Burning the midnight oil to study for a test or spending the day sunning and swimming at the beach can leave you with dry itchy eyes the next day. But what happens when that scratchy, burning feeling is constant, even when you’re well-rested and can’t blame the environment? That’s called chronic dry eye, and it happens to millions of people across the country.
If you’re one of them and live here in New York, Dr. Brittni Rodriguez at VistaSite Eye Care can treat your chronic dry eye to bring you lasting relief. She’s also compiled a list of practical tips that help you cope with your chronic dry eye and avoid the triggers that make it worse.
Understanding chronic dry eye
Chronic dry eye is more than just an occasional irritation. It’s a long-term, daily menace that can cause damage to your eyes if left untreated. There are many causes of chronic dry eye, but the most common are age, medications, changing hormones (especially in pregnant and menopausal women), and illness.
Under normal circumstances, your eyes are constantly bathed by a refreshing, nourishing layer of tears that lubricate them and protect them from the outside elements. Chronic dry eye occurs when you either don’t produce enough of those tears or something changes in their composition.
The result is an itching, burning, painful experience. You may even experience blurry vision. But it’s more than an annoyance. Your dry eye condition can eventually damage your cornea, the domed part of your eye. Here’s what you can do.
Coping with chronic dry eye
The best thing to do if you have chronic dry eye is to come in and see us at VistaSite Eye Care. Our team can evaluate your condition and help determine exactly what’s causing it, so we can target the problem accurately. Meanwhile, here are some at-home ways you can cope with dry eye, as well as medical treatments we may recommend.
At-home dry eye remedies
There are several things you can do to alleviate some of your dry eye symptoms without medical intervention, but it’s always best to check in with us first to make sure you know what you’re dealing with.
- Over-the-counter products: artificial tears are available in gels, ointments, and drops
- Change medications: talk to your doctor about medications that may be causing your dry eye
- Avoid smoke: quit smoking and/or stay away from second-hand smoke
- Limit screen time: staring at a computer for too long can worsen your chronic dry eye
- Sunglasses: full-wrap protective glasses can keep wind, sun, and dirt out
- Warm compress: a warm, damp washcloth can soothe dry eyes
- Gentle massage: with light pressure and avoiding harsh rubbing, this can stimulate tears
- Ditch your contacts: switch to glasses to ease discomfort
If your chronic dry eye has progressed beyond the point where at-home remedies can relieve your symptoms, our team can help. Depending on how severe your condition is, we may recommend:
- Prescription eye drops: specifically formulated for dry eye and to reduce inflammation
- Medication: Restasis can be prescribed to increase tear production
- Amniotic membrane: a minimally invasive, in-office application to heal the surface of your eyes
- Minor Surgery: an in-office procedure can unblock tear drainage to keep your eyes lubricated
If you have chronic dry eye, you know the bad news: it’s painful and unrelenting. The good news is that it’s treatable, and you have many options. Call us today to schedule an appointment or book one online, and let’s get your dry eye under control.