You are likely to experience some issues with your eyes when you spend 8-9 hours a day looking at the screen. And, once you are home, you check social media notifications on your smartphone. Your eyes need a break from screens. If you are not doing that, prepare for eye problems such as dry eyes especially if you are not blinking enough.
Dry eye is a condition in which your eyes don’t produce tears in an adequate amount. When left untreated, dry eyes can cause further complications such as corneal ulcers, corneal surface abrasion, eye inflammation and even vision loss.
Visit a specialist if you are having any issues with your eyes. The doctor will see your symptoms to see if you have dry eyes or some other condition.
Dry eye Diagnosis
The specialist performs some tests and procedures for diagnosis. It starts with the evaluation of your overall history. Your doctor will ask if you have faced any issues with your eyes in the past.
The next step is the Schirmer test, a test that determines if your eyes are producing enough tears or not. Phenol red thread test is another test for the diagnosis of dry eyes. The specialist also performs some tests to check the quality of tears. Tear osmolarity test checks the composition of your tears.
Dry Eyes Treatment
You can use artificial tears if this issue is mild or you occasionally experience symptoms of dry eyes. Don’t ignore if your symptoms are persistent. Don’t let it get serious. There are different types of treatments for dry eyes. Your doctor may suggest you shop dry eye masks and prescribe some medications. The goal of some treatments is to manage or reverse factors or conditions responsible for dry eyes. Other treatments focus on improving the quality of tears.
The type of treatment depends on the cause of the health problem. Sometimes, you experience dry eyes symptoms because of some other health problem. Treating that underlying condition can also treat dry eyes. Your doctor will prescribe some other medication if you experience these symptoms due to certain medications. See an oculoplastic surgeon if you have dry eyes due to ectropion (lids turned outwards).
Depending on the cause, your eye specialist will prescribe the following medications:
Medications For Eyelid Inflammation
These medications reduce eyelid inflammation blocking the secretion of oils that are essential components of tears. The treatment may include oral antibiotics, ointments or eyedrops.
Medications For Corneal Inflammation
Prescription eyedrops for corneal inflammation contain Corticosteroids or Restasis. Keep in mind that there are side effects of long-term use of Corticosteroids.
Artificial tears may not help if your dry eye symptoms are moderate to severe. Placing Lacrisert may help.
Drugs for Tear-Stimulation
Cholinergics (pilocarpine, cevimeline) are drugs that can increase the production of tears. You can take these drugs in the form of gels, pills or eyedrops.
Autologous Blood Serum Drops
When no treatment works then the specialist will try autologous blood serum drops.
There are some other products that may treat dry eyes. The eye specialist may:
- Recommend special contact lenses
- Reduce tear loss by closing tear ducts
- Recommend a heated dry mask to unblock oil glands
- Suggest eyelid massage and use light therapy
In addition to using a heated dry mask, you can try some home remedies such as frequently washing your eyes. Applying a warm washcloth can also help. Massage your eyelids using a mild soap or baby shampoo.
Dry Eyes Prevention
Most importantly, you should make some changes in your lifestyle to prevent dry eyes and many other health problems. Here are some tips for dry eyes prevention:
- Quit smoking.
- Don’t blow air in your eyes.
- Avoid dry indoor air.
- Give your eyes a break.
- Wear a heated dry mask or wraparound sunglasses.
- Don’t keep your screen above eye level.