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There is no cure for dry eye, but there are a number of treatments available – e.g. artificial lubricants, warm compresses, omega-3 supplements, maintaining lid hygiene and medications. It may take a bit of experimentation to find the right option for you.
At times your condition will improve and you may be tempted to discontinue treatment. However, dry eye is a chronic condition and it’s important to continue treatment, unless your doctor tells you otherwise.
Yes, keep using lubrication as directed by your doctor. However, make sure that you only use a product recommended by your doctor, as some eye preparations can make dry eye worse.
Mask-associated dry eye (MADE) has become common during the COVID-19 pandemic. When air vents from the top of your mask and across the surface of your eyes, it causes your tear fluid to evaporate more quickly, causing (or worsening) dry eye.
A properly fitted mask forces air to vent downwards, away from your eyes. Wearing a mask with nose wire that can be shaped to fit firmly across the bridge of your nose, or taping down the top of your mask with skin-friendly tape, can help. Additionally, try to blink more often while you wear your mask, as this distributes tear fluid across your eye.
Using dry eye treatments, such as lubricating eye drops (artificial tears), warm compresses or heated eye masks, can also help you manage MADE. If your symptoms persist or are severe, consult your optometrist, who can prescribe medications to help.
If wearing contact lenses has become uncomfortable due to MADE, consult your optometrist for alternative contact lens options.
Clayton. Dry eye. N Engl J Med. 2018 Jun 7;378(23):2212-2223. doi: 10.1056/NEJMra1407936.
The information on this page is general in nature. All medical and surgical procedures have potential benefits and risks. Consult your ophthalmologist for specific medical advice.
Date last reviewed: 2023-03-03 | Date for next review: 2025-03-03