If your eyes are unable to produce adequate quantity and proper consistency of tears, you may be one of the 5 million people in the US who suffer from dry eye syndrome. Although dry eye syndrome can occur in men and women at any age, it is more common in older people and in women.
What is Dry Eye?
Dry eye is a condition when your eyes are unable to produce tears required to nourish or lubricate your eyes. It is also referred to as keratoconjunctivitis or dry eye syndrome.
Typically, a layer of tears coats your eyes to keep them lubricated. This layer also restricts dust and other irritants to enter your eyes. If your eyes lack this layer of tears, you are susceptible to dry eye syndrome.
What Causes Dry Eyes?
The common causes that lead to dry eyes are as follows:
- Dysfunctional tear glands
- Constant exposure to dry air or wind
- Use of medications, such as decongestants, antihistamines, antidepressants, or contraceptive pills
- Not blinking for a long time
- Previous eye surgery
- Constant staring at the computer screen
- Vitamins A and D deficiency
- Pregnancy and hormonal therapy
- Long-term use of contact lens
- Medical conditions like allergies, arthritis, hypothyroidism, and immune system disorders
There are a number of tips and home remedies for dry eyes, which can reduce the symptoms and prevent the condition. Let’s take a look at them.
- Blink regularly
Don’t take blinking for granted. The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) recommends people with dry eyes to blink consciously and regularly. Blinking helps renew the tear film, thus protecting and moisturizing your eyes.
- Take frequent computer breaks
Staring at things up close strains your eyes. Take breaks to rest your eyes. The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) recommends the 20-20-20 rule. After every 20 minutes you stare at the computer screen, spend at least 20 seconds looking at something 20 feet away.
- Take care while washing your eyes
While washing your eyes, take care to close your eyes and gently massage with mild cleansers. Rinse with lukewarm or cool water. This method is recommended before applying a warm compress.
- Apply warm compresses
Warm compresses help your eyelids to produce more lipids, thus boosting the tear quality and reducing the dry eye symptoms. Make sure your compresses are prepared in a clean and sterile environment.
- Change diet and sleeping habits
A diet free of gluten can be beneficial in reducing dry eye symptoms as it eliminates foods that lead to inflammation.
Sleep deprivation is also known to reduce tear secretion and impair the tear film. Reduce consumption of caffeine and alcohol to inculcate good sleeping habits.
- Administer fish oil
The anti-inflammatory property of omega-3-fatty acids helps treat dry eye. This omega-3-fatty acid, which is abundantly present in fish oil, can help renew your tear film and help you get rid of dry eye symptoms. Consult your doctor to determine the fish oil dosage for your condition.
- Place chilled cucumber slices on your eyes
Cucumbers have rich water content and can help soothe your eyes. They have vitamin D, which is known to help treat dry eyes.
Chill the cucumbers, cut them into slices, and then put them on your closed eyes 2 to 3 times in a day.
- Make use of essential oils
The anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of essential oils provide instant soothing and relief from dry eye symptoms.
Add a few drops of lavender oil or chamomile oil to a cup of water. Mix well. Then dip a washcloth into this solution. Squeeze out the excess water and place the washcloth on your eyes for 10 minutes at least thrice daily.