if possible. Be sure to protect your eyes from outdoor elements such as wind and bright light by wearing sunglasses with a wrap-around fit to keep dust particles from your eyes. When possible, reduce the amount of time you spend looking at the computer screen or reading.