If you have a stinging, burning, or scratchy sensation in your eyes, or if your eyes are constantly watering, you may have Dry-Eye syndrome. The effects of dry eyes can occur occasionally, and for some individuals is something that they live with on a daily basis. Either way, we can help.
Signs and symptoms:
There are a few things that may indicate you have dry eyes:
- Redness of the eyes
- Light sensitivity
- The sensation of having something in your eye
- Stinging, burning, or scratchy sensation
- Stringy mucus in or around the eyes
- Difficulties wearing contact lenses or night-time driving
- Overly watery eyes
- Eye-fatigue or blurry vision when in dry situations
The most obvious choice for alleviating the effects of dry eyes is to keep them from getting dry in the first place. Here are a few steps you can take that might help achieve this:
Avoid air blowing directly into your face/eyes
Moving air is much more efficient at evaporation and will lead to drier eyes. Letting your hair air dry, or staying inside on a windy day can help prevent the symptoms of dry eyes.
Humidify, Humidify, Humidify
Dry air makes for drier eyes, and air conditioning and heaters both pull the moisture out of the air. To counteract this, the use of a humidifier can put moisture back into the air, which will make the moisture on your eyes less likely to evaporate away.
Shield your eyes
Consider wearing glasses that either wrap around your face or have protective shields. These will minimize the amount of moving air that hits the surface of your eye, and will lower the evaporation of the tear layer.
Avoid smoky areas
Smoke is known to aggravate dry eye symptoms and is also never pleasant when making contact with your eye. Avoiding areas with excess smoke altogether can lessen dry eye symptoms.
Take a break
While working on the computer, or staring at a screen, we blink fewer times and at much longer intervals. This can cause tears to evaporate more quickly and worsen your symptoms. Take a break when you’ve been at it for a while and rest your eyes. Taking a few long and slow blinks to re-wet your eyes can also help.
Be aware of the air
While in an airplane, an arid environment, or at a high altitude, the air can be much drier than it would be in other situations. Try closing your eyes for a short time, if possible, to re-wet the surface of your eye and slow evaporation of the tear layer.
While the treatment of your specific case of dry eyes is ultimately between you and your eye doctor, there are a few over the counter options we recommend for alleviating your symptoms:
Systane is an over the counter eye drop that is great at relieving the symptoms of dry eyes. One or two drops daily in either eye can help lubricate and provide relief, while also helping to protect you from tear layer evaporation. We offer Systane complete at both locations, but it can also be found at your local pharmacy.
A small amount of Systane nighttime ointment applied under the lower eyelid, directly before bed, can help keep your eyes moisturized overnight so that you don't wake up with itchy and irritated eyes. We offer this ointment at both locations, and it can be found at most pharmacies as well.