Hope you are all doing well!
A few weeks ago I noticed that I had developed red squiggly lines in the whites of my eyes. As the days passed I noticed that I was getting more and more of these red squiggly lines.
I became a little concerned and I scheduled an appointment with an eye doctor. Side note: I hadn’t been to an eye doctor in about 20 years.
The eye doctor performed a full medical eye exam and fortunately overall my eyes were in good health but the major problem was that I had a moderate case of dry eye.
After coming home and doing some research about dry eyes I learned that dry eyes are a very common eye concern among individuals of all ages including children. However, it is especially common among older adults.
Basically dry eyes occur when your tears are not able to properly lubricate your eyes. This can either occur if your eyes don’t produce enough tears or if they produce poor quality tears. Human tears contain water, lubricating oils, mucus and antibodies.
Dry eyes usually affect both eyes and the following are some symptoms:
- Itchy or burning feeling in your eyes
- Mucus in or around your eyes
- Eye redness
- Sensitivity to Light
- Feeling like something (like sand) is in your eye
- Difficulty wearing contact lenses
- Poor night vision
- Excessively watery eyes
- Blurry vision and fatigue
Simply dipping a clean washcloth in warm water, wringing out the excess water and placing it on your eyes for around ten minutes a day can really help with irritation that comes with dry eyes.
The only problem with this method is that after a minute or so the heat will evaporate from the washcloth and it won’t be as warm. In order for a warm compress to gradually reduce dry eye irritation there must be a consistently warm washcloth on the eyes.
One solution is to simply continue to dip the washcloth in warm water whenever it cools off. A slightly more costly but convenient solution is to purchase an eye mask (they usually go for around $20) and just microwave it and place it on your eyes and it will keep a consistently warm temperature.
Unfortunately, one common side effect of dry eyes is crusty eye lashes. In my case, it looked like I had dandruff on my eyelashes, also some people may notice particle buildup near the edges of their eyes. Over time this can lead to further inflammation so it is important to clean the eyelids and the surrounding skin. My eye doctor recommended using baby shampoo. Simply put some baby shampoo on your fingertips and massage your closed eyes especially near the base of your eye lashes.
One of the easiest possible remedies for dry eyes is to simply blink more. However, when we are staring at a screen for a prolonged period of time it is very easy to forget to blink. Some people swear by sticking notes with blink reminders on their laptops or computers.
Consume More Omega 3’s:
Research has shown that Omega 3’s can relieve many of the symptoms of dry eye by helping the oil glands in your eyes to work properly so that your eyes regain their natural moisture. Sardines, salmon, tuna, and mackerel all contain omega 3 fatty acids. Some other options include walnuts, flaxseed, and a variety of different vegetable oils such as canola and soybean oil.
This tip is also pretty obvious but what some of us may not realize is that staying hydrated can also help your eyes stay moist. The necessary water intake varies for every person but in general eight to ten glasses is a good goal to aim for. Certain water rich foods such as cucumber, oranges, and watermelon can also go a long way in helping you stay hydrated.
Wind Shield Your Eyes:
Particularly windy and dry weather can cause your tears to evaporate more quickly. If the weather is especially windy it might be helpful to wear wrap around sunglasses to give your eyes extra protection. Also, when you are at home make sure to protect your eyes from hair blow dryers, air conditioners, and fans which can all be drying to your eyes.
Use Eye Drops with Caution:
Before going to my eye doctor I had no idea that I had dry eyes. I purchased redness relieving eye drops but unfortunately these did not help much and they made the pain much worse. After doing more research on eye drops I have learned that it is best to avoid redness reducing eye drops as much as possible because these eye drops only temporarily reduce redness and in the long term the more you use these redness relieving eye drops the more your eyes will become dependent on them.
These eye drops work by temporarily relaxing the blood vessels in our eyes to hide the redness for a short period of time. Basically the more we use these redness relieving eye drops the more dependent our blood vessels will get and the more often we will need to use these eye drops.
Now, when it comes to dry eyes, not all eye drops are bad. My eye doctor recommended that I use Refresh Celluvisc eye drops which are very lubricating eye drops that help to keep the surface of the eye moist. Many people also recommend artificial tears for dry eyes. When using these types of eye drops always try to go for the preservative free eye drops to avoid any irritation and other harmful side effects of the preservatives.
Since dry eyes are amongst the most common eye concerns for many people I hope that this post will be of benefit.