Dry Eye Syndrome (DES) is extremely common and can cause symptoms that range from mildly irritating to debilitating. DES occurs when there is disruption in the tear film, which is a natural layer of tears that coats the surface of the eye. Your tears are comprised of water, oil, and mucus. This mix keeps your eyes lubricated and moist and protects them from infection. An irregular tear film can cause a wide range of symptoms including burning, stinging, itching, tearing, foreign-body sensation, crusting of the eyelashes, eye pain, redness, light sensitivity and blurry or fluctuating vision.
If you have mild dry eye symptoms, some things that you can do at home to improve the tear film include:
- Artificial Tears: artificial tears can be purchased over-the-counter at any drug store. Bottled artificial tears can be used up to six times daily in both eyes. Do not buy redness reducing drops or drops that say “get the red out” as these are less lubricating to the eye.
- Warm Compresses: heating up a wet washcloth and applying this to your eyelids once a day for 5 minutes can help liquefy the oil in the eyelid glands and coat the surface of the eye.
- Lid Scrubs: using a pea-sized amount of baby shampoo and water, or over-the-counter lid scrubs, scrub your eyelashes (with closed eyes) every time you wash your face to help remove crusting that accumulates at the base of your eyelashes.
- Environmental Modifications: taking frequent breaks to blink and rest your eyes when reading or using a computer can help the tear film. Also, try to avoid direct heat, wind, or air conditioning that can dry out the surface of your eye.
The eye care experts at Fuerst Eye Center specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of dry eye syndrome. If you are experiencing dry eye symptoms, make an appointment by contacting Fuerst Eye Center at (626) 856-2020 or online today.