Dry, itchy eyes can be a major discomfort, especially in the dry heat of the summer. We know we are not supposed to scratch or rub them, but when it hurts just to open them, we need something more than just willpower. Dry eyes can be caused by several factors such as aging, side effects of medications, and certain environmental conditions. Lack of tears may also be a cause. Tears are a combination of water (for moisture), oils (for lubrication), mucus (for even spreading), and antibodies and special proteins (for resistance to infection). When this combination is unbalanced, dry eyes are inevitable. So here are some helpful tips from the Mayo Clinic on how to prevent dry eyes:
- Avoid blowing air in your eyes. Don’t direct hair dryers, car heaters, air conditioners or fans toward your eyes.
- Wear glasses on windy days and goggles while swimming. The wraparound style of glasses can help reduce the effects of the wind. Goggles protect your eyes from chemicals in pool water that can also dry your eyes.
- Add moisture to the air. In winter, a humidifier can add moisture to dry indoor air.
- Consider eyeglass shields to protect your eyes. Safety shields can be added to the tops and sides of eyeglasses to block wind and dry air from reaching your eyes.
- Take eye breaks during long tasks. If you’re reading or doing another task that requires visual concentration, take periodic eye breaks. Close your eyes for a few minutes. Or blink repeatedly for a few seconds to help spread your tears evenly over your eye.
- Position your computer screen below eye level. If your computer screen is above eye level, you’ll open your eyes wider to view the screen. If it’s below eye level, you won’t open your eyes as wide. This may help slow the evaporation of your tears between eye blinks.
- Stop smoking and avoid smoke. If you smoke, stop. If you don’t smoke, stay away from people who do. Smoke can worsen dry eye symptoms.
For temporary relief of minor eye irritations, you can try Boiron Optique 1 Eye Drops, which are available in convenient, single-use sterile droppers. Optique 1 can help provide needed relief from fatigue or airborne irritants and can soothe red, dry, itchy, burning or tired eyes.* These eye drops contain no vasoconstrictors, astringents or preservatives.
If you have any helpful hints of your own on how you can avoid drying out your eyes, let us know by leaving a comment below.
*Claims based on traditional homeopathic practice, not accepted medical evidence. Not FDA evaluated.