The lack of adequate lubrication on the eye’s surface characterizes dry eye syndrome, which is a common condition affecting many people. In 2011, the Allergan Dry Eye Survey of more than 2,400 adults revealed that 48 percent of American adults regularly went through the symptoms of dry eyes, including redness, scratchiness, and burning sensation.
But don’t let dry eyes deter you from enjoying the convenience of wearing contact lenses. You might have been planning to pick up a nice pair of contact lenses online to either replace or supplement your prescription glasses. Depending on what causes your dry eye syndrome, you can readily manage the scratchy feeling that accompanies it. Simple lifestyle tweaks, as well as the application of soothing eye drops, can help provide relief for dry eyes.
The causes of dry eyes are varied. A dusty and windy environment can contribute to or exacerbate it. Some dry eye cases involve the partial or defective closure of the eyelids, while some are caused by eyelid disease or tear gland deficiency. The lachrymal or other glands in the eye may not produce sufficient tears to lubricate the eye. It is also possible that the chemical composition of the tears makes them evaporate quickly, leaving the eye uncomfortably dry. Aging, menopause, and side effects of certain medications are all potential causes. Sometimes, dry eyes can also point to underlying systemic health problems, including lupus, ocular rosacea, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Another likely cause of dry eyes is the long-term wearing of contact lenses. In fact, people who don contacts have dry eyes syndrome as their most common complaint. But if you must wear contact lenses almost every day, what can you do to alleviate the discomfort brought about by this condition?
One, make changes according to the weather conditions in your area. If you go outside where the wind is dry and dusty, protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses with wide and close-fitting frames. Sunglasses help keep out irritants. Choose wrap-style frames because they prevent dust and wind from entering behind the lenses. Also, research indicates that cold temperatures can cause dry eyes. So, when going outside during winter, protect your eyes with goggles.
Two, if you are in the office or in your home where an air conditioner or a dry heater constantly runs, you might want to blink frequently. Blinking can refresh the eyes after staring for hours at a computer screen or a reading material. You might also want to rest your eyes after every few hours or so.
Three, consume a lot of oily heart-friendly fish, such as salmon, anchovies, and sardines. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition detailed the findings of Harvard Medical School researchers, who discovered that women who had the most omega-3 fatty acids in their diet had up to 34-percent lowered risk for developing dry eye syndrome. Talk to your doctor first before you take omega-3 supplements.
And four, consult with an eye care professional about getting prescription drops to help deal with your chronic dry eye syndrome. Vasoconstrictors for eliminating redness are not safe for long-term use. They are also not effective. Always talk to a doctor first so you can get the treatment addressing the cause of your eyes’ dryness and scratchiness.
About the author:
Elizabeth Garvey is an allergist. She frequently writes about how to overcome allergy symptoms.
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