HomeEye HealthDry Eye Syndrome Treatments: Quick Relief Tips

Dry Eye Syndrome Treatments: Quick Relief Tips

Dry eye syndrome treatments are essential for millions globally, significantly affecting daily life and eye health. At Review Health, our guide explores the symptoms, causes, and various treatment options, offering valuable insights and practical recommendations for managing this common condition. Whether you’re looking to alleviate discomfort or prevent further complications, this article provides a thorough overview of effective strategies to manage and treat dry eye syndrome effectively.

Dry Eye Symptoms

When experiencing dry eye syndrome, you may perceive a persistent sensation of foreign matter in your eye, reminiscent of a scratchy, gritty, or sandy feeling. Common symptoms include:

  • Burning or stinging sensations.
  • Increased sensitivity to light.
  • Can dry eyes cause blurry vision in one eye.
  • Discharge of mucus from the eye.
  • Excessive tearing, leading to tears overflowing onto your cheeks.

The occurrence of watery eyes might seem contradictory in dry eye cases. However, it’s a typical manifestation. This phenomenon arises when the meibomian glands fail to produce sufficient oils for the outer layer of the tear film, causing rapid evaporation of the middle, watery layer. Consequently, the lacrimal glands attempt to compensate by generating more watery tears. Unfortunately, these tears cannot adequately coat the eye as the oily layer would, thus failing to address the root cause of the issue.

Dry Eye Symptoms
When experiencing dry eye syndrome, you may perceive a persistent sensation of foreign matter in your eye, reminiscent of a scratchy, gritty, or sandy feeling.

Common Causes of Dry Eyes

Dry eye syndrome arises from various factors, including:

  • Inadequate Tear Production: Insufficient tear production by the eyes.
  • Excessive Tear Evaporation: Rapid evaporation of tears from the eye’s surface.
  • Combination of Both Factors.
Common Causes of Dry Eyes
Numerous elements contribute to an increased likelihood of developing dry eye disease

Numerous elements contribute to an increased likelihood of developing dry eye disease or experiencing worsening symptoms over time.

Risk Factors for Dry Eye Disease:

  • Environmental and Lifestyle Factors: Weather conditions, prolonged screen exposure, contact lens usage, smoking habits, and allergies can elevate the risk of dry eye.
  • Medications: Certain medications, such as those used for depression, allergies, blood pressure, glaucoma, menopause, and pain management, as well as anticholinergics, oral contraceptives, and systemic retinoids, may increase the risk of dry eye.
  • Medical Conditions: Neurological disorders, eye ailments, autoimmune disorders, and endocrine disorders can heighten the risk of dry eye.
  • Surgeries: Procedures like LASIK, cataract surgery, and corneal surgery can also raise the risk of dry eye development.

Consulting with a healthcare provider is advisable if any of these risk factors apply to you. Implementing lifestyle adjustments or medication alterations may help mitigate the risk or alleviate discomfort associated with dry eye syndrome.

Dry Eye Stages

Dry eye disease manifests in four stages, each indicating varying degrees of severity and necessitating specific treatment approaches. Understanding these stages is crucial for effective management of the condition.

  • Mild Dry Eye Symptoms

In the initial stage, patients experience mild symptoms such as occasional burning, itching, and slight blurring of vision. Increased blinking and eye rubbing are common during this phase. An eye examination may reveal conjunctival staining and tear film breakup, signaling the onset of dry eye. Early intervention at this stage is vital to prevent disease progression.

  • Moderate Dry Eye Symptoms

As dry eye progresses to the second stage, inflammation of the eye surface intensifies, leading to worsening symptoms. Grittiness, dryness, and redness become more pronounced. Visual signs in the tear film, such as tear film breakup ranging from two to seven seconds, indicate stage two dry eye. Additional symptoms include watery eyes and light sensitivity.

  • Severe Dry Eye Symptoms

In the third stage, patients experience severe symptoms attributed to increased hyperosmolarity of tears and inflammation of the eye surface. Disruption of natural communication between tear-producing glands and the ocular surface exacerbates the condition. Intensified treatment regimens, lifestyle modifications, and environmental adjustments are necessary during this stage. Cold and heat therapy, specialty contacts, or permanent punctal occlusion may be recommended.

  • Most Severe Symptoms

Untreated dry eye disease can progress to stage four, characterized by the most severe symptoms. Patients endure pronounced discomfort, including stickiness, burning, photophobia, stinging, blurriness, itching, and a persistent sensation of a foreign body in the eyes. Diagnosis involves identifying severe punctate erosions and conjunctival scarring, often observed through corneal staining. A tear film breakup below three seconds indicates stage four dry eye, warranting immediate and comprehensive intervention.

How Is Dry Eye Diagnosed?

To diagnose dry eye, your ophthalmologist initiates with a comprehensive eye examination, focusing on various aspects:

  • Examination of Eyelids and Eye Surface: Your ophthalmologist assesses the condition of your eyelids and the surface of your eyes to identify any abnormalities or signs of dryness.
  • Blink Assessment: They observe your blinking pattern to evaluate its frequency and effectiveness in spreading tears across the eye surface.

In addition to the basic examination, several specialized tests aid in diagnosing dry eye:

  • Tear Quality and Thickness Measurement: Your ophthalmologist may conduct tests to assess the quality and thickness of your tears, providing insights into the overall health of your tear film.
  • Tear Production Rate Assessment: Tests are available to measure the rate at which your eyes produce tears, helping determine if tear production is adequate or insufficient.

By combining these examinations and tests, your ophthalmologist can accurately diagnose dry eye and tailor a suitable treatment plan to alleviate your symptoms and improve eye health.

Tips to Effectively Prevent Dry Eyes

To effectively prevent dry eyes, consider the following tips:

  • Minimize Hair Dryer Use: Whenever possible, avoid using a hair dryer, as the hot air can contribute to dryness.
  • Maintain Optimal Room Temperature: Steer clear of excessively warm environments. During winter, introduce moisture into the air using a humidifier or by placing a pan of water near your heater or radiator.
  • Shield Eyes from Wind: Wear wrap-around glasses when outdoors to protect your eyes from drying wind exposure.
  • Incorporate Omega-3 Fatty Acids into Your Diet: Consult your ophthalmologist about adding omega-3 fatty acids to your diet, known for their potential benefits in relieving dry eye symptoms. These essential fatty acids are naturally present in oily fish like salmon, sardines, tuna, trout, and anchovies, as well as in flaxseeds. Alternatively, omega-3 supplements in pill or tablet form can be considered.
  • Combat Morning Dryness: If you wake up with dry and scratchy eyes, consider using artificial tear ointment or thick eye drops just before bedtime to help maintain moisture throughout the night.

By implementing these preventive measures, you can reduce the likelihood of experiencing dry eye symptoms and promote overall eye health and comfort.

Treatment for Dry Eye

Treatment for dry eye is tailored to address the underlying cause of your symptoms and aims to alleviate discomfort while maintaining eye health.

Eye Massage for Dry Eyes

A 2019 study suggests that massaging your eyelids can stimulate the meibomian glands, responsible for producing an oil that helps retain moisture in your eyes. This promotes a comfortable level of hydration and may improve tear production, aiding in tear retention.

Additionally, eye massage can relax the muscles around your eyes, reducing eyestrain and enhancing blood circulation, contributing to overall eye health.

Eye Massage for Dry Eyes
Massaging your eyelids can stimulate the meibomian glands

Lifestyle Changes.

Adjustments to your lifestyle or environment may help alleviate dry eye symptoms. Avoiding smoke, wind, and excessive air conditioning, using a humidifier to maintain indoor moisture levels, limiting screen time, wearing wraparound sunglasses outdoors, staying hydrated, and ensuring adequate sleep can all contribute to eye comfort.

Tear Duct Plugs

If tears drain too quickly from your eyes, your doctor may recommend punctal plugs to block the tear ducts, keeping tears in the eyes and promoting moisture retention.


In cases where loose lower eyelids cause excessive tear drainage, surgery may be suggested to tighten the eyelids, helping tears stay on the eyes. However, this treatment approach is less common.

Over-the-counter Eye Drops.

For mild dry eye, artificial tears are commonly recommended. These over-the-counter eye drops provide lubrication and moisture to the eyes. Additionally, moisturizing gels and ointments are available for relief.

Over-the-counter Eye Drops.
For mild dry eye, artificial tears are commonly recommended

Prescription Medicines

In more severe cases, prescription eye drops such as cyclosporine (Restasis) or lifitegrast (Xiidra) may be prescribed. These medications help increase tear production and alleviate symptoms of dry eye.

Effective Exercises for People with Dry Eyes

Discover more ways to combat dry eye symptoms with additional exercises and strategies that promote optimal eye health.

Blinking Exercises

Engaging in blinking exercises can significantly improve dry eye symptoms. A recent study conducted in 2021 involved 54 participants experiencing dry eye symptoms. They performed a 10-second cycle of blinking exercises every 20 minutes throughout their waking hours for a duration of 4 weeks.

The blinking exercises in the study comprised three simple steps:

  • Close the eyes normally for 2 seconds.
  • Repeat the closure for an additional 2 seconds.
  • Squeeze the eyelids together tightly for 2 seconds.

Results from the study demonstrated that these blinking exercises effectively modified poor blinking patterns and alleviated dry eye symptoms.

Additionally, individuals may benefit from the following eye exercise:

  • Relax and close the eyes.
  • Hold for a 3-second pause.
  • Open the eyes slightly wider than usual.
  • Pause in the wide-open position momentarily.
  • Close the eyes.

Repeating these steps 10 times, several times throughout the day, can provide relief from dry eye discomfort.

Blinking Exercises
Engaging in blinking exercises can significantly improve dry eye symptoms.

Expand More on Eye Exercises

Another effective strategy for managing dry eye is “blind working,” which involves closing the eyes when visual focus is unnecessary. This method has been shown to reduce eye fatigue and blurred vision compared to standard working practices. However, further research is needed to validate its efficacy in preventing dry eye.

The 20-20-20 rule is another potential strategy to alleviate dryness and eye strain. It suggests that for every 20 minutes of screen time, individuals should shift their focus to an object 20 feet away for a duration of 20 seconds. While this rule promotes natural blinking and may help prevent dryness, its effectiveness specifically for dry eye management requires additional investigation.

Furthermore, individuals can explore mobile apps designed to provide reminders to blink while working on screens, facilitating regular blinking and promoting eye moisture.


To effectively manage dry eye syndrome, Review Health recommends focusing on alleviating symptoms and addressing underlying causes with lifestyle adjustments, over-the-counter products, prescription medications, and in some cases, surgery. It’s also crucial to adopt preventive measures such as making environmental changes and engaging in eye exercises to maintain overall eye health. For those experiencing dry eye syndrome, consulting with a healthcare provider is essential to develop a customized treatment plan that enhances comfort and prevents further complications, ensuring optimal eye health.

Wendy Hall
Wendy Hallhttps://reviewhealth.co.uk/
Wendy Hall, with a master's degree and PhD in Nutritional Sciences, currently holds the position of Professor at the Department of Nutritional Sciences.


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