To increase the moisture level around the eyes, small, wet, acute, triangular sponges, from which water steadily evaporates, were attached to special side panels of modified eyeglasses. The moisture level in the region between the cornea and the spectacle lens was measured in 10 patients with moderately severe dry eyes and in 10 normal controls, by a miniature moisture sensor under ambient conditions of 22.3 degrees C and 29.8% humidity. The humidity was 32.0 +/- 4.2% with spectacles, frame only (no lenses); 32.3 +/- 6.0% with spectacles; 37.9 +/- 5.1% with spectacles equipped with side panels, and 42.7 +/- 5.7% with side panel moist inserts attached for dry eye patients. Humidity was the highest with moist inserts added to the spectacles of the control group, with or without moderate wind. All dry eye patients noticed symptomatic relief with the inserts, and the rose bengal score and fluorescein staining improved after 2 weeks of their use. Our findings indicate that the combination of side panels and periodically moistened sponge inserts offer a simple and noninvasive approach to increasing the humidity surrounding the eyes, thus decreasing the tear evaporation from the ocular surface and providing amelioration of frequently debilitating symptoms of dry eye.