Tears play a vital role in keeping our eyes lubricated, nourished as well as providing clear vision. The eyes produce tears all day long to maintain moisture in the eyes and wash away dust. Tears also contain antibodies that help to fight infection. When you lack sufficient moisture and lubrication, your eyes develop the dry eye syndrome. Dry eye is uncomfortable and can be very painful. If you feel pain, irritation and a burning sensation in your eyes, you should see a doctor immediately. Other symptoms include red eyes, blurred vision, and light sensitivity. This is a common eye condition and possible causes include allergy, contacts, aging, certain health conditions and environmental factors among others. Here are effective ways to relieve the dry eye syndrome.
When you stare at your computer for long hours, you limit the number of times your eyes blink. Every time you blink, your eyes renew the tear film, which is responsible for moisturizing the eyes. On average, a person should blink between 10 to 15 times every 60 seconds. Computer use may reduce this number significantly. To prevent your eyes from opening too wide, place your screen below the eye level.
Use Eye Drops or Gels
Eye drops or artificial tears and ointments are over the counter prescriptions that can temporarily relieve the pain or itchy eyes. The artificial tears lubricate your eyes and provide the required moisture. Ointments are thicker than eye drops and are effective for longer. However, they may impair your vision and it’s ideal to use them at night when retiring to bed.
Eye drops and ointments should be used with care. Most of them have preservatives to prevent bacteria from contaminating the fluid once you open the vial. If an eye drop causes a bad reaction, consider switching to preservative-free vials which come in single-dose vials.
Eat Oily Fish
Fish oil is an essential omega-3 fatty acid that is known to reduce inflammation, thereby allowing the production of high-quality tears. This provides relief to eye irritation. Eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as natural oily fish, flaxseed, and walnuts is safe and beneficial when it comes to vision. Remember to consult your doctor before you start taking a new supplement to prevent complications, especially if you’re on medication.
Certain environmental conditions such as smoke and wind can cause dry eyes. Avoid exposing yourself to cigarette smoke and stay indoors when it gets windy. Use wraparound glasses and other protective eyewear if you ride a bike, a motorcycle, a convertible or you go skiing. Additionally, prevent excess air from blowing your eyes by reducing the speed of ceiling fan or oscillating fan.
The Meibomian glands secrete meibum, an oil which keeps your eyes moist. When these oil-producing glands are clogged, the eye film evaporates too fast, causing dry eyes. Warm compresses on the eyelids will soften the meibum improving its flow. Gently massage the edge of the eyelid using your finger to drain the oils. You may have to do this at least twice a day to reduce eye inflammation.
Drink Enough Water
Drinking the required eight to 10 glasses of water daily keeps your body hydrated, including your eyes. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty because it means you’re already dehydrated. Keep a bottle or glass of water with you to sip all day long.
Using a home heating system can dry out the air indoors and dry out your eyes too. A humidifier helps to keep the air moist and clean. This may help reduce the dry eye syndrome symptoms. Air pollution and dry air contribute to dry eyes, that’s why humidifiers and air filters can be helpful.
Change Your Diet and Sleeping Habits
Sleep deprivation is unhealthy and can lead to many health complications, including the dry eye disease. When you sleep, the tear film refreshes and tear secretion is optimized. Most of your body cells also rejuvenate, that’s why lack of sleep can leave you feeling weak, fatigued and red-eyed. Similarly, lowering your caffeine and alcohol intake will help alleviate the dry eye syndrome. Doctors recommend that you change your diet and opt for gluten-free diets and foods that have anti-inflammatory properties.
Eye health is important in maintaining and improving your vision. While dry eyes don’t have a cure, employing the tips mentioned above will help you relieve the discomfort and pain. Talk to your doctors to suggest the most effective treatments for dry eyes. Observing proper hygiene when handling your eyes should also be a priority to prevent bacterial infection.
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