Dry Eyes

A typical and common eye problem that we suffer during the summer is of DRY EYE.

Usually when we blink, a film of tears spreads over the eye. This keeps the eye’s surface smooth and clear. The tear film is important for good vision.

Our eyes constantly make tears to stay moist. If our eyes are irritated, or we cry, our eyes make a lot of tears. But, sometimes the eyes don’t make enough tears or something affects one or more layers of the tear film. In those cases, we end up with dry eyes. Our eyes need tears to stay healthy and comfortable.

Dry eye can make it more difficult to perform some activities, such as using a computer or reading for an extended period of time, and it can decrease tolerance for dry environments, such as the air inside an airplane, cabins with high temperatures etc.

Symptoms of dry eyes include:

Burning sensation
Itchy eyes
Aching sensations
Heavy eyes
Fatigued eyes
Sore eyes
Dryness sensation
Red eyes
Photophobia (light sensitivity)
Blurred vision

Another common symptom is something called a foreign body sensation — the feeling that grit or some other object or material is "in" your eye.

And as odd as it may sound, watery eyes also can be a symptom of dry eye syndrome. This is because dryness on the eye's surface sometimes will over-stimulate production of the watery component of your tears as a protective mechanism. But this "reflex tearing" does not stay on the eye long enough to correct the underlying dry eye conditio

If you have mild dry eye symptoms, there are several things you can try to get relief before going to the eye doctor:

Blink more frequently. When using a computer, smartphone or other digital device, we tend to blink our eyes less frequently than normal, which can cause or worsen dry eye symptoms. Make a conscious effort to be aware of this, and blink more often when using these devices. Also, perform full blinks, gently squeezing your eyelids together to wash your eyes fully with a fresh layer of tears.

Take frequent breaks during computer use. A good rule of thumb here is to look away from your screen at least every 20 minutes and look at something that is at least 20 feet from your eyes for at least 20 seconds. Some eye care practitioners call this the "20-20-20 rule," and abiding by it can help relieve both dry eyes and computer eye strain.

Remove eye makeup thoroughly. Eyeliner and other eye makeup can clog the openings of the meibomian glands at the base of the eyelashes, leading to dry eye. At the end of the day, be diligent about remove all traces of makeup from your lids and lashes.

Clean your eyelids. When washing your face before bedtime, gently wash your eyelids to remove bacteria that can cause problems that lead to dry eye symptoms. Apply a warm, moist washcloth to your closed lids for a minute or two. Then gently scrub your lids and lashes with a mild cleanser, such as diluted baby shampoo or pre moistened eyelid wipes sold in drugstores.

Wear quality sunglasses. When outdoors during the day, always wear sunglasses that block 100 percent of the sun's UV rays. It's best if they feature a wrap-style frame to protect your eyes from wind, dust and other irritants that can cause or worsen dry eye symptoms.

If still not relieved of the symptoms, do visit your eye doctor for further management.

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