Alternative dry eye treatments / Natural eye comfort methods - A State of Sight #120

Beyond artificial tears, medicated drops and ointments, and pills, there are other ways to make the eyes more comfortable from dry eye syndrome. Watch this episode of A State of Sight with Isaac Porter, MD to learn more about these natural treatments.

Welcome to A State of Sight, I’m Isaac Porter and this is your update in ophthalmology and eye care from Raleigh. Today, I would like to explain some alternative treatments for dry eye syndrome because this is a very common problem. Dry eyes can be very irritating and bothersome for our patients.

Beyond using artificial tear drops or medicated drops and ointments, there are several other treatments available to increase comfort in those suffering from dry eyes. One that I think is a great solution, especially for patients with severe dry eyes, is moisture chamber goggles. If you search online you may find these as onion goggles, onion glasses, or motorcycle glasses. These are specialty frames that have foam behind the rim that sits against the skin around the eyes to form a seal.

Moisture chamber eyewear help keep lubrication in the eye and decrease the amount of air flowing around the eyes. This can make the eyes much more comfortable as compared to regular glasses or no glasses. Onion glasses were originally created to avoid eye irritation when cutting onions (burning a candle works very well for this also). Motorcycle glasses work in the same way, by decreasing airflow over the eyes when riding.

Since the onion glasses may not be very attractive, some patients prefer to wear them around the house because they can look a little bit unusual. Others prefer to wear them when they are flying in an airplane to feel better in the very dry cabin air.

Along these same lines, controlling the environment around your eyes can help with dry eye syndrome. It’s winter time in North Carolina, it’s been really cold (when we filmed this episode), and of course running heat dries the air significantly.

By increasing the humidity, whether with a separate humidifier or one connected into the HVAC system in your house or building, those suffering from dry eyes can have some relief. Also, limiting the amount of airflow on your face or around your eyes can help. You could try to minimize the use of fans and keep the air vents in your car directed away from your face.

Beyond environmental control, warm compresses and eyelid scrubs can be very helpful, especially for patients that have blepharitis and poor natural oil production. There are some great products available including reheatable and reusable eyelid packs that contain gel or beads that can be warmed. These compresses give a nice warming effect to the oils in the eyelids, allowing them to flow and move better.

If you have any other questions about dry eye syndrome or other possible treatments please post and we will be happy to answer them. If you are suffering from dry eyes and would like to arrange a consultation to help determine if there are any other options available, please call us at 919-876-4064 or contact us at I hope to see you again soon next time on A State of Sight.