What Can You Do To Reduce Dry Eyes
Irritated, itchy, and dry. That’s how millions of people around the world would describe the condition of their eyes on a daily basis.
If this sounds familiar, then you may not only have an inconvenient and uncomfortable situation on your hands but something more serious to your vision and long-term eye health.
This is dry eye syndrome or keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS). And although it’s affecting an increasing number of people, it’s still often brushed off or misdiagnosed, leaving many without proper treatment and care for their eyes.
Although the condition is most commonly seen in elderly patients, it can happen to anyone at any age. The difficulty in proper diagnosis comes from that it is a multi-factorial issue. Meaning, there is more than one cause or source that can be easily missed by your doctor. For example, dry eyes may occur as a side effect of certain medications, as a result of alcohol overconsumption, or after prolonged screen use.
On top of all that, irritated peepers are also commonly associated with contact lens use, smoking, diabetes, and a low level of humidity in your environment.
As you can see, dry eyes are somewhat of an emerging symptom of the modern lifestyle. And therefore, with only 20 percent of those suffering from the condition being diagnosed correctly, doctors and eye care professionals need to take a closer look at our new lifestyles and adapt the methods they use to assess patients.
But that can take time. And realistically, looking at how fast the world changes and how much we have already come to rely on things like alcohol, prescription meds, and digital devices, it’s clear we need to take things into our own hands.
There are many things you can do to help reduce dry eyes that don’t involve more drugs or drastic lifestyle changes. These guidelines are easy to work into your current daily routine and will give help give you and your eyes a little more clarity and comfort.
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See An Eye Doctor
First and foremost, don’t assume dry eyes is something minor that will go away with a little conscious effort on your part.
Although lifestyle changes can work wonders for calming down the condition, it’s important to have a sit down with a doctor and determine, for instance, if any of your prescription medications could be the cause of the irritation.
It’s unlikely that dry eyes will be the result of something more serious than, say, an excessive red wine and Games of Thrones habit, but leaving the issue for too long can potentially cause damage to the sensitive tissues of the eye, and so, should never be left without a professional’s opinion.
Control The Weather
No one expects you to be able to control the weather, but there are some other simple things you can do to cut down on the amount of air being blown onto your eyeballs.
Firstly, try to avoid hair dryers (or at least close your eyes when using them). Not only do they have a powerful airflow but the air is also hot and dry — a deadly combination for already dry eyes.
Secondly, make sure that the heating and air conditioning vents in your car are set to low and are positioned to blow on the floor, instead of directly into your face. If the weather happens to be windy out, or perhaps you live in the North – hats, scarves, and wrap around sunglasses all work well to help protect your eyes from the elements.
Keep The Air Moist
The moisture level of your environment can have a significant impact on the condition of your eyes. The dryer the air, the faster any moisture on the surface of the eyes will evaporate.
Invest in a humidifier for your home to keep a good amount of moisture in the air. You can also go a step further and get an air purifier too, which will help prevent dust particles and other airborne allergens from irritating your eyes.
Give Your Eyes A Break
Your eyes will get tired under the typical circumstances of the 21st century, working day. So, whether you do a lot of reading or are on the computer for hours at a time, it’s essential you give your eyes a break every so often.
It’s as simple as, when you start to feel your eyes straining, taking a few moments to just close your eyes, massaging their lids gently for a few minutes, and practising the 20-20-20 method. If you’re working at a computer monitor, be sure to position it slightly below eye level. Being able to look slightly down at the screen can allow your eyes to stay slightly more relaxed and be less likely to quickly fatigue.
Shed Some Fake Tears
There’s no substitute for the real thing, but artificial tears come closer than anything else and can be really handy when, for instance, you’re in your first few days of recovery after Laser Eye Surgery.
What’s best about them is that they’re available for anyone over the counter at the local pharmacy and can be used as often as needed. It is important to note, however, they’re far from a permanent solution and can often be a hassle when relied upon in the long-term. But they will provide immediate relief when needed most — e.g. when doing overtime at work or on a long-haul flight.