Alleviate Dry Eyes With Four Easy Fixes
January 30, 2017 1 Comment
My eyes are killing me. They itch. They’re dry. Sometimes they water, but it never seems to alleviate the irritation. I alternate between wearing glasses and contact lenses, but when my eyes are aggravated, it doesn’t matter how many eye drops I put in, I simply want to pluck my eyeballs out of their sockets. Is this normal? And why am I having so much trouble?
First of all, according to the Wall Street Journal, I’m far from alone. An estimated 25 million Americans deal with dry eye. And the American Academy of Ophthalmology reports that dry eye syndrome only increases with age.
Reasons for this phenomenon, however, are all over the map. The Mayo Clinic states that while age is a factor, there are lots of other things that attribute to this condition. Medical conditions, medications and LASIK surgery can create this problem, but so can environmental factors like wind and dry air.
However, I think the most logical cause, in my case anyway, is increased screen time. You know, starting at computer monitors, cell phones, tablets, televisions, etc. has us all staring at brightly lit screens, and when we do that, we blink less. Don’t believe me? Last year CNN reported that Americans spend an average of 10 hours and 39 minutes each day consuming media. That’s enough to dry anybody’s eyeballs out!
So what steps can folks like me take to lubricate our eyeballs? In dry climates, you might want to try using a humidifier to add water to the air, which will make your peepers a bit more comfortable.
You might also try popping pills. Doctors are now looking to omega 3 fish oil as a natural way to improve eye health. “The fatty acids in the fish oil are thought to reinforce the production of tears,” the Huffington Post reports.
If you’re a contact lens wearer like me, also know that you have options that can help alleviate dry eye problems. HealthLine suggests using disposable contacts because they can be tossed after wearing and don’t build up protein deposits which can cause dry eyes. Also, you might want to see if you can switch to a silicone-based hydrogel lens which prevents your eyes from drying out as fast.
Finally, if your dry eyes are the result of staring at screens, remember to blink. Alan Carlson, M.D., professor of ophthalmology at Duke University School of Medicine, recommends doing blinking exercises using the 20/20/20 rule. “Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break from the screen and look at an object 20 feet away,” he told AARP.
If all else fails, talk to your doctor. Dry eyes can be symptomatic of a more serious health concern such as diabetes, thyroid problems and rheumatoid arthritis, according to the American Optometric Association, so don’t discount the issue as trivial.