Aging Desert Rat finds eventual relief without medication
I started developing dry eye in my late 40s (now in my 70s). I did not have any eye surgeries or injuries, just part of my aging process.
It gradually got worse over time and became severe. I tried all kinds of drops, ointments, eyelid cleansers, compresses, eye pads, and nighttime eye coverings. They were a big hassle and didn’t do much good. I did not try any medications – I preferred those as a last resort and thankfully didn’t need to go there.
I live and recreate in the desert and travel every month so my eyes are subjected to lots of environmental stressors. Here is what worked for me:
1. Punctal Plugs. They were the answer for me. They quickly and dramatically improved by symptoms by 90%. No muss, no fuss, one-time expense. I’ve had the same pair for ten years with zero problems.
2. Moisture Retention Eyewear. An absolute must for recreating in the desert with wind, dust, pollen, low humidity. Indoor ones are also helpful for demanding environments like airplanes and hours at the computer; they work great for those few occasions where I need them. Thank you, Dry Eye Company.
3. Vision correcting contacts. My distance vision is still excellent and I hate messing around with reading glasses. Accuvue Moist Dailies contacts have been fantastic. I started out with monovision which I did for several years. The eye with the contact always felt exactly the same as the one without so I was good test subject to see if they were causing problems. When Accuvue came out with Multifocal Moist Dailies I switched over to those to tweak my middle-distance vision. I wear them 16 hours a day with no problems.
4. Every morning I clean my eyes with OCuSOFT HypoChlor or foaming cleanser. This is mostly a precaution since I no longer get the crusting I used to get before the punctal plugs and occasional use of eyewear. It’s good way to remove loose lashes and other normal debris before putting in my contacts.
5. Eye Drops. I occasionally use eye drops if demanding environments start to make my eyes feel slightly irritated. If those don’t last then I’ll switch over to the eyewear. The brand of drops which have worked best for me are BLINK.
6. Avoid Irritation. Protect your eyes from any air current causing irritation. Examples: If car heaters or AC start causing eye irritation, switch the air flow from vents over to floor only if you can. If there is a vent in your house regularly blowing air past your face considers ways to deflect the air flow. Hats with visors, hoods, eyewear, etc., are all devices than can shield your eyes where you either need the airflow or can’t control it. Remember to blink regularly.
7. Protect your eyes at the first sign of irritation. Find what works for you and get on it right away. The more irritated your eyes get, the harder it is to calm them down.
The Savage Desert