Dry eyes are a common condition experienced by millions of people. While occasional redness and itching can be irritating, chronic cases can cause infection and affect your vision.
Dryness can be caused by many things including aging, certain medications, or binge-watching TV. The symptoms may include feeling like you have something in your eye, blurred vision, and sensitivity to light.
Whatever the cause, you can reduce the symptoms of dry eyes. Consider these lifestyle adjustments and effective treatments that will help you stop rubbing your eyes.
Lifestyle Adjustments to Soothe Dry Eyes
- Blink more. The water, oil, and antibodies in tears moisten your eyes and fight infection. When you blink, they spread across your eyes in a protective film. Practice full blinks by gently squeezing your upper and lower lids until they touch, and holding them together for about 2 seconds.
- Roll your eyes. Moving your eyes stimulates tear production too. Roll them side to side or up and down.
- Massage your eyelids. Place a finger on your upper lid, and gently roll it around in small circles. The pressure will squeeze tears out of your glands.
- Change your diet. What you eat affects your eyes. Spicy foods may dry them out, while some studies show that fish oil from natural sources or supplements can have the opposite effect.
- Check the weather. Indoor heating and air conditioning both dry out the air so you may want to adjust your thermostat. You may also be more comfortable if you stay out of drafts and wear sunglasses when it’s windy.
- Spend more time off-line. Blinking slows down when you’re staring at computer or TV screens or even regular books. Take a break every half hour.
- Remove your contacts. If your contact lenses are the culprit, buy cleaning solutions formulated for sensitive eyes. Cut down on the number of hours you wear your lenses during the day and take them out before you go to bed each night.
- Measure your lashes. Scientists have discovered that each animal species tends to have lashes that are one-third the size of their eyes. When they’re longer, they actually funnel grit into the eyes. It’s one more good reason to go easy on the mascara, and think twice before buying lash extensions
DIY and Medical Treatments for Dry Eyes
- Talk with an eye specialist. With so many different causes for dry eyes, you may need to consult with an ophthalmologist. A correct diagnosis will help you to find quicker relief.
- Use artificial tears. On the other hand, most experts agree that the occasional use of over-the-counter artificial tears is safe. Shop around until you find the brand that works for you. If you need them most days of the week, it’s time to see your doctor.
- Apply a compress. Heat may provide quick relief whether it’s a warm eye pillow at home or LipiFlow at your doctor’s office. LipiFlow machines heat and compress your eyelids safely and more intensely.
- Consider medication. You’ve probably seen TV ads for Restasis. It’s the only FDA-approved prescription for chronic dry eyes. Your doctor may also suggest steroids or antibiotics.
- Close your tear ducts. If your symptoms require more treatment, there are medical procedures that plug your tear ducts so your eyes will produce more tears. This can be done on a temporary or longer-lasting basis. It’s painless, and very effective for more severe cases of dry eyes.
Many people depend on their eyesight as the sense they value most. Increase your comfort and protect your vision by keeping your eyes lubricated.