Eyes feel uncomfortable? Perhaps your eyes are failing to make enough tears, a condition called dry eye syndrome. Or your tears may be evaporating too quickly. Many people -- more women than men -- have this problem after the age of 50, which can cause redness, sensitivity, itching, scratchiness, and blurry vision. Potential fixes include artificial tears, humidifiers, prescription eye drops, or procedures to fix underlying eye problems.
1 AnswerMichael Roizen, MD, Internal Medicine, answeredEase your dry-eye discomfort with a humidifier (aim for humidity over 30% indoors), over-the-counter saline eye drops or artificial tears, or prescription eye drops. Also, eat more omega-3 fats -- from salmon, walnuts, avocados, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) supplements, and omega-3 eggs -- to decrease inflammation in your tear glands, which relieves dryness.Helpful? 1 person found this helpful.
1 AnswerLaura Fine, Ophthalmology, answeredDry eye syndrome (which occurs when tear production declines) may develop in people with posterior blepharitis, an inflammation of the inner eyelid that is common in people with allergies or in those with the skin disorders rosacea or seborrheic dermatitis. In people with blepharitis, the oil glands in the eyelid become inflamed and clog. As a result, the eyes are not bathed in the usual fine sheen of oil, and water from tears evaporates more rapidly than normal.
1 AnswerSome of the glaucoma medications can cause eye dryness, redness or even allergic reactions in extreme cases. Over-the-counter artificial tears may help with the dryness, but should not be used within 5 minutes before or after your glaucoma drop. If the dryness is becoming a daily problem, discuss this with your ophthalmologist to ensure it is nothing more serious.
1 AnswerPrescription eyedrops used for chronic dry eyes include cyclosporin (Restasis) and dilute loteprednol (Alrex). If you have not tried these drops, ask your Eye M.D. about them. When over-the-counter tear replacements do not give comfort, your doctor might prescribe hydroxypropyl cellulose inserts (Lacriserts), which are placed behind the lower eyelids once daily; the inserts then slowly melt away and help keep the eyes moist all day.
Surgery is seldom done for dry eye unless there is an abnormal position of the eyelids against the eye. Small plugs can be placed in the tiny openings on the edge of the eyelid through which tears drain away, or those openings can be closed by cautery in a simple office procedure.
Putting drops in your eye may seem difficult at first but becomes easier with practice. Follow these steps:
- Wash your hands prior to using your eyedrops.
- Remove the cap. Do not touch the dropper tip.
- Tilt your head back slightly.
- Pull your lower lid away from the eye to form a “pocket” by: (a) pulling the lower lid down with your index finger or (b) pinching lid outward with thumb and index finger.
- Hold the dropper tip directly over the eyelid pocket. (You may wish to brace your hand against your face or forehead to keep it steady.)
- Look up and let the eyedrop fall into the pocket without touching the bottle to your eye or eyelid (to prevent contamination of the bottle).
- Close your eyes (do not blink) and apply pressure to the point where the lids meet the nose. Hold for two to three minutes.
- Before opening your eyes — and this is very important — wipe unabsorbed drops and tears from the closed lids with a tissue. Then open your eyes.
- If you need to take more than one kind of eye medication at the same time, wait three to five minutes before using the second drop.
Steroid (Corticosteroids) Eyedrops
These eyedrops are extremely potent and should be used only under your ophthalmologist’s guidance. Using them for an eye problem without telling your ophthalmologist is dangerous.
Whenever corticosteroids are used, they reduce your eye’s ability to fight infection and to repair injury. Using them over time can lead to glaucoma or cataracts, which can cause loss of vision.
In spite of the risks, the benefits of using steroids are so important in treating certain conditions that they must be prescribed. The generic names of common corticosteroids are:
Eyedrops to Treat Infection
Your ophthalmologist may prescribe eyedrops if you have an infection that can be treated by a certain medication. Not all “red” or “pink” eyes necessarily mean an infection is present.
No single medicine is effective against all types of infection. Some infections cannot be treated with eyedrops.
Once treated for an eye infection, you should notice improvement in your condition within several days. If your condition becomes worse while you are using the eyedrops, call your ophthalmologist.
Eyedrops to Treat Glaucoma
Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve often related to high pressure inside the eye. Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness, but loss of sight from glaucoma can be prevented with early treatment. Eyedrops applied every day are used to lower the pressure within the eye.
Glaucoma medications reduce the fluid pressure in the eye either by decreasing the amount of fluid forming in the eye or by increasing the eye’s ability to drain fluid. This fluid, called aqueous humor, is inside the eye and is different from your tears.
You can buy many eyedrops without a prescription. Even though you can buy them over the counter, these eyedrops may still contain medications.
Eyedrops should be used according to the directions of your physician and the directions on the package. Be aware of any symptoms you may experience since nonprescription eyedrops can also cause an allergic reaction.
Drops called artificial tears are solutions that can soothe irritated or dry eyes. Most artificial tears can be used five to six times per day. If drops are needed more frequently, preservative-free artificial tears are available and can be used as often as needed.
Decongestant eyedrops contain a medicine that whitens the eyes by shrinking, or constricting, blood vessels. While decongestant drops don’t improve the health of your eye, they make the eye appear less red. If you use these eyedrops infrequently and for a short duration of time, they are usually not harmful. If you use them often, your eyes may actually become more red and irritated when the eyedrops are discontinued.
Eyedrops contain medicines that are used to treat many eye diseases and conditions. Some are also helpful for relieving eye discomfort.
It is important to remember that all medicines, including eyedrops, can cause side effects. Some side effects caused by eyedrops are local, which means they affect just the eyes. Examples of local side effects include redness of the eye, eye irritation or blurred vision.
Most of the medication in eyedrops stays in or near the eyes, but a small amount affects the rest of the body. Eyedrops are absorbed into the body’s bloodstream through mucous membranes lining the surface of the eye, the tear drainage system, and nose. Once in your bloodstream, the eyedrops can cause side effects in other parts of the body. Such side effects can include slow heart rate, dizziness and headache. In general, however, there is less risk of side effects with eyedrops than with oral medicines.
6 AnswersJohns Hopkins Medicine answered
Several factors can cause the water from the tear film to evaporate too quickly, or for overall tear production to simply decrease. These include:
Helpful? 2 people found this helpful.
- Evaporation of the water from the tear film - Blepharitis (eye inflammation), decreased production by the oil glands of the eyelids, or thyroid disease cause water evaporation in the eye.
- Decreased sensation of the cornea - Corneal sensation is part of the tear-making response, so eyes with decreased sensation will tear less. Long-term contact lens wear and certain viral infections are common causes.
- Damage to the tear glands (also called the lacrimal glands) - Most commonly causes by Sjogren's syndrome, a chronic inflammatory disease. In Sjogren?s syndrome, mucous membranes, especially in the eyes and the mouth, become extremely dry. Primary Sjogren's occurs alone with no other associated disorders, while secondary Sjogren's is brought on by other autoimmune disorders, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.