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Blepharitis MGD DryEye Symptoms

Managing Dry Eye Symptoms:

Adding tears

Mild cases of dry eye can often be managed using over-the-counter artificial tear solutions. Preservative-free artificial tear solutions are recommended because they contain fewer additives, which can further irritate the eyes. [1] [2]

Conserving tears

Keeping natural tears in the eyes longer can reduce the symptoms of dry eye. This can be done by blocking the tear ducts through which the tears normally drain, or a surgical procedure can permanently close the tear ducts. In either case, the goal is to keep the available tears in the eye longer to reduce problems related to dry eye. [1] [2]

Increasing tear production

Your eye care professional can prescribe eye drops that increase tear production. Taking an omega-3 fatty acid nutritional supplement may also help. [1] [2]

Treating the contributing eyelid or ocular surface inflammation

Your eye care professional might recommend ointments, warm compresses and lid massage, or eyelid cleaners to help decrease inflammation around the surface of the eyes. [1] [2]

Self-care

You can take the following steps to reduce symptoms of dry eye [1] [2]:

  • Remember to blink regularly when reading or staring at a computer screen for long periods of time.
  • Increase the humidity in the air at work and at home.
  • Wear sunglasses outdoors, particularly those with wraparound frames, to reduce exposure to drying winds and the sun.
  • Nutritional supplements containing essential fatty acids may help decrease dry eye symptoms in some people, ask your eye care professional.
  • Avoid becoming dehydrated by drinking plenty of water (8 to 10 glasses) each day.

What is Dry Eye?

Dry eye disease (DED) affects hundreds of millions of people throughout the world and is one of the most frequent causes of patient visits to eye care practitioners. It is a symptomatic disease, characterized by a vicious cycle of tear film instability and hyperosmolarity, which leads to increased ocular surface inflammation, damage and neurosensory abnormalities. Moderate to severe DED is associated with significant pain, limitations in performing daily activities, reduced vitality, poor general health, and often depression. [2]

Dry Eye Causes - graphic
Tear Film - Graphic

Dry eyes may occur if you don't produce enough tears or if you produce poor-quality tears:

    • Inadequate number of tears. Tears are produced by several glands in and around the eyelids. Tear production tends to diminish with age, with various medical conditions or as a side effect of certain medicines. Environmental conditions, such as wind and dry climates, can also decrease tear volume due to increased tear evaporation. When the normal amount of tear production decreases or tears evaporate too quickly from the eyes, symptoms of dry eye can develop. [1]
  • Poor quality of tears. Tears are made up of three layers: oil, water and mucus. Each component protects and nourishes the front surface of the eye. A smooth oil layer helps prevent evaporation of the water layer, while the mucus layer spreads the tears evenly over the surface of the eye. If the tears evaporate too quickly or do not spread evenly over the cornea due to deficiencies with any of the three tear layers, dry eye symptoms can develop. [1]

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[1] Dry Eye. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/eye-and-vision-problems/glossary-of-eye-and-vision-conditions/dry-eye 

[2] DRY EYE REDEFINED: TFOS DEWS II REPORT. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.tfosdewsreport.org/