If you are diagnosed with dry eye syndrome, your treatment options will vary. In some cases, symptoms can be alleviated, but the condition itself will remain chronic and incurable. In some cases though, you can prevent symptoms from occurring or worsening simply by making adjustments to your environment and your personal habits.
Environmental Changes and Dry Eyes
For dry eye sufferers, flare-ups can occur at any time, but in many cases, there are specific triggers that cause uncomfortable symptoms to surface. To avoid irritations, consider the following:
- Airflow – Avoid subjecting your eyes to increased airflow by avoiding direct exposure to fans, air conditioners and heat ducts. Consider readjusting your workspace or home living areas so that you won’t be sitting directly in front of or under these sources of airflow. Alternatively, in an outdoor setting, if it’s windy, try wearing sunglasses that wrap around to protect your eyes.
- Humidity – Try to maintain a comfortable level of humidity by using a humidifier during particularly dry times of the year, such as winter, or in drier spaces of your home or workplace.
- Irritants – If you suffer from allergies, your dry eye symptoms can also be affected. When possible, avoid over-exposure to irritants such as dust, pollen or even cigarette smoke.
Active Solutions for Dry Eyes
Because we can’t always control our environment, be prepared to take more active steps to prevent dry eyes. In situations where you might anticipate an onset of symptoms, consider the following:
- Artificial tears – Over the counter eye drops can help prevent dry eyes from occurring if used throughout the day, such as if you are at work and your desk is near a fan or you will be spending a lot of time on the computer. Use of drops at the first sign of dryness can help prevent the symptom from worsening.
- Hygiene – Sometimes keeping your eyelids clean can actually improve the quality of your tears. Consider gently washing your eyelids with baby shampoo to help release oil in the glands of your eyelids.
- Rest & care – If you spend a lot of time reading, using the computer or watching TV and you notice that your eyes feel dry or uncomfortable, give them a rest. Allowing your eyes to relax and blink more frequently will help restore moisture. You can also use a warm compress to help your eyes relax.
Ultimately, knowing how to manage dry eye syndrome can help keep your eyes comfortable and healthy, even if the condition cannot be completely resolved. For more treatment options, or to schedule a dry eye exam with Dr. Ryczek, call our St. Petersburg optometry practice at 727-327-8855.