Dry eye syndrome (DES) is a common eye condition that causes discomfort in the eyes – like dryness, itchiness, and redness. Some people suffer from dry eye syndrome only when they wake up in the morning, while others feel it throughout the day.
Left untreated, it can negatively affect your vision and your quality of life. Fortunately, DES is treatable, so relief is on the way.
At San Antonio Eye Professionals at North Star, we diagnose and treat all forms of dry eye syndrome. In the meantime, follow our 3 top tips to ease dry eye symptoms.
What Causes Dry Eyes?
Dry eye syndrome is caused by a lack of tears or tears that dry out too quickly.
Most cases of dry eye are caused by meibomian gland dysfunction. These glands are found on the edge of the eyelids, and if they become clogged, the nourishing oils that prevent the tears from evaporating can’t reach the tear film.
Environmental factors like hot or cold air and wind, indoor heating, and air conditioning, can also cause DES, as can prolonged screen time on a computer, tablet, or cell phone. Certain medications, some medical conditions, and aging can also be root cause of dry eye.
Treating DES as soon as possible is important for preventing chronic pain, irritation, and even corneal ulcers that can lead to permanent vision loss.
If you can’t see your eye doctor right away, try these 3 tips:
1. Reduce the Amount of Time You Spend on Digital Devices
It’s a known fact that people blink much less often when using digital devices. This often results in dry eye symptoms, because blinking helps to distribute moisture around the eyes through the tear film.
Reducing your screen time is the obvious solution, but it’s not always practical, especially if you work on a computer all day. Make a conscious effort to blink more frequently while using digital devices and to take regular breaks. Rest your eyes and replenish your tear film at the same time.
2. Eat Healthy and Hydrate
Hydration is key for maintaining the health and function of all the organs in your body, including your eyes. The amount of water you need to drink daily is dependent on how physically active you are.
If you find it challenging to drink enough water each day, consider adding a bit of lemon juice for flavor. Or make a smoothie with your favorite fruits or vegetables. This will make it much easier for you to stay hydrated and help prevent dry eyes.
Including a variety of healthy sources of hydration in your diet can also reduce dry eye. Foods like fatty fish, nuts, whole grains, lean proteins, and legumes are good for your eye health. Fatty fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help keep the eyes hydrated and healthy.
3. Control Your Environment
Heating and air conditioning can be brutal on your tear film. A cold-mist humidifier will add moisture to the air and help keep your eyes from drying out. However, remember to keep the humidifier clean to prevent bacteria or mold growth.
When spending time outdoors, consider wearing wraparound sunglasses to protect your eyes from dry air and wind. Using a warm compress on your closed eyelids for a few minutes is also an effective way to soothe dry eyes.
Schedule an Eye Exam with Your Eye Doctor!
As helpful as these tips may be, they’re not a substitute for seeing your eye doctor, who can determine the underlying cause of your dry, sore, gritty eyes and prescribe the best treatment to keep your eyes healthy.
Contact San Antonio Eye Professionals in North Star today to schedule your dry eye exam.