Dry eyes has come to be quite a common ailment across geographies and is associated with symptoms of burning, itchy eyes, redness, pain, and ocular fatigue. Find out how you can keep your eyes moisturized to keep the symptoms at bay.

Ever wondered why we blink when we blink? It is such a simple action, but has some major consequences on the overall heath of our eyes! Our eyes need to remain hydrated at all times in order to function perfectly, because a lack of moisture creates irritation and distortion in the vision.




Blinking causes tear ducts to release tears and layer the eyes at frequent intervals. Lack of hydration by the tears causes dry eyes. It has sadly become a common ailment across geographies and is associated with symptoms of burning eyes, itchy eyes, redness, pain, and ocular fatigue. Dry eyes can also be caused due to eye surgeries like cataract and corneal laser refractive surgery, irregularities of the tear duct, exposure to adverse (low humidity) environments and use of contact lenses over long periods of time among many other possible reasons. Keeping the eyes hydrated is, therefore, important for everyone and more so for those suffering from the symptoms listed below:

The right lubricating drops: If you are already suffering from dry eyes, it must all start with a thorough eye examination and your ophthalmologist prescribing the right eye lubricant or tear drops for you. These lubricants can also be in the form of thick gels and ointments that are usually applied only at night, as they will interfere with the vision. Eye drops that induce tears are simplest to use and can be administered any time during the day as frequently as prescribed by the doctor. Eye lubrication is considered the most effective when trying to alleviate dry eye issues1.

Changes in your immediate environment: Drop in humidity levels can be a major irritant to the eyes. Long-term exposure to artificial heating that reduces water vapour in the air, air conditioners that are known to dry surroundings whilst bringing down temperatures or simple ceiling fans that blow dry and worsen the situation for a dry eye patient; all these should be avoided or at least used in moderation, when you are suffering from dry eyes.

Eyelid Care: Clogged or inflamed glands called meibomian,2 is a common cause of dryness in the eyes. If you suffer from dry eyes and notice a crust like formation on the lash line, you can take care of it immediately by activating the oil glands in the area. Start with a daily gentle cleansing ritual using special lid cleaning products and move on to applying a warm compress across the eyes for about 5 minutes daily. The warm compress helps in secretion of oils and helps to retain optimum eye moisture levels.




Lifestyle changes: Too much screen time is a by-product of today’s lifestyle and unfortunately, in many cases, leads to dry eyes. When you watch TV or look at a computer screen, you tend to blink lesser, therefore decreasing the secretion of the tear film on the eye and hence you are prone to experiencing dry eye symptoms. Limiting screen time and taking frequent breaks off the screen helps retain moisture in the eyes. Small steps over a period of time can greatly reduce the chances of suffering from hydration issues of the eyes.

Keeping the eyes moisturized is the key to avoiding eye problems like redness, itchiness and irritation that are all signs of dry eyes. Unless the dry eyes condition is caused by reasons like eye surgeries or age, keeping the eyes moisturized by the methods above can greatly help reduce the chances of contracting dry eye syndrome in general.



References: 
1Craig JP, Purslow C, Murphy PJ et al. 2010, Effect of a liposomal spray on the pre-ocular tear film. Contact Lens Ant Eye, 33: 83–7.
2Meibomian Gland Dysfunction and Treatment — AAPOS (Slide 12)

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