What is Dry Eyes?

Dry eyes is a topic that is becoming increasingly prevalent in our society. We hear about it more frequently nowadays, and it seems to have suddenly become a significant issue. This blog post was inspired by a recent conversation I had with a mummy friend. She mentioned that her young daughter was diagnosed with dry eyes, which was attributed to excessive use of electronic devices. But what exactly is dry eyes? It is characterised by an uncomfortable and gritty sensation, and it is a concern that many people, including myself, experience. I have been wearing contact lenses for over 20 years now, so I understand first-hand the discomfort that dry eyes can bring. Dry eyes are now also referred to as ocular surface disease. This condition occurs when the eyes fail to produce an adequate amount of tears or tears of good quality, which are essential for maintaining healthy and comfortable eyes. Although dry eyes are more commonly observed in women, particularly during the post-menopausal period, it can affect anyone

Environmental Impact on Dry Eyes

Living conditions significantly influence dry eye symptoms. Urban areas with high air pollution levels and regions at higher altitudes, where air is drier, see a higher prevalence of dry eye symptoms. To mitigate these environmental effects, experts recommend:

Using Air Filters: Particularly in polluted or dry areas, a high-quality air filter can help reduce indoor air pollutants.

Humidifiers: Adding moisture to your indoor environment can alleviate dry eye discomfort.

Lifestyle Adjustments for Dry Eye Relief

Did you know adjusting daily habits can significantly impact dry eye management?

Wind and Sun Protection: Wearing wraparound sunglasses in windy conditions helps protect eyes from drying out.

Avoiding Smoke: Smoke, especially from cigarettes, can exacerbate dry eye symptoms. Steering clear of smoke is advised for those susceptible to dry eyes.

Reducing device usage: It can be challenging, as it has become an integral part of our daily lives. With the increasing prevalence of working in front of a computer for extended periods, it’s more important than ever to prioritise our eye health. Always keep eye drops on hand, particularly in office environments, and be sure to take regular breaks to blink and look away from the screen.

Practical Tips for Managing Dry Eyes

Several strategies can help manage dry eye symptoms effectively:

Frequent Breaks and Blinking: Regular breaks from screen time and ensuring you blink often can help maintain eye moisture.

Artificial Tears: Over-the-counter artificial tears provide immediate relief. For frequent use, preservative-free options are recommended.

Omega-3 Supplements: Dietary supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids, found in oily fish and flax seeds, may offer symptom relief.

Eyelid Care: Warm compresses and careful eyelid cleaning can improve tear quality (one of my fav!)

I am not an opticians or have medical knowledge but some of the above is based on research I have done and my own personal experience as a glasses and contact lens wearer. Ocular surface disease requires ongoing management. If your dry eye symptoms persist or interfere with daily life then you need to visit your local opticians for advice and get help because it can cause damage to your eye which could impact your vision. Look after your eyes!