Suffering from Dry Eyes? 5 Must Read Tips for Great Eye Care

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Blog by Envision Eye Care

My Dry Eyes are Becoming a Real Problem!

Dry eyes are one of the most common afflictions leading to an appointment with an optometrist. It presents as eye discomfort and tired, irritated eyes and it has a name – Dry Eye Syndrome! Unfortunately, many sufferers of dry eye syndrome don’t think it’s big enough a problem to see the eye doctor. If you’re scheduled for an eye exam soon, you should definitely let your eye doctor know (otherwise, make an appointment!).

At home, there are things you can do to try and help with your dry eye symptoms.

1. Maintain adequate humidity levels for your indoor spaces

When humidity levels drop, your eyes may feel dryer. The problem is magnified during our Canadian winters because heating our homes drops the humidity even more – many people are surprised to measure their indoor humidity at this time and find that it’s literally as dry as desert air!

You can increase the amount of moisture in the air by running a humidifier. Large spaces may need more than one portable humidifier for you to notice a difference in how your eyes feel. Alternatively, you can go all out and have a contractor install a whole-home humidifier that works in conjunction with your heating system.

2. Take breaks during “screen time”

“Screen time” refers to the time you spend on activities such as watching TV, working on your computer, reading on your tablet, or playing games to pass the time on your smartphone. They can lead to dry eye trouble because we tend to blink less when concentrating on the content of these screens. And since blinking is key to spreading a fresh layer of tears over your eyes, the less you blink, the more dry your eyes can get. Minimize or prevent this kind of trouble by following the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break to look at something that’s about 20 feet away. And be sure to blink while you’re doing this.

3. Use artificial tears

There are several brands of artificial tears that are available for purchase without a prescription. If your eyes aren’t producing enough tears on their own to feel moist and comfortable all day long, supplementing with the use of artificial tear eye drops can help. Generally speaking, if you use these drops four times per day or less, you can stick with multi-use bottles that contain a preservative. If you find that you need to use these drops more than four times per day, it’s best to use the preservative-free formulations which come in single-use containers. Talk to your optometrist to find out which one is best for you.

4. Manage your exposure to wind

If you spend a lot of time outdoors on a windy day, or are exposed to artificial “wind” because you sit near a fan, this can worsen your symptoms of dry eye.

When outdoors on a windy day for a prolonged period, try to give your eyes a break by turning your back to the breeze (this also works well with avoiding the “wind” from indoor fans). Or, put on a large pair of fashionable sunglasses to help protect your eyes from the irritations of moving air.

5. Rule out dry eyes caused by medication

Many medications can cause or worsen the symptoms of dry eye. Make a list of the medications you take and ask your pharmacist if any of them could be worsening your symptoms. If so, find out if there are alternative medications you could take which are less likely to be a problem in this regard.

Optometrists can help with dry eyes

If your dry eyes don’t get better with the above strategies, are getting worse, or last more than a few days, read more about dry eyes and make an appointment to be evaluated by an optometrist. We have access to more advanced treatments that you can’t get over-the-counter at your local pharmacy, and can also help you to figure out the underlying root cause of your dry eye problem. Sometimes the root cause is easily treated and the dry eye symptoms will go away completely after this is done.

If you’re a dry eye suffer and live in the Oakville, Burlington, Milton Ontario area and suffer from dry eyes, let our optometrists help. Book your eye exam at Envision Eye Care now.