How to Treat Dry Eyes at Home? - 3 Best Treatments

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In today's article, I would like to talk about three effective treatments that you can do at home to treat dry eye disease. You may have heard about many different types of dry eyes treatments such as eyedrops both the ones that are available over-the-counter and the ones available by prescription.

Some other treatments that you can get at the doctor's office. But if you adopt the three home treatments that I mentioned in this article and do consistently, you should notice a significant improvement if you have mild to moderate dry eyes disease.

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The treatments in this post are based on my own clinical experience. You may have already been using some of the treatments for dry eyes I mentioned in this article. But you still feel your eyes get irritated, red, and tired.

After reading this article you may find the products you have been using or how you are using them may not be correct for you. I will also be writing a more in-depth article about the mechanism of dry eye disease and different types of dry eyes.

3 Best Treatment for Dry Eyes at Home

Treatment number one artificial tears you may be thinking. I have been using over-the-counter dry eye drops many times a day but my eyes are still dry and irritated. But which type of over-the-counter eye drops are you using? and how many times a day are you using them?

Because using the right type of over-the-counter artificial tear eye drops will help to replenish the tear film on the surface of our eyes. But using the wrong ones can cause damage to the surface of the eye instead of helping to improve dry eyes.

The tear film contains three different layers that are lipid layer, aqueous layer, and mucin layer. A good dry eye drop can help replenish and improve all three layers of the tear film. The over-the-counter artificial tears eye drops I recommended to most people to improve the health of all three layers of the tear film is refresh digital.

1. Refresh Digital Eye drop

Refresh digital artificial tears eye drops containing castor oil which is a natural ingredient derived from castor beans. It targets the lipid layer of the tear film by reducing evaporation of the tear film and extending the effectiveness of the artificial tears.

In addition to the active ingredients of CMC and glycerin, an additional active ingredient in refresh digital is a polysorbate. Polysorbate can help blend the oil component and the water-soluble component of the artificial tears to make the eye drops more soluble and easily spread across the surface of the eyes.

It is very important to use the preservative-free version of refresh digital eye drops whenever possible. Because there are special cells on the surface of the eyes called "goblet cells". These special cells can be damaged when exposed to an excessive amount of preservatives in eye drops over a long period of time resulting in less healthy mucin in the tear film. 

The goblet cells secrete the innermost layer of the tear film-the mucin layer. The mucin layer of the tear film stabilizes the tear film and decreases the surface tension. It allows the aqueous layer of the tear film to spread evenly over the surface of the eye and protects the surface of the eye from damage.

Typically if you are using artificial tears eye drops more than four times a day or if you use eye drops while wearing contact lenses. I highly recommended avoiding preservatives in eye drops by using a preservative-free artificial tear eye drop. The preservative-free refresh digital eye drops come in single-use vials which can be costly and inconvenient.

A good alternative is optase dry eye intense drops. It is preservative-free and comes in a multidose bottle. It contains sodium hyaluronate and 0.2% glycerin. I have been using the optase eye drops for the last few weeks and found the lubrication effect of the drop to be long-lasting.

2. Warm Compresses

This treatment mainly targets the lipid layer of the tear film. The lipid layer of the tear film is very important in preventing tears from evaporating too fast. The lipid layer of the tear film is the outermost layer. If your eyes feel dry and irritated shortly after applying over-the-counter eye drops or you feel like you need to put in eye drops over and over again.

The lipid layer of your tear film is likely not very healthy. The lipid layer of the tear film is secreted by the meibomian glands located in both upper and lower eyelids. If the meibomian glands are clogged or not working or the gland oil contains too many inflammatory particles. The aqueous layer of the tear film underneath secreted by the tears glands will not remain on the cornea for long enough to lubricate or moisturize the eyes.

One effective treatment you can do at home to open up the oil glands is warm compresses. You may already be doing warm compresses at home but have not found it to be very effective. You may not have been doing them correctly. The key to getting the benefit of warm compresses is to keep the heat over your closed eyelids for 5 to 10 minutes.

The method of using a washcloth soaked with hot water often does not provide long enough heat to the eyelids and you will need to rewarm the washcloth a few times during each warm compress session.

Heatable eye masks are designed to provide more consistent and longer-lasting heat to the meibomian glands to help release the oil from the glands into the tear film. I typically recommend doing warm compresses once or twice a day, depending on the severity of your dry eye symptoms. You can microwave the Bruder mask for 20 seconds and it will stay hot for 20 minutes.

3. Omega-3 Oil Supplements

The lipid layer of the tear film can also be affected by unhealthy gland oil secreted by the meibomian glands. This is typically due to increased inflammatory particles in the tear film. In this case, it is important to modulate and restore the health of the meibomian glands and their oil. This is where omega-3 supplements can come into play.

Because omega-3 supplements are not prescription medication and are not regulated by the FDA. Their dosage and composition may vary greatly. Please remember to always consult with your doctor before taking any high-dose omega-3 supplements to make sure that they are safe and right for you. In this post, I have mentioned three easy-to-do dry eye treatments that you can do at home.

There are also other more invasive and advanced treatment options that require a prescription and are typically reserved for more severe dry eyes cases. It is important to remember there is no one size fits all treatment protocol for everyone.

In my clinical practice, I prescribe an individualized treatment protocol for each patient based on their individual situation and I tailor their treatment plan based on their response to each treatment.

Thank you for staying with me throughout this article. As I promised at the beginning of the post, I would like to share with you the single most important component of any dry eye treatment. The most important thing that you can do to ensure that your dry eye treatment is effective is to be consistent.

If you only apply eye drops or do dry eye treatments when you are experiencing symptoms such as redness, soreness, or irritation, the treatment effect will not be long-lasting. when you adopt any or all of the three treatments and do them consistently on a daily basis. The treatments will act as preventive measures to help prevent you from getting dry eye symptoms.

I often recommend that my patients with dry eye disease use artificial tear eye drop 3 to 4 times a day on a regular basis, and do warm compresses, and take omega-3 supplements daily. If you feel your eyes are still irritated or sometimes have blurry vision, despite using over-the-counter eye drops and other at-home treatments that I mentioned in this post.

It is important to have a full eye exam and talk to your eye doctor about what other treatment options might be right for you. 

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