Dry Eye Syndrome (cont.)
Self-Care at Home
To help alleviate your symptoms from DES, you may want to try these self-help tips at home.
- A humidifier puts more moisture in the air. With more moisture in the air, your tears evaporate more slowly, keeping your eyes more comfortable. Both furnaces in the winter and air conditioning in the summer decrease the humidity in the air.
- Excessive air movement dries out your eyes. Avoid having excessive air movement by decreasing the speed of ceiling fans and/or oscillating fans.
- Large amounts of dust or other particulate matter in the air may worsen the symptoms of dry eye. In those situations, an air filter may be helpful.
- Hot compresses and eyelid scrubs/massage with baby shampoo help by providing a thicker, more stable lipid layer. This is especially helpful if you have meibomian gland dysfunction, rosacea, or blepharitis. The heat warms up the oil in the oil glands, making it flow more easily; the massaging action helps get the oil out of the glands. The cleansing action decreases the number of bacteria that break down the oil.
- Artificial tears and lubricating eyedrops and gels (available over the counter) help provide more moisture and lubrication for the surface of your eye. They are typically used about four times a day, but they can be used as often as needed. Preservative-free solutions are recommended if you wish to use artificial tears more than six times a day. There is no single over-the-counter drop that is best for everyone. Each individual will determine which drop provides the most relief from symptoms. Some drops may have a longer effect than others.
- Lubricating eye ointments are much thicker than eyedrops and gels. Because ointments are so thick, they last much longer than eyedrops and gels. However, because of their thickness, ointments may blur your vision if used during the day. Therefore, they are typically used to lubricate the eyes overnight while you are asleep.
- If you notice your eyes are dry mainly while you are reading or watching TV, taking frequent breaks to allow your eyes to rest and become moist and comfortable again is helpful. Closing your eyes for 10 seconds every five to 10 minutes will increase your comfort, as will blinking more frequently.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/29/2014
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