Winter is almost upon us, and the hot, humid days of summer are a distant memory. It’s now the season of winter coats and arid temperatures. Along with that cold, blustery wind comes the stinging, burning sensation of dry eyes.
Millions of Americans are affected by dry eye syndrome, a condition that occurs when the body does not produce enough tears to keep the eyes moist. More women suffer from dry eye syndrome than men, and this is partly due to the fact that menopause can cause increased dryness in the eyes. Although more elderly individuals experience dry eye than young people, dry eye can affect anyone at any age.
It is easy to dismiss dry eye as just a bothersome condition, but if you experience dry eye on a regular basis, you should visit your eye doctor. Dry eye that goes undiagnosed can lead to eye problems, so it is best to schedule an appointment with your eye doctor. Here are some common symptoms of dry eye syndrome:
- Pain and redness in the eye
- Stinging or burning sensation
- Gritty or sandy feeling as if a foreign object was in the eye
- Inability to cry
- Blurred vision
- Decreased ability to read or work on the computer
- Eye fatigue
- Even a watery eye from reflex tearing
If you have been diagnosed with dry eye or think that you may have dry eye, you have probably tried many brands of rewetting drops or artificial tears. These over-the-counter products work temporarily, but they are not treating the cause of your dry eye. They are merely alleviating the symptoms.
Do you want to find real relief? The solution is to get the root of the problem. There are several modifications that you can make to treat the cause of your dry eye. These treatments are natural and may benefit your overall health, which is always a bonus!
- Reduce screen time. Your work may require you to spend multiple hours in front of the computer during weekdays, but you can reduce symptoms of dry eye by taking regular breaks during the day. You can also cut your screen time after work but limiting the time you spend on your phone and tablet.
- Quit smoking and avoid exposure to cigarette smoke. Toxins in cigarettes dry the eyes, so you will find immediate relief if you avoid cigarette smoke.
- Reduce alcohol intake. Alcohol can be drying to the eyes, so limit alcohol to an occasional drink.
- Try supplements. Omega-3 fatty acids strengthen the oily layer in your eyes, which slows the evaporation of tears. Maqui berry extract (a berry in South America) can help reduce damage to tear glands and enhance tear production (Source: Henderson Daily News).
- Add foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids to your diet. Salmon, walnuts and flaxseeds are three foods that are high in omega-3s and can help prevent tear evaporation.
- Wear your glasses. Contacts can increase eye irritation, so give your eyes a break and wear your glasses more often. Maybe you want to even choose a fun, trendy pair of frames the next time you visit your eye doctor. Sport some style and improve your dry eye at the same time!