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Lifestyle and environment factors

Treatment should initially focus on identifying and addressing lifestyle/environmental factors that may cause or exacerbate dry eye syndrome. These include:

  • Smoky or dusty environments
  • Air conditioning/heaters in the home and car
  • Air pressure changes (e.g. flying on a plane)
  • Prolonged viewing of computer screens
  • Contact lens wear
  • Use of redness-relieving eye drops - e.g. naphazoline, tetrahydrozoline, phenylephrine or herbals such a as witch hazel
  • Over-rinsing with water or saline
  • Over use with preserved eye drops

The patient's medication history should also be reviewed, as topical and systemic antihistamines have been associated with dry eye syndrome. Similarly, hormone replacement therapy (HRT), tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can aggravate ocular symptoms. Diuretic therapy should also be taken into account.


A good level of water intake should be encouraged to aid hydration. As omega-3 fatty acids may reduce tear evaporation and inflammation, oral supplements or dietary intake via fish or flaxseed oil is often recommended.