Tips and Resources for Dry Eye Disease

Tips for preventing or reducing dry eye disease symptoms

These tips will help you take good care of your eyes and prevent or minimise the symptoms of DED.

Keep your eyes clean with good eyelid hygiene:1a

Gently clean your eyelids following the steps below:

  • Clean twice a day at first, then once a day after your symptoms improve
  • Apply a warm compress to each closed eyelid for 5–10 minutes. Massage closed eyelids in a circular motion across the length of each lid
  • Use a damp cloth or cotton wool pad to wipe along the margins of the eyelids

Be aware of your environment:

  • Use a humidifier to stop the air in your home or office from becoming too dry1a,2a
  • Limit the time you spend in air-conditioned environments1a
  • Protect your eyes from exposure to sunlight by wearing sunglasses3a,b

Avoid smoke:1a,2a,4a

  • Quit smoking and/or avoid exposure to second-hand smoke to reduce eye irritation and dryness

Diet and supplements:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids may improve tear secretion, reduce the rate of tear evaporation and improve DED symptoms5a,b
    • Foods high in omega-3 include fatty fish like salmon and sardines, as well as flaxseed oil and soybean oil6a
  • Vitamin D supplementation promotes tear secretion, improves tear-film stability and reduces eye inflammation7a,b
    • Sunlight is a good source of vitamin D.8a Food sources of vitamin D include fatty fish like salmon and tuna, mushrooms, egg yolk and beef liver.8b Some products, like milk, breakfast cereals and orange juice, may also be fortified with vitamin D8b
  • Vitamin A is important for maintaining eye health and improves the quality of tears in patients with dry eyes9a,b
    • Foods high in vitamin A include orange and yellow vegetables, leafy greens, fish, eggs and dairy products.10a Some foods, like cereal, margarine and milk, may also be fortified with vitamin A10a

Give your eyes a break:

  • Try to decrease your screentime where possible4a
  • Avoid long periods of driving, reading or screen use without a break2a
  • If you use contact lenses, try wearing them for shorter periods of time, especially if they irritate your eyes1a
  • When working at a screen, follow the 20-20-20 rule11a

Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet (6 metres) away from you.11a

Resources for people with dry eye disease

Online resources:

Bye-bye Dry Eyes Facebook page

Ophthalmologists South Africa

Dry eye assessment tools and questionnaires:

Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI)

Dry Eye Questionnaire 5 (DEQ-5)

Dry Eye Disease

Do I Have Dry Eye Disease?

Treating and Managing Dry Eye Disease

Types of Dry Eye Disease

Products for Dry Eye Disease: Visu

Products for Dry Eye Disease: Xailin

Tips and Resources for Dry Eye Disease

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Dry Eye Disease

Treating and Managing Dry Eye Disease

Products for Dry Eye Disease: Visu

Tips and Resources for Dry Eye Disease

Do I Have Dry Eye Disease?

Types of Dry Eye Disease

Products for Dry Eye Disease: Xailin

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