I have always been one of those people who can go from having clear, white eyes to looking like I smoked several joints after being in a store for ten minutes. When the heat is on in the car, forget it, I literally can’t blink because my eyeballs lose all moisture. I swear, eating flour and sugar make my eyes dry too, because about a half hour after I have a sandwich, I look like I’ve been crying.
I have dry skin and dry hair, so it makes sense that my eyes are dry too. I used to think this is just how I was; that my eyes were there to torture me and make me want to rub them out of my head.
Reading is something I love to do, but it does bother my eyes. My job as a writer can definitely have an effect on my eyes as well. However, I’m not going to stop either of those two passions anytime soon, so all I can do is make my eyes as comfortable as possible.
I’ve had to come to terms with the fact I have dry, sensitive eyes and find ways to live with that.
It’s been said that if you do have dry eyes, symptoms can get worse with age, which I do believe is true. At 46, my eyes are definitely more sensitive to winter weather, and my computer-staring lifestyle.
However, according to The New York Times, “Although dry eye problems are most common in people over 50, they’re also increasing among young adults, which experts attribute to the ubiquity of smartphones and computers. Younger people are also more likely to wear contact lenses, prolonged wearing of which may also cause dry eye.”
A recent survey also revealed that those wearing masks due to COVID-19 noticed their dry eyes got worse.
If you are suffering from dry eyes, there are some things you can do about it. I use my lubricating eye drops a few times a day and it helps a lot — especially if I’m working an extra long day staring at my computer or I’m taking a trip where I know I’ll be in the car with the air conditioning or heat on.
Dr. Ira Udell, a professor of ophthalmology at the Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell, told The New York Times putting drops in your eyes several times a day can definitely make a difference.
Dr. Udell also suggests wearing glasses when you’re outside in the elements and says there are lots of different kinds of glasses on the market that are made “to block out wind, glare and airborne irritants.”
Also, according to Udell, if you are a swimmer make sure you are wearing goggles as this should help keep your eyes lubricated.
Healthline suggests getting a humidifier for your home can help with dry eyes, as well as avoiding cigarette smoke.
And something you can do to prevent dry eyes from the inside is to make sure you’re getting enough Omega-3 fatty-acids in your diet, as they help reduce inflammation. Good sources of Omega-3 fatty acids are salmon, tuna, palm oil, walnuts, eggs or a supplement.
Making sure to rest your eyes if you’re spending long hours looking at a screen is also important. Our eyes need breaks, just like the rest of our body.
Warm compresses over the eyes can also help keep them lubricated. According to Healthline, “Placing a warm compress on your eyes then washing your eyelids with baby shampoo helps to release some of the oil in your eyelids’ glands, this improves the quality of your tears. Be sure you completely rinse soap from your eyes when finished to avoid irritating them.”
If you are noticing that your eyes are getting worse, or your symptoms include dry mouth, discharge coming from the eyes, or they are red and swollen, Healthline suggests you call your doctor and have your eyes checked for other problems.