When the eye does not produce tears properly, the tears evaporate too easily or are simply not of the right consistency, then a condition known as dry eye occurs. According to the National Eye Institute, if left untreated, this condition can result in ulcers, corneal scarring and some loss of vision. Although permanent loss of vision is uncommon, the symptoms of dry eye can be painful. If you suffer from dry eye, learn the steps that you can take to manage the condition.
Medication. Antibiotics can be prescribed to reduce inflammation along the edge of the eyelid. According to the Mayo Clinic, medication can be administered either as eye drops or an ointment, and it can also be taken as a pill. Alternatively, your doctor may recommend an anti-inflammatory drug such as cyclosporine. Cyclosporine is normally applied twice daily, and it can take from three to six months for the drug to reduce the symptoms.
Eye drops. Moderate to severe inflammation of the eye’s surface can be controlled with prescription eye drops containing corticosteroids or a medication that suppresses the immune system. For milder cases, over-the-counter artificial tears can be applied. The Mayo Clinic recommends eye drops that do not contain preservatives if you need to apply tears more than four times a day.
Washing your eyelids. For dry eye that is caused by inflammation blocking the flow of oil to the eye, frequent eye washing can alleviate the problem. Eyelids should be washed with a warm, clean washcloth. Baby shampoo or a soap recommended by your doctor can also be used to help clean the eyelids thoroughly.
Preventive measures. If you suffer from dry eyes, then a number of preventive measures can be taken to help minimize the risk of further symptoms. The National Eye Institute recommends that you should avoid air blowing into your eyes by wearing glasses on windy days and considering the addition of eyeglass shields to the top and sides. Wear goggles when swimming, and if you are using a computer or reading for long periods of time, take regular breaks to rest your eyes.