Do Humidifiers Help with Dry Eye? The Experts Weigh In

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If you struggle with dry eyes then you know how frustrating they can be. Eyes that constantly feel irritated and gritty can cause headaches and eye redness. This can lead you to look for relief wherever you can find it, including using a humidifier to relieve your symptoms.

Will a humidifier help with dry eyes at night

While humidifiers can help your dry eyes some, they aren’t a cure for the condition. For the best results, artificial tears and other topical treatments are your best bet. It’s important to get an actual diagnosis for dry eye from your eye doctor since its symptoms are common with other eye problems. They can perform tests to determine which part of the eye is causing it and provide you with the treatment that you need.

Do Humidifiers Help with Dry Eye?

It is possible that humidifiers help with dry eye. According to one 2017 study, participants experienced temporary, although subjective, improvements when a humidifier was used. Unfortunately, this was a small study and participants did not see a complete reversal of their symptoms. The study was also limited to the workplace. 

While using a humidifier may provide modest benefits in an office setting, it still doesn’t tell us much about its benefits in the home. You can experience dry eye for a variety of reasons including digital eye strain. However, a humidifier on your desk won’t cover all your bases if you also experience dryness at home.

Click here to read our guide on digital eye strain and how to avoid it!

Treatments for Dry Eye

One of the best treatments for dry eye is artificial tears. These over-the-counter (OTC) eye drops work by clearing allergens and irritants while providing moisture to soothe irritation. It can take some time to find the best eye drops for your particular case. Your Baptist Eye surgeon will be able to recommend the best brand for your symptoms. 

Another option would be decongestant eye drops. They include antihistamine as an ingredient to remove allergy-related itchiness and irritation. It’s important to know that you should only use these types of drops for two or three days since continued use can actually worsen your symptoms. Make sure to discuss your options with your doctor at Baptist Eye Surgeons.

Keep in mind that symptoms associated with dry eye are associated with other eye problems. This includes:

  • Itching
  • Stinging
  • Redness
  • Burning

This is why it’s so important to have your dry eyes diagnosed by one of our eye doctors. They will be able to tell if it’s actually a case of dry eye syndrome or not, as well as provide a treatment plan. This ensures that you get the proper treatment for the eye problem that you actually have.

To read our blog on the difference between allergies and dry eye syndrome as well as treatment, click here!

Diagnosing Dry Eye Syndrome

What causes dry eyes

It’s important to be diagnosed with dry eye syndrome so that you can receive proper treatment. In fact, the part of your eye that’s causing the problem can actually affect your treatment.

Dry eye syndrome affects the protective tear film that covers your eyes. It’s comprised of a:

  • Bottom mucous layer that covers the cornea
  • Primarily saltwater layer in the middle
  • Top lipid layer that smooths the surface of your eye and preserves moisture

When working properly, these three layers lubricate, disinfect, and clean your eyes. Unfortunately, you can experience dry eye symptoms if only one of them isn’t working properly. Our ophthalmologists can determine which layer is creating an imbalance and provide the best treatment.

There are a number of tests your doctor can perform to determine the cause of your dry eyes. This can include:

  • Using eye drops with a special dye in them. This lets them see where the tears evaporate to find out which layer isn’t being lubricated properly.
  • Placing blotting paper below your lower eyelids to measure your tear production.
  • Using a magnifying glass to examine your glands’ oil production. This helps them see which glands may be blocked or underproducing oil, which can lead to dryness.

Once the cause has been identified, your eye doctor can develop a treatment plan. This may only be OTC artificial tears, ointments, or gels for mild-to-moderate cases. However, prescription eye drops may be recommended if your case is more severe.

Click here to learn more about diagnosing dry eyes from our blog!

Tips for Reducing Your Dry Eye Symptoms

Dry eye syndrome isn’t a temporary condition like seasonal allergies. It’s a disease that requires constant management to avoid symptoms. Fortunately, there are steps you can take in your daily life to reduce your symptoms and see comfortably.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, you can:

  • Make changes to your environment
  • Protect your eyes from the wind
  • Avoid tobacco smoke
  • Rest your eyes and blink more often

Make changes to your environment to help reduce irritation to your eyes. This can include making sure you have a clean home air filter and, as we mentioned at the beginning, using a humidifier. You can also protect your eyes from the wind by wearing wraparound sunglasses. You should also minimize your exposure to hair dryers.

Avoid tobacco smoke to reduce your dry eye symptoms since it can irritate your eyes. Tobacco smoke can actually contribute to developing dry eyes in the first place, so it’s best to never start smoking. Resting your eyes and blinking more often is hard to do when looking at digital screens all day. Take regular breaks and blink so your eyes can rest and moisturize. 

Are you struggling with dry eye symptoms? Schedule your appointment today and get the relief that you need!

It is possible that humidifiers may help with your dry eye symptoms. However, they won’t address the main cause like artificial tears and other topical treatments will. For the best results, get an exam from your eye doctor at Baptist Eye Surgeons. They will be able to identify the root cause of your dry eyes and provide you with the best form of treatment. You can also avoid triggers that can cause your dry eyes to act up.

Baptist Eye Surgeons is an ophthalmological practice in Knoxville, TN, and Morristown, TN. Give us a call at 865-579-3920 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

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