First Aid for Dry Eyes

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Dry eyes refer to a condition in which the tears are not sufficient to provide moisture to the eyes. There are many reasons that may make tears inadequate. For example, a person with dry eyes may not produce sufficient tears or may produce tears that are not of good quality.

Dry eyes are uncomfortable and can be a nuisance. People with dry eyes may feel a stinging or burning sensation in their eyes. Dry eyes are common while traveling in an airplane, staying in an air conditioned room, looking at the computer screen or when you are riding a bike.

Treatment options are dry eyes often aim at reducing discomfort. Treatment measures often include eye drops and lifestyle changes. For severe cases, surgery may be required.

Signs and Symptoms for Dry Eyes

Signs and symptoms of dry eyes include:

  • Stringy mucus around the eyes or in them
  • Stinging, scratching or burning sensation of the eyes
  • Eye fatigue
  • Increased irritation of the eyes to wind, cold air or smoke
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Redness of the eyes
  • Feeling of having something in your ryes
  • Difficulty or discomfort while wearing contact lenses
  • Excessive tearing
  • Blurred vision

Watch YouTube video about Eye care – How to treat the dry eye syndrome

When to seek medical attention when experiencing drying of eyes

See a health care provider if you symptoms such as eye redness, eye fatigue, painful eyes, irritated eyes etc. persist. Your doctor may take steps to find out the underlying cause of the condition and recommend appropriate treatment or refer you to a specialist.

Treatment for dry eyes

For many people who suffer from mild or occasional episodes of dry eyes, treatment options such as over-the-counter eye drops or artificial tears along with other home treatment options may be sufficient to treat symptoms.

Try your best to avoid the sage of eye drops if you have eye redness. If symptoms are persistent or severe, treatment options often depend on the case of the problem. Other treatment measures involve inhibiting tears from draining away quickly from the eyes and improving tear quality.


You can select from the following artificial tears and eye drops:

  • Preservative or non-preservative eye drops. Preservatives increase the shelf life of a particular product. However, eye drops with preservatives should be used for about four times per day as repeated use may result in eye irritation. If you choose to se eye drops several times a day, then non-preservative types may be ideal for you.
  • Eye ointments. Lubricating eye ointments are also present and they offer longer lasting relief from symptoms of dry eyes. However, ointments tend to be thick, thus causing clouded vision. Therefore, ointments are recommended to be used before bedtime only. Eye drops are a better choice as they can be used any time of the day and they do not interfere with your vision.

Wash your eyes to reduce inflammation

For people with conditions that may cause eyelid inflammation, frequent washing may be helpful. The following steps are simple and do not require any professional help or first aid training to be performed at home:

  • Apply damp washcloth to the eyes. Soak a clean wash cloth in warm water, wring the washcloth and place it over your eyes for about five minutes. Wet the washcloth again in warm water after the cloth cools. Rub the cloth gently over your eyelids.
  • Wash your eyelids with a mild soap. You can use baby soap or any other soap recommended by your health car provider. Use your clean fingertips covered in soap and massage over closed eyes close to the base of the eyelashes. Rinse the mild soap completely.

This should be done daily even if symptoms disappear as discontinuation of washing may result in dry eyes again.

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