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Articles by Natural Health Author Jaime A. Heidel
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The Truth About Chronic Dry Eye Disease - And How to Beat It Naturally
by Jaime A. Heidel
(The Best Years in Life) For the past couple of years, ophthalmologist Dr. Alison Tendler has been using her hypnotic blue-eyed gaze and soothing voice to sell prescription eye drops called Restasis. "Don't wait for your annual appointment," Dr. Tendler coos as she stares fixedly at the camera. "Call your eye doctor today to see if Restasis is right for you."
If you have dry eyes, you don't have a disease, you have a symptom. And taking Restasis could cause more problems with your eyes and overall health than the prescription claims to correct.
Prescription Eye Drops Suppress Your Immune System
Despite what the smiling actors playing Dr. Tendler's patients would have you believe, Restasis isn't the same thing as using re-wetting drops to moisten your eyes after a long day at the computer.
Restasis is cyclosporine emulsion (an immune system suppressant) mixed with sodium hydroxide (lye); a combination of chemicals that have been know to cause serious side effects including:
The worst of it is, many patients have reported that the drug has little-to-know effect on improving their symptoms of chronic dry eye!
Common Causes of Chronic Dry Eye
The modern medical community is a big fan of prescribing drugs to suppress symptoms. This does two things: It keeps the patient mollified for a while and then causes more symptoms, which require more drugs.
This approach doesn't heal anyone and only keeps patients dependent on multiple drugs until they're on so many, weaning off of them is close to impossible.
In the case of any chronic condition, the best approach is to get to the root cause.
Common causes of dry eye "disease" include:
If you're taking an antihistamine, hormone replacement therapy, blood pressure medication, birth control pills or antidepressants, it could be the cause of your chronic dry eye.
· Long-Term Contact Lens Wear
If you're a contact lens wearer, your eyes may dry out more quickly than someone who doesn't need the corrective eye wear.
· Autoimmune Disease
Oftentimes, dry eyes are a sign your immune system is rejecting your own natural tears. Autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Sjögren's Syndrome, and thyroid disease have all been linked to the development of chronic dry eye.
Autoimmune Eye Disease Can be Treated Naturally
1. Change Your Medication
Some medications change the way your immune system responds to your body's own healthy tissues. If chronic dry eye is a side effect of the medication you're using, talk with your healthcare provider about switching. Alternatively, make an appointment with a natural health specialist who can help you safely wean off the prescription drug and replace it with holistic alternatives.
2. Make Dietary Changes
The development of autoimmune disease is often linked to hidden gluten sensitivity; the inability to digest the protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. When a person with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity eats gluten, their immune system goes haywire, attacking their own healthy tissues.
Try a completely gluten-free diet for 6-8 weeks to see if your symptoms improve. This would also be a great time to clean up your diet by slowly weaning off highly-processed foods and trading them in for more nourishing fare.
Drinking plenty of pure, filtered water can help treat dry eye as well by keeping you hydrated.
3. Take Supplements
· Omega-3 Krill Oil
Omega-3 krill oil is a sustainable form of fish oil that has been linked to the improvement of dry eye symptoms. Krill oil acts as an anti-inflammatory and helps support healthy immunity.
80 percent of your immune system resides in your gut. A deficiency in good bacteria can cause immune system malfunction. Adding a high-quality probiotic supplement can help stabilize your immune system and reduce the symptoms of autoimmune disease, allergies, and dry eye.
Astaxanthin is a carotenoid with powerful antioxidant properties that helps scavenge free radicals and protect your organs, cells, and tissues from oxidative damage. This nutrient is especially helpful in reducing the symptoms of autoimmune disease and other chronic conditions.
Astaxanthin has even been shown to protect against the development of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (ARMD).
4. Reduce Stress
A high-stress life often leads to anxiety disorders and adrenal burnout. This can cause the reduced tear production associated with chronic dry eye. It's important to find time to enjoy hobbies that help you relax and recharge your batteries, especially if you burn the candle at both ends.
If you have chronic dry eye, it's a sign something is going wrong within. Resist the urge to just cover up your symptoms with a potentially-dangerous prescription drug. Get to the root cause, treat it naturally, and experience a whole new world of health.
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