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Managing Your Dry Eyes

Aug 17, 2007
What do you do when you get dry eyes? Especially when it gets red, itchy and irritable? Most people treat the symptoms because, frankly, dry eye syndrome does not usually get cured. So, one resorts to putting drops into the eyes and that reduces the redness. Unfortunately, this is more of a symptomatic treatment than a cure so one has to keep repeating it every time the eyes get dry and red.

What these drops do is to constrict the blood vessels in the eyes to make them less red. Prolonged use, however, necessitates using more and more of the eye drops till it usually stops working altogether. The blood vessels obviously get used to the medication and refuse to co-operate and constrict.

One does not really know what causes dry eyes but you could take some precautions so it does not get worse. Try and protect them with dark glasses when you go out in the sun. If the dust outside irritates your eyes, make sure your dark glasses have a foam sealing at each end and all around, so it fits snugly against your skin and does not allow the dust to go into your eyes. Inside the house, too, you can minimize dust with an air cleaner and use a humidifier so the air is not too dry.

Talk to your ophthalmologist or optometrist about what drops to use. They might advise you against buying over the counter eye drops because it will not do anything for your dry eyes. Instead, you might be asked to buy eye drops that are called 'artificial tears' which lubricate the eye or maybe even Restasis which actually makes tear production in your eye increase.

Just in case you wear contact lenses, don't put any kind of drops in your eyes when you have them on. Take them off, put the drops in, wait for a while - it might be mentioned on the label for how long you should wait - and then put your lenses back on. Here, too you can check with the specialist what eye drops contact lens wearers can use. If you do have a major problem, discuss it with the eye care specialist and maybe he will change your lenses. If the irritation gets unbearable, you might have to discontinue wearing them at least till the condition has become better.

Remember that if you are scheduled for eye surgery or LASIK, you might not be able to go through with it until your dry eyes have cleared up as it causes complications after the procedure. It would be better to wait till the problem has subsided before you go in for any kind of eye surgery.

Maybe some of the drugs you are taking right now are responsible for your dry eyes. Well, the doctor could maybe change the medication if possible. Don't, however, tamper with changes in medications on your own. Your eye care physician would be the one to go to in case it is due to an eye infection. Conditions like blepharatis have been known to cause dry eyes. This will necessitate medicated eye drops.

There is ongoing research to find a cure for dry eyes. Products like trehalose have tested positive but further studies are needed before any of these products can be introduced in the market.
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