Do your eyes ever feel dried out? If you have dry eyes, they may feel like they’re burning, gritty, and itchy.
If your eyes frequently feel this way, you may have a chronic eye condition called dry eye syndrome. Dry eye syndrome is something that millions of people suffer from.
It’s far more common than you may realize, especially in women and older adults. You can also trigger dry eyes and their frustrating symptoms with environmental conditions. If it’s drier outside, you’re dehydrated, or you’ve been wearing contacts for too long, these can cause dry eyes.
Whatever the cause of your dry eyes, there are many things you can do to alleviate symptoms. Keep reading to find out what you can do about your dry, itchy eyes right now!
Don’t Rub Them
It may be tempting, but if your eyes feel dry or irritated, one of the worst things you can do is rub them. Never rub your eyes, especially when they’re causing you discomfort.
Rubbing them will only irritate them more. Even when your fingers are clean, rubbing your eyes can bring in bacteria from around your eyes.
The bacteria can make them burn and itch more or even cause an infection. One of the most common causes of dry eyes is inflammation which can also be due to bacteria.
The more bacteria gets into your eyes, the more inflamed they’ll get. Before you do anything else, stop rubbing your eyes!
Use Artificial Tears
Instead of rubbing your eyes for immediate relief, try using artificial tears. These are sold over-the-counter at most drug stores.
You may also see them referred to as lubricating eye drops. When your eyes feel too dry, it can be because they aren’t getting enough moisture. Artificial tears help compensate for inadequate moisture from your natural tears. They can also reduce uncomfortable symptoms like stinging and burning.
Drink More Water
If you’re dehydrated, your body can have trouble producing tears and keeping your eyes comfortable. One way to fix this is by staying hydrated with water and electrolyte-restoring beverages.
Staying hydrated is good for your health and keeping your eyes healthy, especially in hot weather. Be sure to drink plenty of water this summer to have comfortable eyes, no matter what the temperature!
Take Screen Breaks
Blue light emitted by electronic screens can dry out your eyes. Protect yourself from blue light by taking regular screen breaks.
It can be hard to take extended breaks if you have to work on a computer. The good news is you can always follow the 20-20-20 rule.
Every 20 minutes, take 20 seconds to look at an object 20 feet away. Taking a brief break gives your eyes a quick rest and reminds you to blink.
Get More Omega-3 Fatty Acids
One of the best nutrients for eye and tear health is omega-3 fatty acids. You can find omega-3 fatty acids in fish, walnuts, chia seeds, and flax seeds.
You can eat more of these foods to get more omega-3 in your diet or take supplements like fish oil or flaxseed oil pills. Getting nutrients straight from food is usually more effective, but nutritional supplements are still effective and are often more convenient.
Always Wear Sunglasses Outdoors
UV rays from sunlight can damage your eyes and affect the health of your eyes in the long term. But they can also dry your eyes out.
To protect your eyes, be sure to wear sunglasses outdoors all year long, especially on sunny days. Also, be sure that any sunglasses you wear block out at least 99% of UVA and UVB rays for the most protection.
Be Careful with the AC
Air conditioning can relieve the oppressive summer heat, but having cold air blowing on you constantly can dry out your eyes. When you have the AC on, ensure you’re not directly in front of the vent for an extended period.
Also, be careful with fans and never set them up to blow directly on your face. Avoiding any hot or cold air blowing right in your face will keep your eyes from getting too dry.
When Home Remedies Aren’t Enough, Seek Treatment
These simple changes may give you some relief from dry eyes, but they may not be enough if you’re suffering from dry eye syndrome. If your symptoms persist, it’s time to see your eye doctor for diagnosis and treatment. At Loden Vision Centers, we offer several effective treatments for dry eye syndrome:
There are prescription eye drops that can help increase your tear production. Your eye doctor may also prescribe steroid eye drops to treat dry eye syndrome.
One common cause of dry eye syndrome is meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). MGD occurs when the meibomian glands, which produce a protective oil layer surrounding your tears, aren’t working correctly, usually due to inflammation.
Without the oil layer, your tears evaporate too quickly, causing dry eyes.
LipiFlow is a non-invasive form of light therapy that treats meibomian gland dysfunction. Using a device that emits a gentle light and heat just under the eyelids, LipiFlow helps soften clogged meibomian glands, allowing oil to flow through them normally again.
In severe cases of dry eye syndrome, your eye doctor may recommend a minimally invasive procedure called punctal occlusion. It involves plugging the puncta.
The puncta are the tear ducts located at the corner of your eye near your nose. By blocking off these ducts, tears cannot drain through them easily.
Your tears stay on the surface of your eyes longer and receive adequate lubrication. When diagnosed with dry eye syndrome, your ophthalmologist may suggest combining these treatments and the home remedies listed above.
Don’t hesitate to seek help for irritated dry eyes, whether or not you try these remedies first. Our professionals can make specific recommendations for self-treatment as well as professional treatment tailored to you and your needs.
Learn more about dry eyes and the best way to treat them by scheduling an appointment at Loden Vision Centers in Nashville, TN! It’s time to get the relief you’ve been looking for!