Dealing with dry eye symptoms can make anyone’s day worse, and chronic dry eye syndrome can ruin the entire season if you let it. You don’t have to deal with itchy, irritated eyes day in and out all summer long.
Keep reading to learn why you can’t let your dry eyes hold you back this summer!
What Is Dry Eye, and What Are The Most Common Symptoms?
Your eyes need tears to stay healthy and lubricated. The tears create a barrier over the sensitive surface, locking out infectious germs.
They also coat any debris that gets in your eye so that it doesn’t irritate your cornea easily. If you aren’t producing enough tears, or the tears aren’t staying on your eyes long enough, your eyes will become dry.
The most common symptoms of dry eye are:
- Eye fatigue
- Gritty sensation
- Sensitivity to light
- Stringy mucus around the eyes
To understand how to treat your dry eyes best, you need to understand what is causing your dry eye.
So What Exactly Causes Dry Eye?
The cause of dry eye can be one of several factors or a combination of factors. You can break down dry eye causes into three categories: tear production, environment, and tear quality.
An issue with tear production is one of the most common causes of dry eye. If you aren’t producing enough tears, your eyes will be dry.
Determining why your eyes are not producing tears is a little more complicated. Often, it is age-related.
It can also be a hydration issue. If you aren’t drinking enough water, your body can’t pull enough water to create tears consistently.
The environment can also be a common contributor to dry eye. Dry air and wind cause your tears to evaporate before they can nourish your eyes.
Wind can also blow sand or dust into your eyes, further irritating them. If you suffer from allergies, summer might be challenging for you.
High pollen counts can also cause inflammation in your eyes.
Another common cause of dry eye is reduced tear quality. To understand what causes reduced tear quality, you need to know what makes up a tear.
A tear is more than just water. It also includes mucus and oil.
The mucus helps the water stick to the eye. The water provides hydration and delivers nutrients to the cornea.
The oil, also known as lipids, coats the tears, protecting them from evaporating too soon. Typically when there is an issue with tear quality, it’s a problem with the oil.
The glands that produce this oil are located near your eyelashes at the end of the eyelid. These glands can become clogged, preventing the oil from releasing.
This makes your tears vulnerable, and they will evaporate even under normal conditions.
Tips for Summer Dry Eye Management
There is a lot you can do to manage dry eyes on your own. Experiment with these suggestions to see what works for you, and you might be able to narrow down what is causing your dry eye.
Stay hydrated. Most people need to drink much more water than they think they do, especially in the summer heat.
You can get a good boost of hydration from certain foods such as watermelon and cucumbers. However, the best hydration comes from the water itself.
Practice blinking more often. This can be a problem if you spend a lot of time looking at a screen.
You may get so focused on your task that you don’t think to blink. Take short, but frequent, breaks from your computer to refresh your eyes.
You should also check your medications. If they list dry eye as a side effect, ask your doctor if you can switch to a different kind.
Use artificial tears to manage symptoms. While they won’t fix the issue, they provide more relief and are safer than rubbing your eyes.
You can also eat foods that include omega-3 fatty acids. This nutrient is perfect for your eyes.
You can find it in fatty fish, walnuts, and other foods. You may also need to modify your home.
Use an air purifier to pull allergens from the air. Keep your windows closed to stop pollen from entering. Purchase a humidifier to add moisture directly to the air.
Medical Treatment Options
If you can’t fix the dry eye yourself, you might need some additional help from your eye doctor. At Ellis Eye in San Jose, CA, you can receive a LipiFlow treatment to help unblock your oil glands.
Prescription medication may also work to help stimulate tear production. Punctal plugs are an effective way to keep tears on your eyes by physically blocking the ducts.
Whatever is causing your eyes to be dry and irritated, there is a solution.
Are you ready to improve your summer by reducing your dry eye symptoms? Schedule an appointment at Ellis Eye & Laser Center in Santa Clara, CA, today!