Tell us if the following scenario sounds familiar:
You’ve spent the entire day working on your computer, and now you experience an uncomfortable sensation in your eyes. They feel stingy and scratchy like you’ve got sand grains in your eyes. The pollution and lack of proper hydration further accentuate the burning sensation.
Whether we’re talking about occasional or mild dry eye symptoms, or chronic keratoconjunctivitis sicca (also known as the dry eye syndrome,) the result is downright unpleasant, even if it does not represent a significant health concern.
Nevertheless, our eyes are extremely sensitive, and the smallest dirt particle can affect our vision. But in the case of dry eyes, you’ve got no visible enemy to blame like when I see floaters, and no external culprit to wash out with tons of water. The problem is that your lacrimal glands fail to produce enough tears to maintain a healthy eye surface.
Whether you’ve spent too much time in front of your computer, watched television for hours on end or were exposed to harsh weather, you can follow these self-care remedies to obtain relief:
Use Warm Compresses
A heated sterile cloth imbued with water can help soothe your eyes. You may not be able to use this simple trick while at work, but you can do it as soon as you get home, especially if you decide to take a bath and relax with your eyes shut.
Wash Your Eyelids
If you don’t feel like placing a warm cloth on your face, you can try washing your eyelids with baby shampoo. Products created for children have a less harsh effect, so they can stimulate the oil release in your eyelids’ glands, thus helping with the production of tears. You just have to rinse the product carefully after you’re done washing your eyes.
Apply Artificial Tears
The great thing about artificial tears is that they bring instant relief. Moreover, tear supplements like drops, ointments or gels don’t need a visit to the doctor to get a prescription; you can just get them over the counter. However, we recommend you protect your eyes by purchasing a preservative-free brand.
Wear Special Shades
You should talk to an optician if your eyes are dry most of the time. He or she can prescribe you indoor protection for your eyes, which you can use at the office, in the comfort of your home, or even during a night out. He/she might recommend chamber glasses or a pair of goggles that can maintain a higher level of moisture around your eyes.
Turn the Humidifier On
A humidifier adds moisture to the room and traps it for longer. When the air is humid, tears don’t evaporate as fast as in a dry environment, preventing your eyes from getting excessively dry.
Humidifiers are particularly useful during the winter season when the indoor heating makes the atmosphere arid. It’s also an efficient way to avoid dryness from the air conditioning during summer.
Eat Healthy Fats
Experts in nutrition have discovered that Omega-3 fats keep the moisture locked in the cells of the body, including the retina.
Healthy fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines, and albacore tuna, as well as flaxseeds and walnuts, have been shown to improve tear quality and decrease inflammation in dry eyes.
Ban Cigarette Smoke
We don’t need to tell you that breathing in second-hand smoke can affect your overall health. But, when there’s a cigarette burning near you, the first negative reaction you will feel is in your eyes. They become red and dry.
Ask the person near you to abstain from smoking in your presence. If that’s not possible, then open a window and leave the room until the air clears.
Trying any of these self-help methods can prove immediately efficient, or at least they can yield results after several days and nights. If the inconvenient symptoms persist, you should pay your eye care professional, a visit.
Sometimes the culprit behind dry eyes can be related to a health problem, such as hypertension, hormone imbalances or even depression. Only an expert can help you pin down the cause and find the right remedy.