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Dry eyes can result from a lot of different conditions. Some people’s work or living environments may cause them (for instance working in windy outdoor areas on in office buildings with low humidity and forced air). Other times they are the result of taking medications, like many tranquilizers, antidepressants, antihistamines, and anti-convulsants. Some conditions such as Sjogren’s syndrome may also result in this condition, as can normal body changes like going through menopause. It’s important to understand the different causes because the best dry eye treatment may in part be related to cause.
It isn’t possible for an individual to determine cause without seeing an ophthalmologist, and this should be the first step toward finding the best dry eye treatment. If the condition does only occur once in a while, as when the heater is on the home for example, the simplest treatment is usually eye drops. These are not the eye drops intended for red eyes or allergies. Instead, people want to look for artificial tears, which can lubricate the eyes.
Many people continue to use these, but there may be a better dry eye treatment if the artificial drops need to be used all of the time. First the simple over the counter drops are not preferred for long-term use because they have preservatives in them to which people may become allergic. There are single dose artificial teardrops that may be more effective for daily use.
Second, some ointments may help the eye lubricate more effectively. When dry eyes are constant, and particularly if they cause pain or if the eyes feel as though they frequently get something in them, especially upon waking, eye drops may not provide enough relief. Instead of using drops at night, doctors might recommend application of certain ointments as the best dry eye treatment.
Another dry eye treatment doesn’t directly lubricate the eye for more than a few seconds when it is applied. Medications like Restasis® are cyclosporine-based eyedrops that stimulate tear production, and for some people completely solves the issue of chronic dry eyes. Potential treatments that could be used instead include some steroids, but these are usually not recommended for long-term use in the eyes.
When the condition of dry eyes remains problematic, ophthalmologists may advocate for different dry eye treatments. One of these would be placing small plugs in the tear ducts to better lubricate the eyes. Alternately, the ducts may be permanently occluded with surgery. Plugs and more permanent solutions mean tears won’t drain into these ducts and will remain in the eyes to lubricate them. Many people are quite happy with the results of these two options, but others prefer using meds or drops and ointments instead to deal with the problem.