How is dry eye treated?

• Environmental changes can be an important part of managing dry eye. Avoiding drafts, lowering computer screens to below eye level, and increasing room humidity are a few simple approaches.
• Artificial tears are over-the-counter products that come in liquids, gels, or ointments. These products only function to supplement your own tears and help lubricate the eye. Artificial tears do not address any underlying causes of dry eye disease. Preservative-free artificial tears are best because they contain fewer additives that could further irritate the eye.
• Prescription medications are available to help address the inflammatory component of dry eye disease and to help increase the production of natural, healthy tears.
• Conserving healthy tears by plugging the tear drainage opening is a simple, painless procedure that can be used as additional treatment if necessary.
• Addressing contributing eyelid disease with the use of prescription eye drops or ointments, warm compresses and a lid massage, and eyelid cleansers should not be neglected.
• Nutritional supplements in the form of omega-3 fatty acids, specifically, DHA and EPA are very helpful in managing dry eye disease. Staying hydrated by drinking 8 glasses of water a day is also helpful.
• There is no “cure” for dry eye disease. Many of the treatments may require several months to reach maximum results.  Some treatments are long term and may require continuous care.