When your eyes are feeling a bit dry, an easy solution is to reach for some lubricating eye drops. But what about when the eye drops only help for a few minutes? What should you do when your eyes still feel dry, day after day, whether or not you use the eye drops? Don't go on living with chronic dry eyes. Doing so increases your risk of eye infections and corneal scratches. Talk to your eye doctor about treatments for chronically dry eyes, which include:
Medications to Increase Tear Production
Many cases of dry eyes occur because the lacrimal glands do not secrete as many tears as they should. If your eye doctor feels this is the cause of your dry eye issues, you may be prescribed a medication to increase tear production. Some examples include pilicarpine and cevimeline. Depending on your needs, this medication may be taken orally or placed in the eye as a liquid.
Medications to Reduce Inflammation
Sometimes, your eyes may feel dry because your eye tissues are absorbing too much moisture instead of allowing it to serve as lubrication on the front of your eyes. Inflammation can also block the oil glands in your eyelids, preventing them from secreting their oils into your tears. This makes your tears less lubricating. If your eye doctor feels inflammation is to blame for your chronic dry eyes, you may be prescribed a medication such as cyclosporin to reduce eye inflammation. Corticosteroids may also be used in the short-term to jump start the inflammation reduction.
Other cases of dry eye can be attributed to issues with the tear ducts. The tear ducts' job is to absorb tears after they have worked their way across the eye. Sometimes, the tear ducts may absorb these tears too quickly, causing the eyes to feel dry. A treatment known as punctual plugs can help. These are tiny, rubberized plugs that are placed in your tear ducts to keep them from absorbing tears so quickly. The process of inserting them is quick and painless; your eye doctor will do it in an outpatient appointment.
If you have dry eyes, don't ignore the issue. Your eye doctor will run some basic tests to determine whether the issue can be attributed to low tear production, inflammation, or tear duct issues. Then, the proper treatment will be administered to ensure you feel more comfortable soon. If you suffer from any of these problems, contact an eye care center, such as Dixie Ophthalmic Specialists at Zion Eye Institute.