A grid of squares floats around closed eyes, showing steps of an eye care routine.

Eye Care Is Self Care

Because I am a doctor of optometry, it is pretty automatic for me to recommend and educate patients about the triad that has become the foundation of most dry eye care: heat, cleanse, hydrate. While my recommendations may come easily in the exam room, adopting this routine in my own day-to-day life has not always been easy or automatic.

To tolerate or to treat, that is the question . . .

Creating a routine

As is common with any chronic condition, dry eye included, I have good days and bad days. Admittedly, my eyes could be on fire, vision blurred, and crying a river, and sometimes I still opt to tolerate rather than treat my symptoms.

Being consistent and creating a routine around my natural daily habits, rather than the hands of a clock, has been life-changing.


Ten minutes – as a doctor, wife, and mom of two little ones, 10 minutes can be the longest time or the shortest time in the world, depending on the activity. Sometimes it is the hardest moment to find among the other 1,440 minutes in a day.

So, I purchased a dry eye mask. In fact, I purchased 2 so I could keep one at home and at the office. It has its own little drawstring carrying bag and is able to deliver an even amount of heat for an extended period of time to help warm up my eyelids.

Whether I am at home or in the office, I challenge myself to find and take 10 minutes at least once out of my day to have some quiet time for myself and address my dry eye.


My personal preference is a box of individually wrapped lid wipes to clean my eyelids and eyelashes. I am reminded morning and night to cleanse my lids and lashes at least twice a day because I keep a box in the bathroom near my toothbrush and face wash. I can also put a few in my bag to take on the go if symptoms arise throughout the day.


Hydrating my eyes is just as vital of a task as ensuring I drink enough water daily. It may be 2 times, 4 times, or even 8 times a day. Just like water consumption, I feel better when I am lubricating my eyes continuously throughout the day versus only instilling drops once or at particular times in the day.

I know if I wait for symptoms to occur, then I waited too long to lubricate. My goal is to be proactive. But finding the perfect cadence and balance changes daily. To keep my symptoms under control, I use my daily activities as a reminder for when to instill my artificial tears.

On days when my eyes need extra attention, I may use my drops after seeing each patient throughout the day. On days when I want to maintain my comfort, I may use them when I wake up, when I get to work, at lunch, before I leave work, and then again before I go to bed.

New way of life

I love myself so much more when I prioritize my eye care with my other self-care rituals. Implementing a new routine and incorporating it as a lifestyle takes repetition and consistency.

Purchasing multiple sets of products I can use at home, in the office, and on the go has helped me improve my quality of sight and life.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The ChronicDryEye.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.

Community Poll

Does chronic dry eye prevent you from enjoying time outdoors?