The treatments for dry eyes include eye inserts, intense pulsed light therapy (IPL), antibiotics, an adequate consumption of water, sufficient lubrication, and the use of humidifiers, cucumber slices, castor oil, and lavender oil, as well as the application of aloe vera gel on the eyelids and proper nutrition.
Dry eye syndrome is a condition where the person does not have enough tears or the tears are of poor quality, which results in lack of lubrication and nourishment of the eye. Tears are important for the health and maintenance of the surface of the eye and for clear vision. Dry eyes are a result of an imbalance in the tear production and drainage.
Treatments for Dry Eyes
There are numerous ways to treat the condition of dry eyes that include the use of eye drops, lenses, therapies, massages, lavender oil, castor oil, among others. Let us look at some of them in detail below:
Use of antibiotics helps reduce inflammation around your eyelids that keep your oil glands from providing oil into your tears. They can be taken orally or, sometimes, in the form of eye drops.
Eye Drops for Corneal Inflammation
Eye drops like Restasis and Xiidra can be used for dry eye syndrome. They help in the formation of tears and thereby lubricate the cornea, reducing inflammation. They are also commonly known as artificial tears.
LACRISERT or Eye Inserts
This is a rice-like grain that is placed under the lower eyelid to help lubricate your eyes. It dissolves into the eye and keeps it moistened for a whole day. It can also cause a corneal abrasion if not placed properly. LACRISERT is a type of eye insert that is mostly recommended to patients suffering from severe dry eye symptoms.
Autologous Blood Serum Drops
These are eye drops made from your own blood, they are used as an option in cases of extreme dry eye symptoms. Doctors only resort to this treatment, when no other alternatives seem to have an effect on the patient. A salt solution is processed with a sample of your blood to make these blood serum drops.
Intense Pulsed Light Therapy
Intense pulsed light therapy (IPL) is used in case of ocular rosacea. It is a condition where the blood vessels around the eyelashes dilate, which leads to dry eye symptoms. The treatment involves flashing of bright light over the skin that is absorbed by the dilated blood vessels, thereby curing the inflammation. Usually, patients undergo about 4 to 6 pulse light treatments.
Other treatments include the use of special kind of contact lenses, called scleral lenses or bandaged lenses that retain moisture in the eyes, use of nutritional supplements, LipiFlow treatment, etc.
Home Remedies for Dry Eyes
You can also try the various home remedies available for dry eyes that can be implemented at home. These home remedies involve simple ingredients that are available in almost all households. Some of them include the following:
Dehydration can be a major cause of dry eyes. Water acts as a back-up for all the metabolic activities in the body. Thus, consuming at least 8 to 10 glasses of water is recommended for a patient suffering from dry eyes. An adequate consumption of water helps to recover from dry eye syndrome.
Eyes tend to dry out during sleep. To avoid this, a lubricant should be applied before sleeping to supply moisture to the eyes while you remain asleep. Also, you could provide moisture to your eyes using a washcloth dipped in water. Do not wash your eyes too much, as this may wash out the tears. Also, make sure to take breaks when working, and close your eyes so that they are allowed to rest properly.
To reduce strain to dry eyes, maximum moisture must be supplied to the eyes. This could be achieved by constant blinking. Blinking will help moisten the eye and also spread the tears to the sides of the eyes.
People with dry eyes tend to constantly rub their eyes. This can cause inflammation while letting dust and microbes enter the eyes. Therefore, eye hygiene should be maintained and rubbing should be avoided as much as possible.
When it comes to providing cool relief for your eyes, cucumber is the best choice. Cut fresh chilled cucumber into moderately thin slices and place them on the eyes. The chilled cucumber automatically numbs the dry sensation.
Flaxseed oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and is helpful in treating dry eyes. It can be consumed directly or with fruits and drinks.
Castor oil is known to act as a water retainer. In this sense, it is a good remedy for dry eyes to place a single drop of castor oil in the eye. A study on castor oil and its optometric function showed that it is good for dry eyes in cases of meibomian gland dysfunction.
A few drops of lavender oil can be mixed with one cup of water to make a solution. Apply it to the eyes with a washcloth dipped in the solution. This solution provides a soothing effect to the eyes and is known as an effective home remedy.
Cold Milk or Rose Water
According to Ayurvedic medicine, the oil must be applied on the head and on the sole of your feet every night before going to bed. This procedure is believed to counter Vata dosha or the “wind dysfunction”.
For speedy recovery of the dry eye patient, the surroundings must be kept moist. This can be done with the help of indoor humidifiers or air cleaners. These can help avoid dry air and provide moisture for the patient’s eyes.
Aloe vera can also be considered as an alternative for dry eyes. The gel or the viscous liquid inside the leaf of the aloe vera can be applied to the eyelid. This is believed to reduce the symptoms of dry eyes when regularly used. However, do not put the gel directly on the eye surface, as it may increase the symptoms.
Dry eyes are indirectly caused due to a lack of essential fatty acids in the diet. The essential fatty acids (EFAs) consist of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that help ward off dry eyes syndrome. Oils such as fish oil contain exceptional nutritious potential. The EFA’s (omega-3 and omega-6) are widely found in dried fruits and grains, including walnuts, sesame, grape seed, almonds, and whole grains. A good diet can help tackle any syndrome.
Soak a towel in warm water, remove excess water, and cover the upper face for 15-20 minutes. This would maintain the moisture in the eyes.
A research study conducted at the University of Miami suggests that grape-enriched diet supports eye health and may prevent vision-threatening retinal diseases.
Things to Avoid
There are certain things that can be avoided to prevent dry eyes in the first place. These include spending less time in front of the TV and computer, avoiding dry environments, and reducing the consumption of coffee, alcohol, and acidic food.
Dry Environment: Dry environments should be strictly avoided for people suffering from dry eyes. Dry air acts as an evaporating agent for your existing tears and also acts as an irritant. Hair dryers or smoke are dangerous in this situation as well, so keep your distance.
AC: Staying in air-conditioned environments for a long time can aggravate dry eyes. The air circulating in air conditioning units is drier than natural air and the lack of moisture in the air can worsen the condition of dry eyes.
Computer Use: Often, dry eyes are experienced by people who work for long hours on computers and those who watch TV for a longer duration. While staring at monitors or televisions, people do not often blink their eyes, along with putting a lot of stress on the eyes and causing the eyes to dry up.
Coffee Consumption: Excessive coffee consumption has been believed to intensify dry eyes in many cases. If you are suffering from dry eyes, try to limit your coffee consumption. Coffee is a diuretic and the consumption of diuretics, in the long run, can cause dry eye syndrome due to general dehydration in the body.
Smoking: It seems as though smoking and dry eyes are not related, but in reality, smokers are much more likely to be affected with dry eyes than nonsmokers. Apart from dry eyes, smoking is responsible for several eye diseases, including glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration.
With the above treatments, home remedies, and precautions, a person could easily cure dry eyes. Even if you don’t have dry eyes, it’s always better to take precautions and take good care of your eyes.