Dry eye is a chronic disease resulting from inflammation, which can cause harmful effects in the long term if not treated. Dry eye treatment can be quite simple. In some cases, it’s only a matter of adding a task to your daily routine. With advice from our Doyle Boutique in Longueuil, our optometrist Rosanne Trudel shares a few tips.

Dry Eye Symptoms

Dry eye can cause various symptoms, such as: 

 

  • Dry eyes and blurry vision. When your eyes are dry, your vision can fluctuate, meaning that you can have both clear and blurry vision throughout the day.
  • Watery eyes. Contrary to popular belief, dry eyes can be watery. 
  • Dry eyes burning. You could have a burning or slight warming sensation, either occasionally or for a prolonged period of time.
  • Itchy eyes. You may feel a tingling sensation in your eyes. 

Dry Eye Causes 

Many factors can cause dry eye. In 85% of cases, the Meibomian glands are inflamed for various reasons:

  • Computer screen eye strain. When you’re staring at a screen, you blink three times less. Hard to believe? Normally, we blink approximately 21 times per minute, but when staring at a computer, we barely blink seven times in the same time-lapse. And when you blink less, your Meibomian glands are not as stimulated - plus they also shrink!
  • Medication causing dry eyes. Which medications cause dry eyes? Quite a few treatments have dry eyes as a side effect. These include anticholinergics, antidepressants, antihypertensive treatments, and antihistamines.
  • Dry eyes after Lasik. Following laser eye surgery, eyes are more prone to ocular dryness. Why? Because during surgery, we cut the corneal nerves, which shuts down any communication with your eyes. And without communication, there is no transmission of tears. This temporary eye dryness can get better on its own once the corneal nerves regenerate, but it’s important to treat dry eyes as soon as symptoms begin, to avoid any complications.
  • Dry eyes and contacts. Contact lenses cause a light destabilization by penetrating the tear film. Depending on your “usual” level of teariness, you’ll feel this destabilization more or less quickly. This means that if you naturally have very little tears, you’ll most likely get dry eyes from wearing contacts. 

Dry Eye Treatment

To keep ocular dryness under control and soften the symptoms, you must reduce inflammation. This can be done in several ways, depending on the severity and frequency of your symptoms. 

  • Eye drops for dry eyes. By using eye drops on a daily basis, you can improve your eye health tremendously. 
  • Dry eyes and blinking. By blinking more often, you help your Meibomian glands create oil, which helps keep your eyes hydrated. 
  • Dry eyes and computer screens. Although most of us can’t help being exposed to screens on a daily basis, it’s possible to avoid them in your free time. Take frequent breaks (every 20 minutes or so if you can) and rest your eyes during these timeouts by stepping out for a breath of fresh air, chatting up your colleagues, or listening to music. 
  • Omega 3 for dry eyes. You may be surprised to hear it, but supplements such as omega 3 can have an impact on dry eyes. Why? Because these natural remedies help reduce inflammation and act as dry eye relief.  
  • Eye care. Having good eyelid hygiene helps reduce the number of bacteria around the eyes. By maintaining a lower level of bacteria, we can reduce inflammation and the risk of having dry eyes. Care for your eyes in the morning at the same time as your daily cleansing routine, using a product recommended by your optometrist.
  • Warm compresses. To relieve your eyes and stimulate the Meibomian glands, you can also do warm compresses. When the oil located inside the glands becomes inflamed, it freezes - simply applying heat can help unclog the glands. When used on a daily basis, a heated mask (heated at 45 °C”) is more practical and maintains heat longer than a compress. 
  • Professional eyelid cleansing. It’s also possible to reduce eye inflammation by getting a professional eyelid cleansing. This dry eye treatment balances the bacterial flora and thoroughly cleans the contour of the eyes. The process is completely painless, and lasts around 5 or 6 minutes per eye. It is available in certain Doyle boutiques. 
  • Severe dry eye treatment. When you’ve failed at trying to cure dry eye naturally (with artificial tears or warm compresses), you should see an optometrist for an anti-inflammatory treatment prescription. 

What are the best contacts for dry eyes?

If you wear contact lenses, your chances of having dry eyes increase. To keep the situation from worsening, our optometrist recommends:

  • Don’t wear extended-wear contact lenses. It’s preferable to wear daily disposable contacts as you won’t need to use any cleaning solutions, which are very irritating to the eye. If for whatever reason you prefer weekly or monthly contacts, opt for a peroxide-based solution to clean your contact lenses thoroughly, which will reduce the risk of having deposits on your lenses.
  • Never (ever!) sleep with your contact lenses. Eyes need to be oxygenated during the night, so it’s highly recommended to remove your contact lenses before going to bed. When you sleep with your lenses, your eyes lack oxygen and your body is forced to compensate. To do so, the body creates new vessels to bring oxygen to the eyes, which results in more inflammation and secondary eye dryness. 
  • Wear your glasses as often as possible. By wearing your glasses in the evenings, on weekends, or when you’re home all day, instead of your contact lenses, you’ll give your eyes a welcome break. 
  • Don’t wear your contacts at all. Not all the time! But at least one day a week if you can.

Can you cure dry eye?

Unfortunately, since ocular dryness is a chronic disease, we never completely cure dry eye. But good hygiene can significantly improve your quality of life and the intensity of dry eye symptoms. Why? Because both the inflammation and the discomfort will remain under control. So don’t wait — see your optometrist and start caring for your eyes today!