Dry eyes is something that many people experience in their daily life. Whether it's on the odd occasion or a consistent condition, it can be really uncomfortable when your eyes don't have enough moisture.
Anyone can experience dry eye, although it's more common among women, particular those who are post-menopausal. It may also be more common for those who live in major cities with higher levels of air pollution.
Studies have shown that people in the Chicago and New York City areas were found to be 3 to 4 times likely to be diagnosed with dry eye syndrome compared to less urban areas with relatively little air pollution.
The study entitled Environmental Factors and Dry Eye Syndrome: A Study Utilizing the National U.S. Veterans Affairs Administrative Database (PO052), also found that the risk for dry eye was 13% higher in zip codes with higher altitudes.
But there is something you can do to manage it.
This study helped to bring to light environmental alterations people can make to your home that will help control dry eye syndrome.
Continue to the next page for 7 tips to battle dry eyes.
Dry eyes are caused when your eyes aren't getting enough moisture. Whether you aren't producing enough tears to lubricate your eyes or they aren't making it out through your tear ducts, the result is itchy, often painful eyes.
It can be caused by environmental factors, infrequent blinking or changes in hormones as you age.
There are some simple things you can do to make managing this condition more easily.
1. Use artificial tears
Available without a prescription, this is your first line of defense to help your eyes feel better. There are many different brands to choose from, and you can use them as often as you wish. Lubricating gels can also help, but save those for bedtime because they tend to be thicker and blur your vision.
2. Avoid areas with too much air movement
Fans, heavy wind and hair dryers can make your eyes even drier, so you should try to avoid these things as much as you can. If you're going outside on a windy day, put on a pair of wrap around sunglasses to protect your eyes from directly being exposed.
3. Use a humidifier in the winter
In the winter, the furnace that is heating your home can often dry the air out. Set up your humidifier to add some moisture back into the air. If you don't have a humidifier, a pan of water on your radiator is a good substitute.
4. Give your eyes a rest
It's common for reading or watching TV to make your eyes feel dry, so make sure you take frequent breaks to avoid irritation. Giving your eyes a rest and blinking more often will help your eyes regain some of the moisture that they have lost.
5. Skip the smoke
There are a lot of good reasons not to exposure yourself to cigarette smoke, but here is one more. Cigarette smoke can irritate your dry eyes, so steer clear of it. Smoking can also increase your risk of developing dry eye in the first place, so it's best to try to stop as soon as you can.
6. Warm compresses and eyelid washing
Placing a warm compress on your eyes and then gently washing your eyelids with baby shampoo can help release the oil in your eyelids' glands, which will improve the quality of your tears. Just make sure you rinse all the soap away when you're finished.
7. Consider an omega-3 fatty acid supplement
Some people may find relief from dry eye by adding an omega-3 fatty acid to their diet. This nutrient is naturally found in oily fish, like salmon, sardines, anchovies and flax seed. Next time you're visiting the eye doctor, ask if you should take the supplements and in which dosage is right for you.
Dry eye can be a chronic condition, so being able to manage it can help make you feel better. If you're bothered by this symptom, talk to your eye doctor and see which course of treatment is best for you.
Which of these tips will you try next time you have dry eye?