There are several prescription medications for patients who suffer from chronic dry eyes. However, they're not appropriate for everyone. If you are pregnant, have an underlying medical condition, or have had severe side effects associated with these drugs in the past, your eye doctor may not recommend taking them. That does not mean, however, that you should not continue to care for your eyes in ways that reduce or minimize dryness. Here are some eye care treatments to look into that don't involve medication.
Talk to your eye doctor about having punctal plugs placed in your tear ducts. These are little silicon plugs that slide right into your tear duct, filling the space so that your tears can only drain into the tear duct very slowly. As a result, any tears you produce remain on the surface of your eye much longer, so your eye does not get as dry.
Punctal plugs need to be inserted by your eye doctor. They'll give you some numbing eye drops, and then pop them right in within a few seconds. They can last for years, but if one does come out, it can easily be replaced. You won't even know they're there.
Lubricating Eye Drops
Even though you cannot take medicated eye drops, you should have no trouble using standard, lubricating eye drops throughout the day. When you know you are prone to dry eye, the best way to use these is preemptively. In other words, keep a bottle handy and put the drops in every few hours — even if your eyes do not feel dry at the time. The goal here is to prevent dryness in the first place.
Using lubricating eye drops can help prevent the redness and irritation that usually go hand-in-hand with dry eyes.
Some patients' eye dryness is made worse by the fact that they don't blink as often as they should. This happens a lot if you're working behind a screen all day. Setting reminders to blink can help ensure you blink more often. There are a few ways to do this. Try setting a phone alarm that goes off every few minutes. Or you can put a post-it note on your screen that says "blink" so every time you see it, you're reminded to keep blinking.
Eye dryness can lead to more serious issues if you don't take action to keep your eyes lubricated. So if you can't take medications for dry eye, don't give up; turn to the treatments above.
To learn more, visit an eye doctor like those at Southern Colorado Eye Care Associates.