Dry eye is a common condition that affects more than 100 million people. Common symptoms of dry eye include burning, a dry sensation, itchiness, eye fatigue, blurred vision and red eyes. Dry eye is characterized by a chronic lack of sufficient moisture on the surface of the eye. There can be many causes of dry eye. Here, Optima Eye shares four simple yet effective ways to keep your eyes moist and happy.
Blink More Often
Blinking is necessary in keeping the eyes lubricated. Research has shown that when staring at a computer or reading, people blink less frequently — about one-third as often as they normally do. Make an effort to remind yourself to blink more often (try leaving yourself a reminder on a sticky note on your computer desk). An easy way to increase blinking is by following the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look at an object at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3
Part of the tear layer consists of oil. Studies have found that eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids can help replenish the oils in your eyes. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids include cold-water fish such as salmon and tuna. Walnuts, flaxseeds, and dark green leafy vegetables are also great sources of omega-3. If you don’t like fish, try taking fish oil or flaxseed oil supplements.
Use a Humidifier
Air conditioning, ceiling fans and heating systems can all decrease indoor humidity and cause bothersome dry eye symptoms. If you are prone to dry eye, consider purchasing a humidifier for your home. Investing in a humidifier for your office desktop can also help lessen symptoms.
Avoid (or Protect Against) Windy Conditions
Dry, windy weather conditions cause the moisture on the surface of the eye to evaporate faster than humid weather. Before walking outside, don’t forget to put on a pair of glasses, which help protect against the sun, wind and any small, flying debris. Appliances that blow air, such as hairdryers and fans, should also be avoided when possible.
How to Treat Dry Eye
In most cases, dry eye can be treated and managed successfully. At Optima Eye, we offer several treatments for dry eye, depending on each patient’s symptoms and severity and the underlying cause. For less severe cases, artificial tears may be sufficient. For other patients, we may prescribe punctal plugs to help tears remain on the surface of the eye longer or other treatments.
To learn more about dry eye, including treatment options, email Optima Eye at firstname.lastname@example.org.