Dealing With Dry Eye Disease: Tips and Tricks

In recognition of a prevalent issue affecting nearly 16 million Americans, July has been officially designated as “Dry Eye Awareness Month” by the leading nonprofit and eye health organization Prevent Blindness. Dry eye, a common ocular condition, arises when there is an insufficient production of tear film, improper drainage of tears, or tears of inadequate quality to sustain eye health. The risk factors for this condition are diverse, encompassing age, hormonal changes, environmental influences, prolonged screen use, contact lens wear, and specific medical conditions.

If left unaddressed, dry eye can lead to corneal damage, which underscores the importance of effective management strategies. This article delves into four practical tips and tricks for managing dry eye, offering insights into accessible approaches to foster eye health.

Choose comfortable eye drops

One of the most common and immediate ways to manage dry eyes is through the use of eye drops. However, these eye drops may initially sting or burn upon usage, and this can deter patients from using the medication consistently.

Therefore, eye doctors highlight that comfort is crucial for ensuring compliance. Jade Coats, OD from McDonald Eye Associates, recommends the iVizia (Thea) artificial tears. The unique formulation is preservative-free and includes ingredients like povidone, hyaluronic acid, and trehalose to hydrate and protect the eyes. These drops can help relieve symptoms such as a gritty feeling, burning sensation, and irritation in the long run.

Wear wraparound sunglasses

Wraparound sunglasses are designed to fortify your eyes against the onslaught of wind and dry air, creating a barrier that retains essential moisture. Notably, some models go the extra mile, featuring inserts that effectively seal out external air while maintaining a humid environment. Traditionally, they were developed for sports, with brands such as Oakley becoming hugely popular.

You can also consider adding UV lens technology to reduce eye irritation, as excessive UV radiation can trigger inflammatory responses in the eyes and intensify dry eye symptoms. When in doubt, choose from a reputable eyewear brand, and that doesn’t mean just a sports brand. The Ray-Ban sunglasses collection includes popular models like Predator Two and Top Bar that are not traditionally associated with outdoor events. Wraparound sunglasses may have been developed for cyclists and skiers, but Ray-Ban’s range (and others) underlines how they have adapted for everyday use on the beach or out in the street.

Embrace eye masks

By delivering controlled warmth to the eyelids, eye masks promote improved hydration, aid in enhancing oil production from the meibomian glands, and contribute to the reduction of inflammation. These are all key elements in the multifaceted approach to managing dry eyes. Eye masks can easily be used before bed and come with various heating mechanisms to cater to individuals with different lifestyles.

One of the most common mechanisms is microwave heating. However, novel approaches are now self-heating. This can be observed in EyeGiene’s Insta-Warmth System, wherein warming wafers activate upon exposure to air. These wafers are consequently tucked into a pouched eye mask and placed over the eyes for immediate relief from dry eye discomfort.

Consider fish oil supplements

The omega-3s in fish oil demonstrate anti-inflammatory properties that can significantly contribute to alleviating discomfort. Moreover, these oils demonstrate an ability to enhance the function of the eye’s meibomian glands, responsible for producing the oily component of tears.

While you can definitely partake in a diet rich in fish oil, taking supplements offers a convenient and more comprehensive solution. Brands like Calgee Vegan Omega-3 and HydroEye Softgels contain a unique combination of GLA, EPA, and DHA. The former especially caters to those with a vegan lifestyle, showcasing how supplements offer accessible options for those with diverse dietary preferences.

Incorporating these tips can contribute to relieving symptoms and promoting better eye health. Always consult with an eye care professional to tailor these strategies to your specific needs and ensure the most effective dry eye management plan.

For more great articles like this, be sure to bookmark our Durango Downtown health section.

Post courtesy of CJ Hankins
Outreach Executive

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