If you're suffering with dry eyes, your eye doctor will begin with an eye exam. He or she will look at your eyelids and the surface of the eye. They will also check how you blink.
There are many different tests that help diagnose dry eyes. Your eye doctor may do a test that measures the quality or the thickness of your tears. He or she may also measure how quickly you produce tears.
Your eye doctor might tell you to use artificial tears. These are eye drops that are like your own tears. You can use artificial tears as often as you need to. You can buy artificial tears without a prescription. There are many brands. Try a few until you find a brand that works best for you.
If you use artificial tears more than six times a day or are allergic to preservatives, you should use preservative-free tears. This is because if the tears with preservatives are used a lot, these chemicals may start to irritate your eyes.
Your eye doctor may suggest blocking your tear ducts. This makes your natural tears stay in your eyes longer. Tiny silicone or gel plugs (called punctal plugs) may be inserted in your tear ducts. These plugs can be removed later as needed. Your eye doctor could also recommend surgery that permanently closes your tear ducts.
Your eye doctor might have you use a special eyedrop medication. This helps your eyes make more of their own tears.
If your eyes are irritated, your eye doctor can treat those problems. They may recommend: