Got dry eyes? Here's what to do

Published: May 2014

Q. My eyes often feel scratchy or parched. How can I ease the discomfort?

A. Don't rush straight to the prescription eyedrops you may have seen advertised on TV or in magazines. The best first step is to zero in on what’s causing your dry eyes, a condition characterized by inadequate tear production. Common culprits include dry air, smoke, wind, and med­i­cation, including antihistamines and blood pressure drugs. Taking steps to address the cause, such as using a humidifier, could resolve the problem. You might also try an over-the-counter, preservative-free artificial tear product. If those efforts don’t help, see an ophthalmologist or an optometrist. He or she might prescribe cyclosporine (Restasis), an eyedrop approved for treating chronic dry eye (and the subject of the ads mentioned above). An eye exam can confirm that you have the condition.

Read more about treating dry eye and otherwise taking care of your vision

Have a question? Ask our health care experts.  

Editor's Note:

 This article appeared in the May 2014 issue of Consumer Reports on Health.

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