Watch Out for Chronic Dry Eye
Sometimes we may be able to manage the symptoms of Dry Eye with over-the-counter (OTC) remedies, usually with things like “artificial tear” eye drops, warm compresses, and avoidance of irritants. But at some point, OTC treatments and lifestyle changes may not work as well or at all. July is National Dry Eye Awareness Month, a good time to talk about what to do when your Dry Eye becomes chronic.
Let’s look at some indications that you may need more than OTC treatment to manage your dry eyes:
- You have severe, chronic eye pain
- You can’t tolerate bright lights
- You’re unable to remove your contact lenses
- You sometimes have blurry vision or double vision
- You’re using eyedrops constantly
- You feel depressed or anxious because of chronic dry eyes
- You can’t cry or produce tears
OTC remedies may be a good first-line of defense for dry eyes. But with frequent or long-term use, particularly of products with preservatives, they can cause irritation or allergic reactions that actually make your eyes feel worse.
If OTC isn’t working for you, there are other options. These include prescription medications, tear duct plugs, or in some cases surgery to tighten too-loose bottom eyelids.
Additionally, if your ophthalmologist or optometrist determines that your dry eye is caused by Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), where glands along the edge of the eyelids are clogged, you may benefit from Lipiflow® Thermal Pulsation System, an advanced and effective treatment available at Atlantic Eye. (see https://atlanticeye.com/2023/04/feeling-the-sting-of-dry-eyes-ask-us-about-lipiflow/)
It’s fine to try OTC medications, but if your symptoms don’t improve, it’s important to tell your Atlantic Eye doctor. Chronic Dry Eye that isn’t properly treated puts you at a higher risk of developing complications like eye infections, light sensitivity, and eye inflammation. Dry eyes can affect your quality of life and make it difficult to do things like drive or work. Your doctor can determine the cause behind your symptoms and recommend a treatment to relieve the symptoms of Chronic Dry Eye.