There are a few health issues, eye conditions and chronic illnesses that can result in dry eyes, including autoimmune conditions like like Sjogrens. I live with dry eyes, nose and mouth as a result of an autoimmune condition. Lifestyle factors can also play a role and affect those without chronic health issues, like the use of digital screens, central heating, allergies, air conditioning and dry environments. Dry eyes can be difficult and frustrating to live with, but thankfully there are some products out there to help manage them. Here’s a look at the dry eye treatment I use in my regular routine, all of which I would recommend.
My Dry Eye Treatment Routine
1. Blink Tears Eye Drops
There are various eye drops on the market for tired, gritty, sore, irritated or dry eyes. They vary in terms of specific need targeted, size and price, so it’s always worth shopping around and checking reviews. You may need to try a few things before you find one that works well for you but I’ve found Blink to be fine for me and it’s one of the cheaper options. For some people, prescription drops or recommendations from an eye specialist may need to be sought if OTC options aren’t effective. These work as artificial tears, which is great when your eyes need an instant refresh.
The Blink range of lubricating eye drops include :
- Refreshing – Daily drops to instantly awaken tired eyes
- Intensive – Soothing drops for long lasting relief from the feeling of tired, dry eyes
- Intensive Plus – As above but a little stronger relief
- Contacts – Refreshment for contact lens wearers
I use Intensive because it’s cheaper than Intensive Plus and I still need regular drops with either version. The difference is just that Intensive Plus includes 0.18% more Sodium Hyaluronate (Viscosity Enhancer) : It’s 0.20% in the Intensive drops and 0.38% in the Intensive Plus.
It’s only a 10ml bottle, which is similar to many such drops. It doesn’t seem like much but you can get plenty of applications from the one bottle. The price does add up if you have very dry eyes or Sjogrens and need drops a couple of times each day as I do. That said, it’s well worth it for the relief, comfort and to maintain your vision without the blurring or stinging from dry eyes.
The drops are liquid gel with a reasonable consistency so that they’re easier to drip into your eyes than a thicker gel. I hated the idea of eye drops at first, being rather squeamish around eyes. I pull my eye open with one hand and use the other to add drops, and even after years of practice, I often still blink when trying to do it. It takes time and patience, and I didn’t think I would ever say this, but I couldn’t live without eye drops. They’re the one thing that provides actual relief when you need it, instantly.
2. Therapearl Eye Mask / Eye Doctor Eye Compress
Warm therapy can help alleviate stinging symptoms, blocked tear ducks, blepharitis and other eye complaints. You can use these eye masks hot or cold, so I keep a couple in the freezer to take out as needed. I use them frozen for migraines, and warm for when I want a dry eye compress.
The Therapearl masks are what I’ve used for a number of years. Nothing lasts forever but unfortunately regular use of these often sees the plastic edging develop small holes, so you need to “keep an eye”, so to speak, on their condition. That said, I’ve found them to be fantastic, very convenient and comfortable enough to use.
The Eye Doctor is part of The Body Doctor brand that also sells face masks during the Covid pandemic. Their antibacterial eye mask compress is a new one to me that I only tried in early 2022, buying directly from their website after a previously positive experience shopping there.
I found the idea of a different material to the plastic Therapearl types appealing, along with the larger size to cover more of the sinus area, where I struggle with inflammation.
Having had time to try the new TED eye mask, I can safely say it is gorgeously made, much more comfortable and silky soft. The build quality is better too, so I’d like to think it’ll last better through use. It feels a bit like a bead-filled wheat bag style affair with no divide between the eyes, so you can adjust how much you get at which parts of your eye, forehead, sinus area etc. It has a soft elastic strap that you can adjust with velcro so you can get it just the right size for you.
The only downside is that because of it being made from thicker, silky material rather than plastic, it doesn’t get as cold in the freezer. I’ll still use Therapearl when I need icy cold for eye pain with migraines. I’m now using The Eye Doctor from the freezer when I just want a calming cool, and then it’ll get a lot of use in the microwave for dry eyes.
3. Eye Doctor Eye Cleanser – Liquid & Wipes
One of the many things that makes me so incredibly attractive is the gunk in my eyelashes. It’s not sleep, it’s build up from dry eyes and blocked ducts, and it sticks my eyelashes together. Damp tissue doesn’t work well and I spent a few years doing just that, watching as my eyelashes were pulled out or even snapped in half. I now use a specific eyelid cleaner and it works well to get rid of said gunk, as well as leaving my eyes feeling more comfortable, hygienic and refreshed.
The Eye Doctor Lid Cleaner is for “daily eyelid hygiene”, though you can use it as often or infrequently as you need. It includes organ oil, coconut oil and micellar water to clean and care for sensitive eyelids and lashes. It’s alcohol-free and fragrance-free, suitable for sensitive peepers and those with eye conditions, but speak to your eye specialist if you’re unsure.
The Eye Doctor explains that this is suitable for different conditions, including the likes of dry eye, MGD and blepharitis.
To use – You just pop a little of the liquid onto a cotton pad then gently wipe it over your eye lids and lashes. Simples. What I also love is that they do individually packaged wipes in a box of 20; these are great for convenience if you’re out of the home and want to take a few with you. The wipes, both regular and biodegradable, are surprisingly large and soft, making cleaning and soothing sore peepers and eyelashes so much more comfortable. I therefore tend to use the liquid at home but I’ve also got a box of the wipes for back-up if I need them for longer days out or hospital holidays.
The specialised formula removes “dirt, debris and make-up form the eyelids and the base of the lashes without irritation”. The ingredients also help to hydrate, condition, cool and soothe the skin.
The brand is proud of being recommended by various patients and professionals. For instance, the TV doctor Dr Hilary Jones, and Dr Colin Parsloe, an Opthalmology specialist, both recommend the Eye Doctor products.
I’m always one for a bargain so these seemed a bit pricey to me at first, yet similar products actually seem more expensive. This is still the most effective, gentle and best-priced cleanser for dry eyes, sore eyes, eye gunk, and so on that I’ve come across. This liquid and wipes have turned out to be a great investment over the last couple of years, I just wish I’d taken the plunge and tried them sooner.
4. Simple Brightening Eye Gel
The Simple Protect ‘N’ Glow Brightening Eye Gel comes in a 25ml soft tube, designed to give your eye area a boost of cooling hydration. The gel formula is light, non-greasy and fast-absorbing, giving you an instant refresh for tired, irritated eyes. The brand also claims this gel can help “visibly reduce dark circles and provides antioxidant benefits”.
The skin-loving formula includes 5% of hydrating actives, 3% antioxidants (including alfafa), the vitamins B3 + C + E, ginger, and other minerals. It’s designed to be kind to skin and suitable for all skin types. It’s dermatologically and ophthalmologically tested for safety and efficiency. In keeping with the crux of the brand, it contains no harsh chemicals, artificial perfumes, colours or alcohol. It’s also vegan and PETA certified as being cruelty-free, so you can rest assured it wasn’t tested on animals.
To Use – This can be used daily, just apply a small amount with clean fingers around your eye area. It can also be applied to the eyelids. You might want to use it as a brightening gel to kickstart your morning, a hydrating primer before make-up, or throughout the day to soothe uncomfortable eyes.
This isn’t a direct dry eye treatment per se, in that it doesn’t go in the eyes or create tears like drops do. It just makes your external eye area more comfortable, hydrated and refreshed. You needn’t have a dry eye condition to use and benefit from this. They describe it as great for screen-stressed eyes, which probably applies to many of us these days.
This is available at various outlets but it’s worth checking for offers. For instance, you might have a Boots Advantage card and a discount code to get it at a good price, but when I last purchased this I found it cheaper on Amazon.
Dry Eye Treatment Regimes : Making It Manageable
Dry eye treatment products aren’t usually cheap, but the above that I use are what I’ve found to be better priced and reasonable value for money when considering their benefits. Dry eye conditions can be pretty miserable, but if you can find a routine with products to help, the symptoms can hopefully be better managed.
Please note that the above are just over the counter products. Please speak to your doctor or eye specialist if you have any questions or if you suddenly develop a dry eye condition. For some people and certain conditions, prescription options may be required.