Dry eyes can be incredibly uncomfortable to live with day-to-day. Before we get into ways to treat the troublesome symptoms, it’s first important to explore what’s causing the irritation to begin with. Dry eye syndrome could be the main source of symptoms—it occurs when your supply of tears becomes insufficient in lubricating and nourishing your eyes. Although it can happen at any age, typically dry eye syndrome happens over time and most commonly in people over 40.

However, there may be other culprits for your dry eyes that are not directly connected to dry eye syndrome. Reasons for your eyes to feel dry could include:

  • Antihistamines, antidepressants, and birth-control pills
  • Dirty, old, or improperly fitted contacts
  • Dry air caused by indoor heaters and/or ceiling fans
  • Allergies
  • Long hours in front of a computer or digital device

As you can see the causes range from minor to more challenging. If you suspect you may have dry eye syndrome or any of the above causing your dry eyes, it’s best to visit a VSP network doctor to explore options. During your eye exam, your doctor can check for vision problems and signs of health conditions that could result in dry eyes. An accurate diagnosis is important!

In the meantime, here are some quick treatments to help soothe uncomfortable symptoms of dry eyes:

  • Lubricating your dry, itchy eyes with eye drops – if the cause is allergies, there are specific drops formulated for people with allergies.
  • Avoid drafty windows, fans, or vents.
  • Use a humidifier to put moisture in the air.
  • Lay a warm, damp washcloth across your eyelids for a couple minutes.
  • Give your eyes a break from computer-use every 20 minutes, and spend 20 seconds focusing on something at least 20 feet away.
  • Keep your contacts clean, don’t wear them for too long, and replace them following your doctor’s instruction.

The good news is there are many options available to help treat dry eyes. Be sure to seek the advice of your eye doctor to explore all the best options for you.

The content of this article is for general informational awareness purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult your eye care doctor or physician for actual advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This article is the work of the attributed author and does not necessarily represent the views or opinions of VSP. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.

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Judy Nguyen, O.D., is the optometrist at Bella Eye Care Optometry in Newark, CA.