Dry Eyes are caused by imbalanced tear components so its generally recommended that you try different treatments to find out which ones have the most useful effect on your specific condition. Since Doctors first started recognising dry eyes there have been several important treatment innovations:
Aqueous (watery) tear substitutes. sodium chloride artificial tears and Hypromellose eye drops are the most popular type. Polyvinyl alcohol and Povidone are similar. They are cheap and fast acting but they last for only a short period giving part-time relief suitable for occasional dry eyes.
Preservative Free drops. If Preservatives are frequently applied to the dry eye they can negatively affect the already stressed surface cells. Unpreserved eye drops are available in the more expensive single-dose format. The formulation is worth it if your eyes are sensitive and require the most gentle of treatments. The single units are tiny and especially handy. Preservatives must be avoided while contact lenses are being worn. For further information see separate FAQ section about preservatives (pros & cons).
Hot Compresses. A compress that uses warmth to ease the flow of the tear’s oily component by melting the waxy oil that can plug the Meibomian glands that are located between the eyelashes.
Tear retention with thicker tear additives. Carbomer tear gels have been increasingly used by European and British Ophthalmologists for over 15 years.
Hyaluronate type eye drops. In the last five years this innovation has produced enhanced thicker tears with a perfect recovering of the eye at each blink.
Ointments. Last well but cause persistent blurring.
Lipid (oily) based sprays. Recent innovation that might help reinforce the in eye oily component even though sprayed over the closed eye.
Tear duct plugging. Requires an eye specialist to insert small silicone plugs into the little drainage ducts located in the nasal corner of each eye.
Tips to help prevent Dry Eyes:
- Stay hydrated and drink plenty (6 pints / 3 litres) of water each day.
- Avoid dry air and turn down the central heating, place a porous pot with water in your room to moisten the air.
- Avoid smoke and dust.
- Share your problems and ideas in the UKs specialist forum for Dry Eyes and Blepharitis
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