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Dry eyes

Many people get dry eyes. It's not usually serious and there are things you can do to help.

You may have dry eyes if your eyes are:

You may be more likely to get dry eyes if:

Do

  • keep your eyes clean

  • take breaks to rest your eyes when using a computer screen

  • make sure your computer screen is at eye level so you do not strain your eyes

  • use a humidifier to stop the air getting dry

  • get plenty of sleep to rest your eyes

  • if you wear contact lenses, take them out and wear glasses to rest your eyes

Don't

  • do not smoke or drink too much alcohol

  • do not spend too long in smoky, dry or dusty places

  • do not spend too long in air conditioned or heated rooms

  • do not stop taking a prescribed medicine without getting medical advice first – even if you think it's causing your symptoms

How to keep your eyes clean
  1. Soak a flannel in warm (not hot) water and gently press it on the area around your eyes. This makes the oil produced by the glands around your eyes more runny.
  2. Gently massage your eyelids with your finger or a cotton bud. This pushes the oils out of the glands.
  3. Clean your eyelids by soaking cotton wool in warm (not hot) water and gently wipe away any excess oil, crusts, bacteria, dust or grime that might have built up.

A pharmacist may be able to tell you:

  • what you can do to treat it yourself – such as cleaning and protecting your eyes
  • if you can buy anything to help – such as eye drops, gels, ointments or allergy medicines
  • if you need to see an optician or GP