Treating My Dry Eyes

The older I get the dryer my skin becomes but what bothers me the most is my dry eyes. I’ve been struggling with it for years.

It turns out dry eye is a huge problem for older women and many of us suffer from it. When I say suffer, I mean it. My eyes often feel like they have sand in them, they itch, frequently tear and just plain hurt.Jennifer Connolly of A Well Styled Life's dry eye

My previous eye doctor suggested I wash my eye’s with baby shampoo and apply warm compresses using a damp facecloth for ten minutes at a time. That didn’t help. The facecloth would get cold too fast, the baby shampoo was drying out the skin around my eyes and my eye’s remained dry.

I read everything I could on the subject. I added extra fish oil supplements, switched to preservative free eye drops, upped my water consumption and changed my blood pressure medication to one that did not include a diuretic. Still, no relief.

I finally dragged myself to a new eye doctor for a proper diagnosis. He numbed my eye’s and did multiple weird tests before he concluded…I have chronic dry eye. Duh!

He also told me I have meibomian gland dysfunction. These are the glands in our upper and lower eyelids that secrete oils onto the surface of our eyes which keep our tears from evaporating too quickly. These glands often become blocked as we age and can cause or worsen dry eye.

He didn’t suggest Restasis or Xiidra because they’re expensive, are seldom covered by insurance and his patients have mixed results. He agreed a washcloth was not a great way to apply warm compresses to the eye and suggested I try this bruder eye compress for dry eye

Let me tell you, it is nothing short of amazing.

I heat it in the microwave for 15 seconds, put a clean tissue over my eyes and lay back to relax. The compress comes with a few disposable sheets to put between your eye and the compress to keep it sanitary. When those ran out I just substituted a clean tissue.Jennifer of A Well Styled Life laying on the couch using Bruder Eye Compress

When I remove the eye mask, my vision is totally blurry. Luckily I knew this might happen so I didn’t panic. #neurotic It simply meant the oil from my eye glands had melted and was flowing properly so it could help moisturize my eyes.OCuSOFT eye wipes on A Well Styled Life

I’ve also added reatine eye gel and eye drops on A Well Styled Life

I now have several brands of preservative-free eye drops which come in these one-use disposable tubes. They’re all single use so I have them scattered in every purse, in my car, and by my desk. I discovered these retaine eye drops on airline flight

Dryer than usual conditions is still a challenge for me. When we flew to the east coast yesterday, I had several vials in my purse and kept one on my tray table to use every 30+ minutes. These vials are single use only but my eye DR said it was OK to recap and use for up to 3 hours.

It may seem like a lot of trouble to go to but my eyes are finally feeling better. I’m not cured…there is no cure but my dry eyes feel better now than they have in several years.

Do you have dry eyes?

Please share what you use for them.

Thanks for reading and have a great day.




  1. Very timely topic, thank you. OcuSoft Plus does not have to be rinsed off but the original does. I clean my eyes with it at night and in the morning I use the original before I shower. I have stopped all eye makeup and wear dark glasses when outside and when driving. This helps.

  2. You have an excellent doctor. My mom went for her yearly exam and was told she has dry eyes, (even though they weren’t bothering her), and the doctor told her it was “urgent” she start using Restasis.
    When I saw the extreme cost of Restasis, I did a quick Google search. It was a surprise to learn Restasis is a target of government lawsuits because the test results were falsified. Other countries deemed Restasis a questionable product that leaves the eye vulnerable to infection, and they refuse to prescribe it.
    Quoted from the article “Pharma Cash Flows to Doctors For Consultant Work Despite Scrutiny,” the article says, “All the money and attention drug representatives shower on doctors has its intended effect: building relationships with doctors and changing how they prescribe.”
    Restasis, apart from ripping off Medicare to the hilt, could have seriously damaged my mom’s eyes. But her doctor was pushing it on her.
    Thanks to the internet, its easy to research one’s medications. But we’re accustomed to trusting the standards of health care in this nation, so we often take whatever is given. Thankfully, your doctor is picky about what goes into your eyes – I wish my mom had a provider like that! Thanks for a very helpful and informative post!!

    1. I just read about a lawsuit where several doctors were being prosecuted for taking payoffs from pharmaceutical companies. You’re exactly right, we need to be our own medical advocate and research everything…no matter what a doctor tells us.

  3. I was prescribed Restasis after my Lasik and PRK since I still need a contact lens to see. Drying! I’m on the generic Cyclosporine now, which is much cheaper. I think it helps (mind you, I did not have dry eye before the procedure so I don’t have a true before and after.) My eye docs seem to swear by it. I also swear by the preservative-free drops. Love your honest disclosure as always. Isn’t aging a blast? Xx

    1. Oh yeah, nothing easy about aging but the alternative is worse :). xx

  4. Erin Willhite says:

    I was diagnosed with Meibomian gland dysfunction and blepharitis a few years ago. I use the microwavable eye mask and love it (you can get them much cheaper at Walmart than at your eye doctor). Also use OcuSoft lid scrub for the blepharitis after using the mask, and HydroEye fish oil twice a day. When I was diagnosed I told my ophthalmologist I was worried about getting all my eye makeup off each day so I wouldn’t clog my glands any further. He suggested I get permanent eyeliner. After I got up the courage to research permanent eyeliner, I had questions about the aftercare routine….a medicated Vaseline on your lids for about a week. I wasn’t sure how that would work with using my eye mask and eye scrub. I called my doctor and he said they don’t recommend permanent eyeliner anymore. Research has show that it can damage the Meibomian gland further. So I’m makeup-less, use my mask and scrub daily and still searching for the perfect eye drop.

    1. That’s good to know. I was wondering about permanent eyeliner since mine often runs off.

  5. It is my belief that people with various dry eye conditions should be checked for endocrine issues by their GPs.

    One of these issues, hyperparathyroifism, is not so rare at all. It involves two blood tests done at the same time: serum calcium and parathyroid hormone. This condition affects mainly women in their 50s and beyond, but it also affects men, and younger men and women.

  6. I wear sunglasses from Panoptix and 7Eye. They are basically goggles and are especially useful in the car when the a/c or heater is on. They come with clear lens also for night driving and to wear while drying your hair. Well worth the investment.

  7. Beverly Glotzbach says:

    Jennifer, thank you for writing on this topic and for the suggestions from the readers! I, too, have dry eyes made worse from the hormone blocker I must take due to breast cancer treatment. I have been using Refresh drops four times a day with improvement, but not complete success. I am definitely going to try some of the other suggestions. Thank you for covering other topics from time to time besides fashion. We all benefit with sharing ideas!

  8. I had just doused my dry eyes with drops before opening your blog! I have that mask. I will have to give it a better try.I have used expensive drops and cheap drops frequently – no real difference. What really helps is just taking an extended break from the computer screen. Do you wear eye make up?

    1. Computer time is terrible for dry eyes and yes, I am on mine a lot. I try to take breaks and make a point of blinking more often. I do wear eye makeup but no longer apply it along the lash line.

  9. I use a contact lens in my non-dominant eye instead of wearing reading glasses (monovision). I do not understand why everyone doesn’t do this, it’s so wonderful. However, after 15 years, this eye is getting dry.
    Clear Care is much better than standard contact solution, if anyone has a need to know.

    I would love to know which fish oil supplement doesn’t make you ill!?!?

  10. Initially I found the Bruder products because I had a stye. The compress that you put in the microwave works SO much better than a washcloth compress. I also love the OcUSoft products, but I prefer the pump-bottle version to the wipes. I too was surprised that even after using eye makeup remover, there was still some residue which the OcUSoft removed completely. It is really important to clean your eyelids! Then, I had cataract surgery and developed dry eyes, which can be a side-effect of the surgery. It was miserable. Painful, scratchy, felt like there was something in my eye, especially in the morning. I literally cried and even though my vision had been improved with the surgery, I regretted it. It lasted a few months and then cleared up completely, thank goodness. I still use OcUSoft daily and always will.

  11. Great informative post. Thanks so much and glad you’re feeling better.

  12. Thank you great topic. My dry eye problems started over 10 years ago. To the extent I had a scratch on my Cornea, apparently weakened by a paper cut many years before. After a trip to emergency where no eye doctors were on duty, I was referred to a special eye clinic next morning. Visited the hospital every day for week (the parking cost was horrendous) but Dr healed the immediate problem. This is a chronic dry eye condition and I would control it with eye ointment every night. I have used Bausch & Lomb, Muro 128 Ointment 5% ever since. Usually with no need for eye drops as the residual effect last all day for me. Except during our long cold winters and I use a humidifier daily. Had a wake up call with the comment to turn off ceiling fans. We used to sleep in our loft bedroom which was always hot, wish I had realized this many years ago.

    1. I’ve had several wakeup calls while reading all brilliant readers suggestions. I am so grateful for all of you.

  13. I have Blepharitis which causes dry eyes. I use Cliradex eyelid wipes. I also stopped wearing any eye make up. Zero. None! Also massaging my eyelids with coconut oil helps.

    Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelid. It’s extremely common. Many people have it and don’t know it. It can come and go, it’s related to how well your immune system is fighting things off. It’s easily diagnosed when an optometrist sees an increase in little mites that live at the base of the eyelashes. Those little mites hate tea tree oil, and that’s what’s in the eyelid wipes.

    Bottom line: there are many causes for dry eyes and lots of different remedies. Best to get a doctor’s diagnosis.

    Thanks for this post. I will try some of the products you recommend.

    1. My Dr checked and says I do not have many of those mites. Everyone has some, but mine seem under control thank goodness. I suspect I have several causes and I do know my immune system isn’t tip-top.

  14. I too suffer from dry eye. On my doctors recommendation,I now use Nordic Naturals,Ultimate Omega. I did try a less expensive fish oil but felt no improvement in my dry eyes. My eyes are now more comfortable. They are available on Amazon.

  15. Barbara Sewell says:

    A friend who also follows your blog suffered from dry eye. From The People’s Pharmacy, I learned that Vitamin D helps. She began taking it and is much better. Simple to do, no pricey prescriptions (or unwanted side effects) and most of us could benefit from some extra D.

  16. I, too, have dry eye and have used Restasis for years, and it works very well for me. When I first started using it, it was covered by insurance and I paid $30 for 3 months of vials. One day, it stopped being covered and the cost shot up to $300!! I still use Restasis but pay way less than $100/month. I have my optician fax my prescription to an online Canadian pharmacy (I did some easy online research on how to find a reliable one) and in a few weeks I get a shipment of Restasis by Allergan, in all the original packaging, for roughly $150 for 90 vials. Many years ago, the opthamologist who originally prescribed Restasis told me that, if the tip of the vial is kept clean, the same vial could be used morning and night and he gave me a little cone of plastic that would hold the vial upright and keep the tip clean. After the price skyrocketed, I again did online research and found out that the medication will stay fresh if refrigerated. This way I get probably about 4-5 uses out of one vial, rather than just 1. That means my supply of 90 vials usually last me about 6-8 months. That helps to bring the cost down to something I can afford and since it has worked so well for me, it is worth it. (Don’t get me started on the insanity of our current prescription drug situation that means I have to go through all these shenanigans.) However, I will definitely try the mask! There are still some really dry winter days here in Michigan when I can use a little extra help.

    1. Sheila-Merle Johnson says:

      Which Canadian pharmacy do yo use?

  17. Sadly, I’ve had dry eye syndrome for years as well. And, sadder still, is that very little has made much of a difference overall and I’ve tried it all—comfort drops, plugs, fish oil, eye compresses, Xiidra, and Lotamax. Lotamax worked the best, but can’t be used long term, so the battle rages on.

  18. I wish I had known about this when my father was still alive. The dry eyes bothered him more than anything. Your doctor is right about the expensive drops they don’t work. This is great information. I am pinning it on makeup board even though it isn’t makeup related!

  19. I have been using SterLids cleaner for my eyelashes and lids. there is something called “eyelash deandruff”, having something to do with not having enough oils around the eyelashes to wash away. The crust which develops is very hard to remove! Too much buildup of this material causes my eyes to itch and burn. Yuck! To combat dry eye, my doctor suggested turning off the ceiling fan at night. This can cause eyes to dry out also. Just a suggestion for you!

  20. Elizabeth says:

    I also have Dry Eye/Blepharitis. I was diagnosed several years ago and was referred to an ophthalmologist after treatments recommended by my optometrist were not enough. The microwavable eye pack works very well as do Systane preservative-free night time gel and OasisTears preservative-free drops (used before I get out of bed in the morning). My regime also includes fish oil, Restasis and when really bad, Lotemax, a prescription steroid drop. I stopped Azasite (prescription lid drop) because of a reaction (lid swelling, flaky skin). One tear duct is lasered shut to reduce tear evaporation. It took a while to get things under control and to figure out the best over-the-counter drops/gel to use, but my eyes are better and look better. Now only in extreme situations do I need to use any OTC drops during the day.

  21. I also have “dry eye syndrome” ,for many years. Have used drops from A to Z! Work for a period of time….then must move to a different one. I got the most relief after my eye Dr. plugged my tear ducts. At times the plugs come out and have to be replaced. It really helps the dryness but also causes tearing. Hard to explain how uncomfortable this eye problem can be!
    Thanks for letting me know I’m not alone!

  22. I have found extraordinary relief from dry eyes from Xiidra. Many eye doctors are given coupons for reduced prices to hand out to their patients. I use the tubes for 2 applications and occasionally use a non preservative eye drop during the day especially if it’s windy. Xiidra has changed my life – no more agony, blurred vision, sand in my eyes feeling. It works immediately, no build up time required. That’s my story.

    1. Elaine Luman says:

      I tried all of those things your doctor said to do. I have punctal (sp?) plugs and now have been on Xiidra for a little over a year. It has worked much better for me than Restasis. Both are very expensive! Some days I still have to use a lot of sterile eye drops. I also have to put something in them a night. Evidently, this is going to be a lifetime battle. I may give the moist heat compress a try!

  23. I’ve had dry eyes for years. Hurt and sting like crazy! And I get a film over my eyes at times. My eye doctor said my tears aren’t wet enough…I got some relief from adding 3000 mg of fish oil , but I realized that the dry eyes were also allergy-eyes! My doctor gave me Singulair to take at night and FloNaz for morning. Much improved. I will add the eye compress. Thanks for sharing!

  24. I have Sjorgrens and one of the symptoms is dry eyes. I use Restasis and it has made a huge difference to my over all eye moisture. It is covered by our medical insurance and I am grateful for that. I hate a windy day, the fan on in the car… and I wear glasses to help protect my eyes from the air movement in planes etc. I have vials of eyedrops everywhere…pockets of my coats, my purse, tin the kitchen… I also use the eye “beanbag” before I head to bed. It is so relaxing I often fall asleep with it still on. Life just seems to get more interesting with age!! I know there are people out there dealing with issues much bigger than this one… but it was good to read your post on dry eyes… I can really relate.?

  25. Georgiann Wilkins says:

    I also have dry eyes which is much in the winter. Although I was taking omega 3 when I changed to a higher quality brand an it definitely improved the dry eye condition.

  26. using Xiidra helps how do you know it’s not covered? yr Dr. can “plead yr case”
    will try that mask though

  27. Joy Grayson says:

    Thank you for this! I have had one very dry eye since I had a reaction to my contact lens solution several years ago. I will try the heated eye mask and look for some better eye drops.

  28. The wipes and using a tissue under the eye mask (which I’ve just begun to use) are great tips. I love the individual use drops, but when I mentioned to the Dr. that I wasn’t a fan of the pm “drops” (more of a gel?) because it is blurry after I use them, she suggested I alternate each night (i.e. use one night in left eye, the next in right) which has made me more compliant about using them. Thanks for the post!

  29. I’m glad to know about the wipes to remove all traces of makeup. I’ve been using Refresh disposable eye drops with Flaxseed Oil and they’re a huge improvement over the ones without the added oil. Thank you for this post. It’s a help to those of us with dry eye.

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