7 Tips for Managing Dry Eyes This Fall

Do you suffer from dry eyes? Having dry eyes is an uncomfortable and common condition that’s caused by inadequate lubrication of your eyes. Dry eyes can occur due to aging, certain medications, specific medical conditions, and environmental conditions.

Thankfully, there’s help. Nicholas Rutkowski, O.D. and Associates in Frankfort and Bourbonnais, Illinois, offer the most effective dry eye treatment available today. During your visit, Dr. Rutkowski diagnoses you and suggests the best treatment option for your specific case. 

There are also ways you can manage your dry eyes on your own — and we tell you how in this blog post.

Protect your eyes from wind

Lots of wind can be irritating to your eyes and can contribute to dryness. While you’re out and about, especially in windy areas, throw on a pair of sunglasses — preferably ones that wrap around. These will help prevent wind from blowing directly into your eyes and drying them out.

Fans also fall under this category. When it’s hot and you need to have your fans going, make sure you limit your exposure to them. Try not to sit directly in front of them, but if that’s necessary for you to cool down, try not to stay there too long.

Don’t forget to blink!

Much of the time when we’re reading or looking at screens, we don’t blink as often. This can cause dryness and irritation. It’s important to make a conscious effort to blink more often so your eyes can get the moisture they need. It’s also helpful to implement the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This will help relax your eyes and prevent strain and irritation.

Use a warm compress

Tears are composed of fatty oils, water, and mucus. Using a warm compress on your eyes can assist with the release of oils from the glands in your eyelids, which helps to improve the quality of your tears.

Take a clean washcloth and wet it with warm water — just make sure it’s not too hot! Wring it out until it’s damp and apply it to your eyelids for at least one minute. You can keep wetting the washcloth to keep it warm. This practice is not only relaxing, but it will help keep the oil glands in your eyes from getting clogged.

Take an omega-3 fatty acid supplement

Omega-3s are fatty acids, which are typically thought of as healthy fats. They can be found in fish, such as salmon and mackerel, as well as nuts, seeds, and plants. Omega-3s can also be found in supplements, such as fish oil.

Omega-3s are not only important for your overall eye health, but they may also be beneficial for managing dry eyes. Make sure you discuss adding a supplement with your optometrist and get the recommended dosage for you.

Stay hydrated

Up to 60 percent of the human body is made up of water. Water is essential for life and normal functioning of your organs, but did you consider how hydration can affect your eyes? Proper hydration is vital for producing tears and keeping your eyes moisturized. Becoming dehydrated can cause eye fatigue and eye strain in addition to dry eyes.

It’s easy to forget to drink water throughout the day. Keep a water bottle with you and/or set reminders to grab a glass of water. The 4-6 cup rule is a good goal for generally healthy people. If you have certain conditions like thyroid disease or heart issues, or take water-retaining medications, talk to your doctor about the appropriate daily water intake for you.

Add moisture to the air

Air conditioners and furnaces decrease humidity in the air, which can contribute to dry eyes. In the summer when it’s hot, you’re likely pumping the AC, and the same goes for that furnace in the winter. Putting a humidifier in your home adds moisture back into the air and allows your tears to evaporate more slowly, helping to alleviate your dry eye symptoms.

Use artificial tears

For people with mild cases of dry eyes, over-the-counter artificial tears can be a good solution. They can be used as often as needed to help supplement natural tears. It’s recommended that you use artificial tears that don’t contain preservatives, as those solutions often contain additives that can further irritate your eyes.

If the over-the-counter options aren’t helping, talk to Dr. Rutkowski about other treatment options, such as ointments, lubricating gels, or prescription eye drops like Restasis. If you’re using the ointments or gels, it’s suggested that you use them before bed, since they’re thicker and can blur your vision.

Allowing dry eyes to go untreated can lead to infection and can even damage the surface of your eyes. It can also decrease your quality of life by making daily activities, such as reading or nighttime driving, more difficult. If you’re experiencing discomfort or symptoms of dry eyes, contact us to book an appointment.

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