Almost five million Americans 50 and older are thought to have dry eye, with the highest incidence among post-menopausal women. Aside from being uncomfortable and annoying, dry-eye syndrome can also permanently harm your vision.
When left untreated, dry eye can cause light sensitivity and blurred vision. Furthermore, under lubricated eyes are more susceptible to scratches or infection.
So how do you treat it?
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The following home remedies are good first steps:
- Use a humidifier
- Wear glasses instead of contacts
- Take frequent breaks when staring at computer or TV screens
- Sleep for at least eight hours each night
- Avoid smoke
- Wear sunglasses or a hat
- Drink at least six glasses of water per day
If you try those but your dry eye persists, consider an over-the-counter eye lubricant drop. These come in the form of gels or ointments and can provide immediate relief.
If you still experience trouble after that, contact your physician. He or she can provide you with prescription-strength eye drops or, if necessary, discuss surgical options with you. This might include an outpatient procedure to provide punctal plugs, which temporarily close the small duct where tears drain from the eye.
Request an appointment to find out more about your options.