LASIK St Louis: Treatments for Dry Eyes

Dry eyes is a common condition that occurs when your tears aren’t able to produce adequate lubrication in the form of tears for your eyes. There are many causes for this, but let’s focus on alleviating the symptoms.

Symptoms include:

Stinging, burning or scratchy sensation in the eyes.
Stringy mucus in or around your eyes.
Sensitivity to light.
Redness in the eyes.
A sensation of having something in the eyes.
Difficulty wearing contact lenses.
Difficulty with nighttime driving.
Fluctuating or blurry vision.
Watery eyes.

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Despite the discomfort, there are some easy adjustments you can make to help your dry eye symptoms:

Turn off bedroom fans. Even if your fan is small or is pointed away from you, circulating air can dry your eyes while you sleep. If it’s the sound that you need, use a white noise machine or phone app. If you sleep better with circulating air, use a humidifier with distilled water.

Avoid over-the-counter medications that dry the eyes. Zyrtec, Allegra, Claritin, Sudafed and other cold and allergy medications can dry your eyes. If you struggle with allergies, Zaditor drops twice daily are often a good solution.

Don’t stare at a computer. We blink, on average, 16 times per minute. However, when we focus intently on a book, phone, or computer screen, our blink rate decreases to about four times per minute. This is a common cause of eye strain, and can also cause dry eye. To mitigate this, stay hydrated and remind yourself to blink by picturing your Return key to be the blink key. You can also use artificial tears and follow the 20/20/20 rule: Every 20 minutes , take a 20 second break and look at least 20 feet away into the distance.

Never rub your eyes. This is a tough one for many people. If your eyes itch, there are several things you can do that do not ultimately harm your eyes. Artificial tears are one solution. You can also use clean hands and stretch your surrounding skin around the bones of your eyes. Another option is to place a clean, cool washcloth over your eyes. To avoid infections, do not touch your eyes or eyelids unless you have just washed your hands.

Avoid smoke. Whether you smoke or you’re exposed to second-hand smoke, there is no doubt that smoke is hard on your eyes and can worsen dry eye symptoms.

Reposition your computer screen. By putting your screen below eye level, your eyes will not have to open as wide to see the screen. This may help reduce evaporation of your tears in between blinks.

Other things you can do:

  1. Take Omega- fish oil supplements.
  2. Take preservative-free artificial tears that come with a twist-top vial. (Artificial tears in a bottle should never be used, even if they are labeled “preservative-free.”)
  3. Take Refresh Celluvisc at nighttime. (Available on

If you are suffering from serious irritation from dry eyes, you can also visit Brinton Vision for punctal plugs. These tiny plugs are placed in the tear duct and help your eye to retain tears longer. The process is quick and is usually painless. Some punctal plugs dissolve after about seven days; others are permanent. Either way, they can offer a significant amount of relief for dry eye sufferers.

Other options include Avenova spray (available by prescription), or Restasis or Xiidra drops.


Dr. Jason P. Brinton is an internationally recognized specialist in the field of LASIK and refractive surgery. He is a graduate of Harvard College, earned his medical doctorate from the Harvard Medical School and is board certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology.