(BPT) – Do you sometimes experience gritty, scratchy, watery eyes, or even blurry vision? If so, you could be one of the 30 million Americans with dry eye disease. Unfortunately, spending more time on your phone, TV, computer or other electronic devices may increase those symptoms.
Dry eye has a number of causes, including increased screen time, age, underlying medical conditions or medication use, ocular surgery, aqueous deficiency and Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) — a condition where the glands in your eyelid that produce oils that help to protect your eyes become clogged. Other conditions that can exacerbate your dry eye symptoms include wearing contact lenses and your environment.
“Dry eye has always been a serious issue for those who experience its symptoms, but it has become more and more of a problem due to increased screen time and usage of face masks due to the pandemic,” said Dr. Walt Whitley, optometrist and ‘Dry Eye Coach.’ “The use of face masks paired together with prolonged use of digital devices is giving rise to increased reports of dry eyes in a large number of patients.”
Here are some tips for relieving dry eye symptoms, and when you should talk to your eye doctor.
1. Schedule frequent eye breaks
Try following the 20/20/20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
2. Use over-the-counter eye drops for relief
Over-the-counter dry eye drops are a great option to replenish the eye’s natural moisture. One example, SYSTANE® COMPLETE, can be used for the temporary relief of burning and irritation, and it provides fast relief of all major types of dry eye. This soothing and protective eye drop uses nano-droplet technology to deliver moisture over the entire surface of the eye. These eye drops can be a convenient option because you can take it with you and alleviate your symptoms quickly, no matter where you are.
If you are having persistent or worsening symptoms, talk to your eye doctor.
3. Protect your eyes outdoors
Taking care of your eyes in a variety of ways can help minimize dry eye symptoms. Small changes like wearing wraparound sunglasses when you’re outdoors to reduce exposure to wind and the sun can help, especially on windy days.
In addition, try to stay indoors when the air quality is especially poor. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, people living in areas with a higher level of air pollution may be more likely to suffer from dry eye symptoms.
4. Care for your eyes indoors
Regular practices such as these can help safeguard your eyes while you’re inside:
- Use a humidifier to keep the air from drying out
- Avoid smoking or being near smoke, as it can dry out eyes
- Apply a clean, warm compress on your eyes to help unclog the eyelid’s glands
- Gently clean your eyelids every day to remove makeup and other potential irritants
- Stay hydrated to help reduce dry eye symptoms, as your body needs moisture to create tears
Visit Systane.com today to learn more about how to prevent and relieve your dry eye symptoms.