There are a number of conditions that can cause dry eyes. For most people with mild dry eye symptoms,
over-the-counter eyedrops work well. For more severe dry eyes our Bellingham Optometrists
will work with you to determine the best course of treatment.
What Causes Dry Eyes?
Dry eyes can be caused by a variety of things; including inflammation, blocked oil glands, problems with tear ducts, certain medications, or underlying eye diseases. Doctor Anker or Doctor Pan will medically examine your eyes as well as go over your list of symptoms, health history, and current medications to determine the cause of your dry eyes. Once they have diagnosed you they may prescribe prescription eyedrops, or refer you to another doctor for further testing or procedures.
At Home Treatments
A variety of nonprescription products for dry eyes are available, including eyedrops (artificial tears), gels and ointments. Consider these factors when selecting an OTC product:
- Preservative vs. nonpreservative drops. Preservatives are added to some eyedrops to prolong shelf life. You can use eyedrops with preservatives up to four times a day. But using the preservative drops more often can cause eye irritation. Nonpreservative eyedrops come in packages that contain multiple single-use vials. After you use a vial, you throw it away. If you rely on eyedrops more than four times a day, nonpreservative drops are safe.
- Drops vs. ointments. Lubricating eye ointments coat your eyes, providing longer lasting relief from dry eyes. But these products are thicker than eyedrops and can cloud your vision. For this reason, ointments are best used just before bedtime. Eyedrops can be used at any time and won't interfere with your vision.
- Drops that reduce redness. It's best to avoid these as your solution for dry eyes, as prolonged use can cause irritation.
You can also try applying a warm washcloth to your eyes. Wet a clean cloth with warm water. Hold the cloth over your eyes for five minutes. Rewet the cloth with warm water when it cools. Gently rub the washcloth over your eyelids.
Click here to schedule an appointment for dry eye consultation