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How can I Relieve Dry Eyes?

Tricia Christensen
Updated Feb 01, 2024
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Dry eyes can be a temporary condition, while some people suffer from chronic dry eyes. Others may find they have dry eyes after taking certain medications that also cause dry mouth. In many cases, relief is in sight through over-the-counter or prescription drops, which help to either make up for the lack of eye lubrication or stimulate tear production.

Over the counter drops often relieve dry eyes by replacing tears. One can see products like artificial tears, or products made by Visine, or Murine, that specifically help to keep the eyes moister. Most optometrists and ophthalmologists recommend using products that don’t contain a great deal of preservatives. Drops that help reduce redness in the eyes may actually cause dry eyes. Instead look for simple saline drops to replace one’s own tears.

Another way of addressing dry eyes is to use prescription drops like Restasis® that help to produce tears. Restasis cannot be used with medications that contain steroids, like those which may be used to treat seasonal allergies. It also does not work for those with tear duct plugs. However, clinical studies do show it is quite effective for those with chronic dry eyes.

In addition to drops for the eyes, one may also help minimize dry eyes by reducing certain risk factors. For example smokers, people who use the computer for long periods of time, and people who don’t drink enough water may have more trouble with dry eyes. Those who must work in arid or windy conditions also benefit from covering the eyes to reduce irritation. Many allergy medicines and cold medicines may also cause the eyes to be drier; this is particularly the case with medications like pseudoephedrine and benadryl.

Taking breaks from the computer, ceasing smoking, and drinking adequate fluids may all help maintain better eye moisture. These are good ideas not just for the person who suffers from dry eyes, but also for anyone. People should aim for drinking six to eight glasses of fluids a day, and should remember to take breaks from the computer screen every 20 minutes or so. Working at the computer tends to cut down on blink response, when means one isn’t working to produce tears.

Should you continue to suffer from dry eyes not caused by medication, you should see your physician. While many people suffer from chronic dry eyes with no other medical symptoms, dry eyes can also be a symptom of other conditions. Some autoimmune diseases like scleroderma begin with chronic dry eyes.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By SalmonRiver — On May 25, 2011

@sinefey- I don’t know about the medical reasons, but I think I blink less when I’m on the computer because I play too many computer games! Don’t want to miss something or lose a life, right?

I’d be willing to bet some of us stay up too late finishing things online and get the dry red eyes as a result. Maybe I will ask my optometrist what he thinks next time I go in.

By trekker — On May 22, 2011

I find it a little ironic that my search for information on dry eyes may actually be contributing to the problem! I spend a lot of time on the computer, so it is quite helpful to know how to combat dry eyes and still get my work done. OK, so it’s not all work, but the relief is still needed!

Drinking the recommended amount of water is a good way to remember to take a break from staring at the screen. Getting up every 20 minutes or so probably has other benefits, too. I think I will try some saline drops in addition next time I need some dry eye relief.

By sinefey — On Jan 10, 2010

I wonder why staring at the computer causes us to blink less often? Unless you're playing video games the majority of what we stare at on the monitor is static, much more so than watching TV.

The saline drops work great, even the generic brands are just fine for me. Less expensive and do the job just fine.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
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