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Treatments for Itchy, Dry, or Tired Eyes

Here's how to cope with common eye health issues. If symptoms persist, consult your doctor.

Tired Eyes
Sore, bloodshot eyes are usually the result of overwork.

Minimize eyestrain during near work by using good lighting and enlarging typeface. Because we tend to blink less when working close up, use natural tear drops before a long session.

Take a break. Rachel Bishop, M.D., an ophthalmologist at the National Eye Institute in Bethesda, MD, follows the 20/20/20 rule to rest eyes and prevent or treat tiredness when doing near work: Every 20 minutes stare about 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

Itchy Eyes
Many confuse scratchy, dry eyes with itchy eyes. An itch is usually due to allergies to pollen, dust mites, or pet dander. Resist the urge to rub, which leads to more inflammation. Instead:

Reduce exposure to dust mites and other allergens by vacuuming, washing bedding regularly, and using mattress and pillow covers.

Apply cool compresses to closed eyes a few times a day.

Use over-the-counter allergy drops (such as Alaway and Zaditor), which block the release of the itch-inducing chemical histamine and its effects.

Dry Eyes
Dry, scratchy, burning eyes are more common in women and may be due to hormonal changes that can be caused by perimenopause.

Check your meds. Dry eyes can be a side effect of some drugs used to treat common conditions such as high blood pressure, pain, and allergies.

Ask your eye doctor about special contacts for dry eyes or switching to glasses more often. Contact lenses can be drying.

Eat well, and consider supplements. Data suggests people who consume more of the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and nuts are less likely to experience dryness. Bishop recommends supplements of fish or flax oil that contain 350 mg of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and 650 mg of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) daily.

Try over-the-counter natural tears (lubricating eye drops), drink plenty of water, and use a humidifier to keep air moist.

If dry eyes persist, discuss lacrimal plugs with your doctor. These safe, drug-free silicone plugs block tears from draining fully so eyes stay moist.

Read More: Healthy Vision: How to Avoid Nearsightedness

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