Do you have dry eye? You aren’t alone. According to the National Eye Institute, dry eye affects millions of Americans each year. Dry eye is caused by the inability to produce enough moisture on the surface of the eye. It can lead to eye discomfort, blurred vision, sensitivity to light and even overly watering eyes. This condition can make it more difficult to perform everyday activities and may increase your risk of eye infections. While dry eye is not always curable, it can be managed.
1. Apply a Warm Compress
A warm compress is a common treatment for dry eye syndrome. When you place a warm compress over your eyelids, it will loosen the debris in your eyes and provide you with relief. To perform this treatment, dip a washcloth in some warm water and press it against your eye for about five minutes. Wet the washcloth every 10 to 15 seconds so that it remains warm.
2. Stop Smoking
If you smoke tobacco, you have yet another good reason to quit. It turns out that smoking can irritate your eyes and make dry eye syndrome even worse. In fact, smokers are twice as likely to suffer from this condition than non-smokers.
Quitting is tough, but it can be done. If you need help quitting, ask your doctor about different ways to stop smoking.
3. Include Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Your Diet
Omega-3 fatty acids do not just reduce your risk of heart disease and keep your brain sharp; they can also provide relief from dry eye. These fatty acids reduce inflammation throughout your entire body and help your eyes feel better. Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include sardines, salmon, tuna, flaxseed and walnuts. If you are not getting enough omega-3 fatty acids from food, you may want to ask your eye doctor about taking omega-3 supplements.
4. Use a Humidifier
The air can get very dry in colder months and irritate your eyes. That’s why it is a wise idea to use a humidifier in the winter. If you place a humidifier in your living room or bedroom, it can add moisture to the air and help your eyes feel better.
5. Take Breaks from the Computer Screen
Staring at a computer screen for hours every day can contribute to dry eye syndrome. Concentrating on the screen for so long forces the eyes to work harder, making them tired and irritated.
If your job requires you to work in front of a computer all day, it is important to take eye breaks. Every 20 minutes, it is helpful to look at far away objects for 20 seconds. If nothing else, stand up and try to focus on something that isn’t right in front of you. Give your eyes a break and they will thank you.
6. Use Artificial Tears
If you have dry eye syndrome, your eye doctor might suggest for you to use artificial tears. These eye drops add moisture to your eyes and are available without a prescription. If you have to apply artificial tears more than four times a day, it is best to choose the drops without preservatives. They do not contain as many additives, so they are less likely to irritate your eyes.
7. Adjust Your Medications
Certain medications, like antidepressants and antihistamines, can make dry eye syndrome worse. Let your eye doctor know about the medications you are currently taking. He or she may suggest adjusting some of these medications to improve dry eye symptoms.
8. Blink More Frequently
It sounds like a given, but it is common to blink less frequently when you’re watching TV, working on the computer or using an electronic device. Unfortunately, blinking less can dry out your eyes. When you are using digital devices, make an effort to blink more often to provide your eyes with the lubrication they need.
If you have further questions about treating dry eye syndrome, contact Discover Vision Centers today using the button below.