If you are one of the millions living with dry eye, you know how uncomfortable it can be. Its effects on your vision make it difficult to perform simple tasks. Like most, it could be itchiness, burning, the sensation of something in the eye, severe dryness, and more.
Several treatments can relieve the symptoms. Here are tips and strategies for managing discomfort when living with dry eye.
Dry eye occurs when the tears fail to produce or maintain enough lubrication to moisten the eyes. Adding tears is one of the most effective ways to deal with eye dryness. You can use artificial tears to perform the function of natural tears. Some eye drops have ingredients that mimic real tears. They are usually the first treatment option.
Blinking helps keep the eyes moist by spreading the tear film over the eye surface. Studies show that people blink less often when using digital devices, leading to eye dryness. The AOA recommends regular blinking as an effective way to reduce dry eye symptoms. It helps renew the tear film, keeping the eyes moisturized.
Spending too much time on your computer can exacerbate dry eye symptoms. Limiting your screen time can keep your eyes comfortable. Rest your eyes frequently when using digital devices by following the 20-20-20 rule—take breaks every 20 minutes and look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Use eye drops if your eyes feel dry while using your computer.
Changing your diet can help relieve dry eye symptoms. Research indicates that nutrition plays a vital role in eye health. Adding more oily fish, nuts, fruits, and vegetables to your diet can help. Omega-3 fatty acids help boost the tear film’s oil production. It prevents quick tear evaporation.
Apply a warm wet compress over your eyes each evening to soothe them and reduce dry eye symptoms. The heat from the compress can melt hardened oil that clogs the meibomian glands. It allows the oil to flow freely, keeping the eyes moist. You can use the compress once or twice a day when you experience symptoms.
Cleaning your eyelids will help remove the buildup blocking the glands. Use a cotton swab and baby shampoo to clean along the lash line. Clean the upper and lower eyelids daily or twice daily if you are prone to excessive discharge. You can also use eyelid cleaners or lid scrubs formulated to remove buildup. Gently massage your eyelids as you clean them.
Your indoor environment can worsen dry eye symptoms. Studies show that weather and pollution have a significant impact on dry eye. Keep the air clean and moist to prevent dryness due to environmental factors. Using a humidifier during winter can help keep your eyes comfortable. Use a filter and adjust your indoor temperature to reduce discomfort.
Getting adequate sleep can help keep your eyes healthy. If your symptoms persist, your eye doctor can recommend treatment, such as prescription medications and plugging the tear ducts. Other treatment options include heat therapy and the use of specialized contact lenses.
For more tips and strategies for managing discomfort when living with dry eye, visit Eye Carumba Optometry at our San Francisco, California office. Call (415) 360-6900 to schedule an appointment today.