Andrew A. Dahl, MD, is a board-certified ophthalmologist. Dr. Dahl's educational background includes a BA with Honors and Distinction from Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT, and an MD from Cornell University, where he was selected for Alpha Omega Alpha, the national medical honor society. He had an internal medical internship at the New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
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
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
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.
Dry eye is a multifactorial disease of the tears and the ocular surface that results in symptoms of discomfort, visual disturbance, and tear film instability with potential damage to the ocular surface.