Q:

How do you treat dry eyes?

A:

Quick Answer

Nutritional supplements, including fish oil or other sources of omega-3 fatty acids, may provide relief for some individuals with dry eyes. Others may require the use of over-the-counter or prescription eye drops or the blocking of the tear exit ducts to deal with this issue.

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Full Answer

Omega-3 and omega-6 supplements both help to reduce dry eyes. Some patients have difficulty tolerating supplements containing fish oil, but odorless supplements or those from a vegetable source are other options. Adding foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, including salmon, walnuts and palm oil, to the diet also helps to reduce dry eyes.

Over-the-counter eye drops help to add moisture to provide temporary relief of the condition. These drops serve as artificial tears to increase the moisture on the surface of the eye. As of 2014, the only eye drops shown to improve tear flow is Restasis, which is only available by prescription.

If the ducts responsible for draining excess tears from the eyes are overactive, a doctor sometimes inserts a temporary block into the opening of the duct. The plug dissolves over time. If it provides relief, the patient receives permanent plugs in the duct. Cautery offers a similar solution by applying heat to create scar tissue to close the drain ducts.

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