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How to treat dry eyes

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POSTED: April 5, 2007 5:15 a.m.
Depending on the cause of dry eyes, the condition may not be cured, but the associated tearing, scratchiness and burning can be managed.
Over-the-counter lubricating eye drops commonly referred to as artificial tears, may alleviate the dry and scratchy feeling. Artificial tears help to add more moisture and lubrication to the surface of your eyes.
Certain prescription medications may also help with dry eyes. Restasis eye drops (cyclosporine A 0.5 percent) increases your natural ability to produce tears which may be reduced due to inflammation caused by chronic dry eye.
Different surgies may help decrease symptoms. Near the inner corner of each eyelid are small openings, called puncta, that are the beginning of the normal tear drainage system. Punctal occlusion helps by decreasing the normal drainage of tears off the eye and down the drain. Just like a stopper that you put in the drain of a sink, these plugs keep the tears from flowing down the tear drainage system. Therefore, your eyes stay more moist and comfortable.
Certain nutritional supplements also help with dry eyes. Studies have found that supplements containing certain essential fatty acids (linoleic and gamma-linoleic) can decrease dry eye symptoms.
Studies have also shown foods containing omega-3- fatty acids (such as salmon) reduce chances of developing dry eyes.
As you can see, patience and persistence on the part of the eye doctor and the patient are essential for the diagnosis and management of dry eyes. By using an individualized approach to dry eye therapy, sufferers of dry eye can most often experience considerable improvement.

Rowe and Pittman work for Professional Eye Care. For more information, call 368-2020.
 

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