Dry eye affects millions of individuals and is found mostly in persons over 40 years of age. The causes of dry eye vary which may require different solutions depending on the cause. Dry eye results in burning, itching, gritty and sometimes red eyes. It may feel like there is something in the eye like sand or dirt. The causes of dry eye include decreased tear production, certain medications such as antihistamines and oral contraceptives, some systemic diseases such as lupus and arthritis and environmental causes such as working in a dry or extremely ventilated area.
Treatment of dry eye usually starts with good ocular hygiene. Cleaning around the eyelids with “lid scrubs” can help. Artificial tear drops are usually next in line and are applied about 4 times per day. Certain prescription drops can be used to further help the condition. Oral Omega-3 supplements have been also shown to help decrease dry eye symptoms.
Last but not least, your optometrist can insert “plugs” into your lacrimal ducts to slow down the drainage of tears from your eyes. This allows the small amount of tears that your eye does produce to last longer. These plugs have shown to be effective in cases of severe dry eye. Ask your optometrist if Lacrimal Plugs are for you.
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