It is staggering to consider that 30 million Americans have symptomatic dry eyes and only 16 million of those are diagnosed. Dry eye is considered a multi-factorial condition in terms of anatomy and physiology. Therefore, a dry eye evaluation is recommended to determine the actual root of the problem with a formal course of action based upon exam findings.
In the meantime, we have some recommendations so that you can begin the journey to improving dry eye symptoms today.
- Reduce stress. Stress can affect the cortisol in your body and throw off natural processes that keep our bodies in a homeostatic state.
- Avoid toxic product use. There are many ingredients in the household products you use in and around our eyes that can cause significant damage to the eyelids and ocular surface. Research the ingredients in your products and stay clear of potentially toxic chemicals such as: parabens, formaldehyde, mineral oil, retinol, Alcohol, Benzalkonium Chloride (BAK), Sodium Laureth Sulfates.
- Medication side-effects. Antihistamines, birth control pill, anti-depressants can all potentially cause dry eyes. Research possible side-effects of your current medications.
- Hydration. With dehydration comes dryness. Drink plenty of fluids to reduce dry eye risk.
- Reducing screen time. Reduced blinking comes with prolonged screen time, so practice the 20-20-20 rule by gazing 20 feet away every 20 minutes for 20 seconds.
- Nutrition focus. Poor diet leads to inflammation which in turn can cause dry eyes. We recommend an anti-inflammatory diet while supplementing higher doses of Omega3.
- Eyelid hygiene. Best to use tea tree based eyelid cleansers daily to reduce inflammation and keep eyelids clean. We recommend WeLoveEyes products which are non-toxic at the same time. Applied heat may also be necessary once the proper evaluation is performed.
Regardless of the outcome, these are all ways you can edit your routine at home today to aid your dry eye symptoms. Take some time to schedule a formal dry eye evaluation so that the doctor can determine the best long-term course of action to treat your dry eyes.
About the Author
Dr. Carrie Roitstein has over 25 years of experience in the Optometry industry. With offices in Hinsdale and Chicago’s Gold Coast, she combines her expertise of medical wellness with the use of the latest technology diagnosing and treating eye conditions. She is a graduate of the Illinois College of Optometry.
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