A few months ago, we listed the top 10 most common vision problems, the second of which was dry eyes. At this time of year, it’s something you may choose to ignore, writing the condition off as environmental. A dry building, a windy street corner.
But is it more? The following is a synopsis of the condition and how to address it, as described by the Mayo Clinic.
First of all, what’s the issue?
Tears are a mixture of water, oils and mucus. The problem could be that your ducts aren’t making enough tears. Or the tears you produce evaporate too fast.
The reasons for either cause are many. Sure, it could be a dry atmosphere, like a plane or sealed building in winter. But it could be anything from your age to your diet.
The condition is often accompanied by a burning, stinging or itchiness. The eyes often combat the condition with excessive wateriness. Which sounds counterintuitive when you’re supposed to be talking about dry eyes.
Other symptoms? You also may be sensitive to light (like when you go outdoors on a bright winter day with the snow reflecting and amplifying the brightness), have trouble seeing driving at night, or suffer from blurred vision.
Who is at risk?
Women and older people are more susceptible. A diet low in vitamin A and omega-3 fats also increases your likeliness to suffer dry eyes. So, does wearing contact lenses.
Untreated, dryness could lead to eye infections and possibly even permanent damage to the surface of your eye.
What can you do?
Get a humidifier in winter. Avoid blowing warm air into your eyes (either with your hair dryer or your car’s heater). Quit smoking and avoid smoky areas.
Take breaks from long spells at the computer. We blink less when we concentrate for extended periods.
Lower your computer monitor below eye level. Looking down, your eyes won’t open as widely as front-on. Then, with less area to moisturize, your eyes aren’t as strained.
If you often suffer from dry eyes, use eyedrops continually, including before any irritation hits.
If the condition persists, talk to us or your doctor. Being able to create tears healthily is no laughing matter.