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What is the Best Way to Treat Severe Dry Eyes?

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  • Written By: Autumn Rivers
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 05 November 2016
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While most people have experienced dry eyes at one point, some people constantly suffer from severe dry eyes. Despite the fact that chronic dry eye is usually a lifelong condition, it can be treated to lessen the discomfort it often brings, with the best treatment usually being a combination of methods. One of the most popular types of treatment for severe dry eyes includes keeping them lubricated at all times, typically through the use of artificial tears, lubricating gel, or medicine that helps the eyes make its own tears. Plugging the tear duct drainage areas so that the moisture does not disappear from the eyes too quickly can be done through punctal plugs. Additionally, there are ways to supplement the diet with substances that help keep dry eye at bay, including increased water intake and the addition of fatty acids in the diet.

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Some people turn to artificial tear drops to get rid of the redness that severe dry eyes usually bring, but products that just aim to get rid of the redness usually do not work well since they are only treating a symptom, not the underlying cause. Instead, artificial tears that are meant to lubricate the eye and reduce the irritating, scratchy feeling are usually recommended. There is even gel on the market, which tends to stay in the eye longer than regular artificial tears. A similar product that might help includes drops that contain cyclosporine in a base of castor oil. This product, which usually requires a prescription, can help the eyes produce more tears so that artificial products are not needed.

Another type of treatment for severe dry eyes is the addition of punctal plugs, which block the tear drainage ducts so that tears do not leave the eyes too quickly. These can be either permanent or temporary, and are usually inserted by an eye doctor. They cannot usually be felt while in the eye, which means that they can be left in place permanently, hopefully resulting in eyes that retain their natural moisture. If punctal plugs do not help the situation, the ducts may need to be closed through surgery instead.

One of the easiest treatments to try out for severe dry eyes is adding certain nutrients to the body to increase tear production. Increasing water intake is usually the first method to try, as this can help the body retain moisture in general. There are also supplements available that contain essential fatty acids or flaxseed oil. Of course, just consuming more sardines, herring, salmon, and cod may result in the same effect, which is the addition of more moisture to the eyes.

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