Keeping Your Eyes Moist
Because dry eye can be caused by both environmental and medical factors, there are a number of steps one can take to lower their risk for developing dry eye as well as mitigate existing symptoms.
1. Manage environmental factors
Avoid environments with a lot of air movement, such as windy areas, and wear sunglasses to prevent the wind from drying your eyes out. If possible, limit your use indoors of fans or hair dryers. Humidifiers can also go a long way in keeping the air around you moist, particularly in the winter.
2. Avoid smoking
As if you needed another reason to quit smoking! Along with the plethora of health conditions brought on by smoking, smokers are also twice as likely to develop dry eye syndrome. Second-hand smoke can also lead to the proliferation of dry eye for those around you. The damage to your vision doesn't end there, though - smokers are twice as likely to develop cataracts and three times as likely to develop age-related macular degeneration.
3. Supplement with Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Some individuals report dry eye relief after adding omega-3 fatty acids to their diet. These can be found naturally in foods like oily fish and flax seeds, but can also be purchased in liquid or pill form.
Dry Eye in the Digital Age
As many as 60% of Americans spend 5 hours or more in front of smartphones, laptops and other digital devices. While many of us think of this device usage as just a consequence of 21st century living, our reliance on technology can leave our peepers parched. Fortunately, there are ways to lessen the damage without tossing out your smartphone:
1. Follow the 20/20/20 rule.
Take a 20-second break from your digital device every 20 minutes and look at something 20 feet away. Set an alarm on your smartphone as a reminder.
2. Make sure you blink!
Normally, we blink every twenty seconds or so. Blinking releases a tear film that coats your eyes and helps keep them moist. However, we don’t blink as often when we’re on the computer or watching television.
3. Check your posture and adjust the brightness.
Make sure you’re sitting at least 25 inches away from the screen while you work. If possible, lower the screen brightness to a setting so that it's not the brightest object in the room.