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Relieving Chronic Dry Eye

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6 Self-Care Tips for Dry Eyes

Doctor William C Lloyd Healthgrades Medical Reviewer
Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Written By Linda Wasmer Andrews on September 22, 2021
  • portrait of smiling woman outside
    Soothe Your Dry Eyes
    Dry eyes might sound like a minor complaint, but they can lead to major discomfort. Your eyes may feel gritty, scratchy, stinging, burning, or painful, and your vision may sometimes be blurry. Fortunately, simple steps can offer welcome comfort when your eyes feel like the Sahara.
  • Man using eye drops
    1. Apply Artificial Tears
    Artificial tears can bring real relief from dry eye syndrome, which is caused by a lack of enough natural tears. Tear supplements are available over the counter in drops, gels, gel inserts, and ointments. If you use artificial tears more than four times a day, choose a preservative-free brand.
  • biker wearing sunglasses sitting down in grass
    2. Wear Wraparound Shades
    Sunglasses with wraparound frames shield your eyes from sun and wind, slowing the evaporation of tears. Some have foam seals for a closer fit against your face. For indoor protection, ask your optician about moisture chamber glasses and goggles, which trap moisture around your eyes.
  • humidifer-in-room
    3. Switch on a Humidifier
    A humidifier adds moisture to dry indoor air, slowing tear evaporation. This may be especially helpful in winter, when indoor heating can leave the air parched. In summer, move your chair or adjust the vents in your car so that the air conditioner isn’t blowing directly on your face.
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  • Woman using computer
    4. Take Computer Breaks
    Blinking moves tears across your eyes, helping keep them moist. But people don’t blink as often as they should while staring at a computer screen. The moist tear film will evaporate without a replenishing blink. When using a computer, remind yourself to blink frequently. Also, give your eyes a rest by looking away from the screen often. The same advice applies whenever you are reading.
  • salmon dish
    5. Consume Omega-3 Fats
    Omega-3s may improve tear quality and decrease inflammation in dry eyes. These healthy fats are found in oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines, and albacore tuna. Other sources include flaxseeds, walnuts, and soybean and canola oils. Or ask your eye care professional about omega-3 supplements.
  • cigarette-stubs-in-ashtray
    6. Avoid Cigarette Smoke
    Cigarette smoke irritates the eyes, which can lead to chronic inflammation of the membrane lining the eyelid. That inflammation, in turn, can cause eye dryness. If you smoke, this is another excellent reason to quit. Avoid secondhand smoke from other people’s cigarettes as well.
  • Senior Woman at Eye Doctor
    Talk With Your Eye Doctor
    If self-help methods don’t soothe your dry eyes, call your eye care professional. When the problem is linked to wearing contacts, changing the type of lens may help. In other cases, you may benefit from prescription medication or lacrimal plugs, which keep tears from draining out of the eyes.
6 Self-Care Tips for Dry Eyes
  1. Dry Eye. American Optometric Association.
  2. What is Fat? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  3. Products Aim to Soothe Dry Eyes. American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery.
  4. Causes of Dry Eye. American Academy of Ophthalmology.
  5. Dry Eye Treatment. American Academy of Ophthalmology.
  6. Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids. American Heart Association.;
  7. Facts About Dry Eye. National Eye Institute.
  8. Blinking. National Library of Medicine.
  9. Living With Dye Eye. Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation.

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Last Review Date: 2021 Sep 22
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