Scratchy, itchy, watery eyes can be a symptom of dry eye. And with so many hours spent indoors during the winter, dry eye irritation can worsen.
Keep reading to learn seven tips to follow to improve dry eye symptoms!
1. Drink More Water
Staying hydrated can help to keep your body healthy and your eyes free of infection. Hydration aids your body in producing better-quality tears so that every time you blink, the tear film that coats the surface of your eyes maintains moisture.
Healthy, moisturized eyes are better able to fight infection. To encourage drinking, keep a water bottle nearby all day long.
While there’s an ongoing debate over how much you should drink, sipping throughout the day benefits you from head to toe as well as your eyes.
2. Reduce Screen Time
Extended screen time can be harsh on the eyes. Long periods of staring at the screen of a computer, smartphone, or tablet can affect eye health. The sustained focus makes us blink less, which reduces the amount of moisture on the surface of the eye, leading to evaporation and a greater risk of dry eye.
If you have to spend long periods of time on a computer, take twenty. Set a timer to go off every 20 minutes, then look away from your screen at something that’s 20 feet away, counting up to a total of 20 seconds.
3. Avoid Sitting directly near heat sources.
Dry air is a problem in winter, especially if a heating system draws from indoor air, which is lower in humidity. Exposure to dry air or steady air flow can make dry eye symptoms worse.
To reduce dryness, try to sit further away from heating vents or units or use a humidifier in your home, office, or workplace.
4. Consume Enough Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Found in fish like mackerel, wild salmon, sardines, and herring, omega-3 fatty acids are essential and should be a regular part of your diet. Eat these types of fish at least twice a week for overall health, and they can also improve dry eye symptoms.
Don’t like fish? Take a supplement in pill or capsule form. Along with fish oils, flaxseed oils contain omega-3 fatty acids and other key nutrients that support eye health.
Or try taking the oil directly: studies show that oils are more easily absorbed by the body. Adding fish or flaxseed oil to salad dressing is an easy way to add omega-3s.
5. Try Warm Compresses
Applying moist heat to your irritated eyes is a surprisingly effective home remedy. Wet a clean washcloth with warm water, wring it out, close your eyes and apply the warm damp cloth to your eyelids for five to ten minutes.
This will not only soothe inflamed eyelids but also reduce stress, making you feel better overall.
6. Use Artificial Tears
Over-the-counter eyedrops and artificial tears are one way to keep your eyes moist and reduce discomfort. Look for preservative-free eyedrops; they’re a safer formulation.
Use them daily to lessen the symptoms of dry eye. If you need more moisture, use lubricating eye gels at bedtime.
They’re thicker and stay in the eye longer, but they can also blur your vision, so applying them just before you go to sleep is ideal.
7. Wear Sunglasses or Appropriate Eyewear
The easiest way to treat dry eye is to limit exposure to the elements such as sunlight, wind, or airborne particles such as dust or pollen. Wear sunglasses whenever you go outside.
Put on protective eyewear when doing yardwork, playing sports, or operating machinery that can propel debris in the air, such as sawdust. Both can help protect your eyes and reduce the chance of irritation.
Are you experiencing dry eye symptoms? Schedule an appointment at EyeHealth Northwest in Portland, OR, today!