For those who have experienced dry eye symptoms on an occasional basis, this condition could be managed through frequent eyelid washing or use of over-the-counter eye drops.
Addition of Tears with Over-the-Counter Eye Drops
Over-the-counter artificial tear eye drops will resolve mild cases of dry eye. Ask your eye doctor who drops could be the best option for you due to the sheer variety of choices of artificial tears available. Here are some ideas to help you with the selection process:
Non-preservative vs. Preservative Drops:
To prolong the shelf life of some eye drops, manufacturers are added. This type of eye drop can be used up to four times daily. When used more than four times, irritation can result. Non-preservative eye drops are packaged in single-use vials under most circumstances. The vial must be thrown away immediately after use. For those who need to use eye drops more frequently than four times daily, non-preservative eye drops are a safe option.
Ointments vs. Drops:
A lubricating ointment for the eye provides a coating that offers relief that will last a longer period for dry eyes. However, ointments are thick and could cause vision to become clouded. Due to this fact, it is recommended that ointments be used before bedtime. Use of eye drops can be used anytime during the day without causing cloudiness and will not cause interference with vision.
The number of times eye drops are needed per day are solely dependent on the severity of your symptoms. There are some patients who need to add eye drops to relieve dry eye symptoms once hourly, whereas others only need to use their drops once daily.
Controlling Inflammation by Washing Eyelids
For those with blepharitis, as well as other conditions that could cause the eyelids to become inflamed because the flow of oil to the eye is blocked, washing the eyelid frequently could be helpful. Here are some eyelid washing tips:
A warm washcloth should be applied to your eyes first. Begin by wetting a clean cloth using warm water. For five minutes, hold the cloth in your eyes. When the cloth becomes cool, re-wet it with warm water again. Loosen any debris on your eyelids by gently rubbing the washcloth over your eyes.
Only mild soap should be used on your eyelids. If your doctor hasn’t recommended soap for your eyelids, baby shampoo is a good option. Close your eye and use a clean fingertip to massage gently soap onto the eyelids where the base of your eyelashes are. Then, completely rinse away the soap.
It may be recommended by your doctor to complete the routine on a daily basis, even if your dry eye symptoms have gone away. They may tell you that stopping this method could result in your dry eye symptoms returning.