Living with Dry Eye can be a miserable experience that affects the sufferer's quality of life, every day and in many cases, every night too. The good news is that you can mitigate the symptoms by embracing an effective self-help dry eye routine.
To reduce the chances of developing dry eyes, to relieve your symptoms if you are already suffering, and to improve your body's natural ability to produce good quality tears, your daily routine for self-treating Dry Eye must contain these four key elements:
This is all about being kinder to your eyes by adapting your daily routine to lessen those activities and environmental conditions that make eyes dry.
You may not be able to change certain underlying factors that are making your eyes dry (such as age, hormonal changes, prescribed medicines for conditions such as high blood pressure or depression, Sjogren's etc).
But there are lifestyle factors that contribute to Dry eye that you may be able to change that will directly reduce your symptoms.
Lifestyle changes that can help to keep your eyes less dry
In the modern world there has been a proliferation in the number of man made environments that are hostile to the eyes and which have led to an increase in dry eyes and eye allergies. For example the number of over-heated or air conditioned environments and the amount of pollution in the air.
You may be able to make practical lifestyle changes to be kinder on your eyes:
- Try ways to get a better night's sleep. You may find a dry eye sleep mask helps you sleep more comfortably, for longer, and with less interruptions
- During the day, have some relaxation time away from your PC screen and without a mobile phone nearby.
- It's worth learning how to do TM (Transcendental Meditation) as it brings particularly strong recuperative benefits, including giving your eyes a boost
- Try to avoid where possible locations that you know will cause your dry eye symptoms to flare up.
- Avoid blowing air from fans, heaters or air conditioners.
- Take regular short breaks to rest your eyes when using a computer screen, tablet or mobile.
- Look away from the display periodically and blink 10 times slowly. This will help to spread your tears evenly over your eyes.
- Reduce the overall time each day that you are looking at a PC, tablet, or mobile display.
- Reduce the height of your PC screen to just below eye level.
- This means that you won't have to open your eyes so wide, which will in turn reduce tear evaporation.
- Use an up to date optical prescription if you need to wear glasses.
- Take out contact lenses if you wear them and wear glasses for the remainder of the day to rest your eyes - particularly when working at a computer and during the evening hours when your eyes are tired.
- Incorporate foods into your diet that promote eye health including those rich in:
- Omega-3, such as oily fish, spinach, broccoli, walnuts and kale
- Potassium, such as yogurt, sweet potatoes, and bananas
- Drink sufficient water to keep your body hydrated throughout the day, particularly on warm, sunny days and after exercise.
- Use a humidifier to stop the air in the room getting dry, or place a container of water on top of your radiator when the heating is on.
For many people it is difficult to make major lifestyle changes - for example if your job is mainly screen based - but even small changes can make a noticeable difference to the comfort of your eyes.
If you suffer from dry eyes, you will need to use methods of relieving your symptoms on a daily basis. This is important not only for immediate comfort but also to avoid serious eye complications from untreated dry eyes such as corneal erosion.
There are numerous tools available for relieving dry eyes at home. These include artificial methods such as using eye drops that are prescribed by your doctor or eye consultant alongside natural methods such as moisture chamber glasses and goggles.
- Wearing Moisture chamber glasses is increasingly recognised as the best way to relieve dry eye symptoms at home, at work, or when travelling.
- Wearing Hydrating sleep goggles is regarded as the most effective way to home treat dry eyes at night.
If you are a dry eye sufferer, you need to take steps to protect your eyes against the elements that make your symptoms worse or lead to a flare up in associated eye conditions. This is so important, particularly if you are away on holiday or travelling.
Fortunately there is one device that protects your eyes from wind, dust, pollen, glare, and air-conditioning. I'm talking about glasses and sunglasses with protective gaskets that effectively seal your eyes from the elements. Collectively these devices are called moisture chamber glasses but they are the same as windproof glasses or allergy glasses.
To find out more about moisture chamber glasses, read these pages:
- How to protect your eyes from the wind
- All you need to know about moisture chamber glasses
- How to stop your eyes drying out on a plane journey
- How to stop your eyes watering outdoors in cold weather
This is all about improving your body's natural mechanisms for keeping your eyes moisturised.
Most dry eye patients are suffering from some degree of Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) which is the most common underlying cause of dry eyes. It is also related to Blepharitis.
The most popular ways of daily self-treating Dry Eye, MGD, and Blepharitis are:
- Cleaning your eyelids using eyelid wipes
- Using a warm compress followed by manually massaging your eyelid margins
- Using the NuLids hand held device to clean and massage your eyelid margins to stimulate oily tear production
- Using a Blephasteam® to soften accumulated debris along your eyelid margins that are blocking your Meibomian followed by manually massaging your eyelid margins to stimulate oily tear production
We invite your feedback
If you have any suggestions based on your own experiences for lifestyle changes, tools for relieving dry eye and for treating it at home, please do write in your feedback to this blog article.
We are open to trying out new tools to see whether they can benefit our customers. We want to know what works and what doesn't match up to its claims.
For example, it was only 6 weeks ago that one of our customers asked us to try out a relatively new tool for treating dry eyes at home, called NuLids. As I suffer myself from dry eyes, I tested it for 2 weeks and was hooked.
NuLids was very effective at getting my tear glands to work better. In fact I found it to be much better and more convenient than using my Blephasteam which I had been doing for several years previously.
So we have added NuLids to our product range and invite you to trial it. We can only supply NuLids devices in the UK.
I hope that you have found this blog article useful, particularly if you have only recently been diagnosed with MGD/Blepharitis/Dry Eye.
I do not claim to be an expert consultant specialising in eye health and where possible, it's a good idea to ask them about any new home dry eye treatments that you intend to try.
I may not be an eye doctor but I do know first hand what dry eye sufferers go through and I have a wealth of experience of using the products that we stock for home dry eye treatment and management.