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Can You Cure Dry Eyes Permanently? | Ways to Prevent & Help

To “cure” dry eyes, you need to eliminate the underlying cause of your dry eyes. Sometimes, this is fairly easy and may even occur on its own. In some cases, dry eyes can be caused by more serious eye health issues that may not be curable. 

As a general rule, talk to an eye doctor if you have dry eyes for more than a few days or if your symptoms seem serious. They can guide you on the most effective way to treat the issue, whether a permanent cure is possible or not.

What Options Can Help With Dry Eyes?

There are a number of options that can potentially help with dry eyes, depending on the cause. These include the following:

Lifestyle Changes

In many cases, dry eye is caused primarily by a person’s environment. Certain conditions, like smoke, wind, and air conditioning, can dry out your eyes. Likewise, areas that simply don’t have much moisture in the air or where there is a significant amount of particulates in the air, like when an area is dusty, can also dry out the eyes.

Avoid conditions that may be drying to the eyes, and take known steps to improve eye moisture, such as drinking more water and making sure to get enough sleep. These practices can improve overall eye health and reduce or eliminate dry eye, assuming your eyes aren’t being dried out by an underlying medical condition.

Over-the-Counter Eye Drops

When a case isn’t especially severe, dry eyes can often be effectively treated with the use of over-the-counter artificial tears. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully. These tears help to wet eyes much like real tears, and they can often resolve or substantially help with dry eyes.

Prescription Medication

A step up from OTC options, some medications like cyclosporine and lifitegrast can prompt eyes to make more tears and help to compensate for dryness. This is generally only done for serious cases of dry eye, as prescription medications inherently carry more risks. However, this is often a good option for people who aren’t getting needed relief from more basic treatments. 

Tear Duct Plugs

Tear ducts can sometimes be plugged with special plugs called punctal plugs in order to slow down how fast tears drain from the eye. By retaining more tears, the eye is then kept more wet, which can help improve or cure issues with dry eyes.

Surgery

Rarely, dry eyes may be resolved with surgery. This is generally done because a person’s eyelids are too loose. This causes tears to drain from the eye faster than usual, which then dries out the eyes. By performing surgery on the eyelids to correct this issue, the eyelids can better retain tears, and this resolves the issues with dry eyes.

Is a Permanent Cure Possible?

It depends on the cause. Some of these issues that lead to dry eyes may be chronic and relatively serious, while others can be quite mild and may even resolve on their own after a few days. There’s no single “miracle cure” that guarantees you will never have to deal with dry eyes again, especially if you have a chronic condition causing your dry eyes that may not itself be curable. 

It’s usually possible to at least treat your eyes, so dry eye is less of an issue for you. Discussed more in the next section, you should talk to a medical professional if you routinely deal with dry eye symptoms that impact your quality of life or ability to see.

When to Seek Help From a Medical Professional

Not all conditions that cause dry eye can be solved at home. Moreover, it’s important to find out why your eyes are dry if you don’t know the cause. This is something you will often need help from an eye professional to find out. 

You should never inspect your own eye in a way that requires touching your eye or doing more than looking at it in a mirror while shining a light on it. The eye is a highly sensitive organ that can be easily damaged if not examined with expert precision. 

A good rule is to seek help from a medical professional if you have had a dry eye or eyes for multiple days, if the affected area seriously hurts or otherwise seems unusually bad, or if you are also experiencing other eye (and potentially any other) health symptoms, such as changes to your vision. You should seek help immediately if things seem to be worsening. 

Even if your issues don’t seem serious and haven’t been occurring for very long, it’s still a good idea to see an eye professional. Diagnosing dry eyes and recommending a treatment plan can often be done as part of a normal comprehensive eye exam. This can ensure that you’re treating your dry eyes in a safe, effective, and evidence-based manner.


References

Dry Eye. American Optometric Association.

Dry Eye. (April 2022). National Eye Institute.

Punctal Occlusion for Dry Eye Syndrome. (July 2017). Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Advances in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Dry Eye. (September 2020). Progress in Retinal and Eye Research.

A Review on Dry Eye Disease Treatment: Recent Progress, Diagnostics, and Future Perspectives. (March 2023). Pharmaceutics.
The Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Dry Eye Disease. (January 2015). Deutsches Ärzteblatt International.

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