You have many options for treating your dry eye symptoms but that does not mean that they will all work for you. And if something does not work there is no reason to keep it up. However, it is not always easy to know when to throw the (probably very dry) towel: sometimes it can take a while to figure out if a particular treatment method actually helps – and sometimes you know immediately that it has no value  As SELF has already stated these treatment options include lifestyle changes as well as over-the-counter artificial tears, gels, and ointments as well as prescription medications, eye-ins, appliances, and surgeries if you have tried your dry eye symptoms with one or more of these methods Without good luck, there are a few reasons why you should consult with your doctor about switching to something else.
. 1 They have applied it consistently and still see no improvement.
It's just an unfortunate fact that some dry-eye treatments take a while to make any noticeable improvements. Dr. med. Lora Glass, Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology and Director of Medical Student Education in Ophthalmology at Columbia University Medical Center, tells SELF.
"Some people have immediate symptom relief [with over-the-counter options]," she says. "But I think for many people who have a more chronic or daily dry eye, you need to give the regime a few days or weeks to work." When you talk about prescription drugs, it can take weeks or months for them to start working, she says. So the first step is to give your regime the time it needs to do its job. If you have done that and are still feeling better, talk to your doctor.
In some cases, however, the symptoms are very serious and "you do not have months to figure that out," Glass says At this time, your doctor may start with a high dose of prescription medication to make sure you see a benefit, and then lower the dose to a lower level once your symptoms are under control.
. 2 Your symptoms actually worsen.
If you notice that your eyes are actually itchy and inflamed after you have used your treatment, this is a sign that you may be allergic to something, Dr. Glass. In particular, some people may be sensitive to the preservatives in their medications that may be present in over-the-counter or prescription drugs. So if you have an allergy, your doctor may point you towards preservative-free treatment options.
However, keep in mind that in most cases of allergy, patients do not feel better about themselves – they feel their symptoms are getting worse.
. 3 Your treatment causes side effects that are extremely uncomfortable.
Even if you are not allergic to your treatment, there can still be side effects that make you question whether it's worth the effort or not. In particular, Glass says some patients find that certain eye medicines cause a temporary (but painful) burning or burning sensation.
But she explains that the response is completely individualized, meaning that different people respond differently to each drug. So if you have a response to a treatment, that does not mean that you will respond to everyone the same way.
And sometimes a little burning is just inevitable. "Sometimes it's because the cornea is so dry that something other than your own tears would be uncomfortable," Dr. Glass. In these cases, after a certain period of time, the treatment may subside and your cornea may be less dry. If not, it's probably time to try something different.
. 4 Your treatment only works in certain climates or on certain days.
It's not uncommon for people to control their dry eye symptoms – and then go on vacation. Or move. Or, you know, the seasons are changing .
The truth is that different temperatures, humidity levels and even activities can affect your eyes differently, which means you need to adjust your treatment plan depending on the location you are or what you are doing, says Dr. Glass. If you sit and watch the computer all day at work (rather than wandering around a museum on a day off), you will have other dry eye needs these days, she explains.
If you find that your current treatment regimen works just for you it's worth talking to your doctor about what else you can do to adjust to your daily routine.
. 5 The side effects persist long after the treatment.
All medications have a risk of side effects, and some of them are more unpleasant than others. According to Dr. Glass are dry eye ointments notorious for blurring, which can be quite annoying depending on the duration. For some people, the effect lasts one or two minutes, for others an hour and for others all day.
Of course, you do not want to put up your salve with the assumption that blurring will be gone by the end of time, breakfast just to deal with it at noon. Dr. Glass recommends trying out the ointment at night if you just go to bed. However, if you wake up and your vision is still blurry, this is a sign that this may not be the best option for you.
Even though it may be daunting to admit that your treatment is not chosen. If you work the way you want, with a little patience and determination, you and your doctor can find something that actually helps.