Research has shown a surge in dry eye cases tied to spring allergies. You can read about the findings at Science Daily’s Rise in Spring Allergen’s Linked to Increased Dry Eye Cases.
I’m sure your own research here in North Texas, including your family and friends, has identified not only a Spring surge but similar surges throughout the year. Allergies rise and so does the incidence of dry eye syndrome. In addition, dry conditions during the winter and many other similar changes can cause flare ups.
Combat Flare Ups
It does seem like combat at times and, perhaps, that you’re losing the battle. Fortunately, there are many ways to tackle dry eye flare ups. Here are a few starting thoughts:
- Artificial Tears. Over-the-counter artificial tears that can address all three tear layers: lubrication for the mucin layer, oil for the lipid layer to reduce evaporation, and water for the aqueous layer to keep the eye’s wet are the best. There are many choices and finding the right one for you may take a few tries. For safe use with contacts, use “re-wetting drops.” The Mayo Clinic has advice on what to look for in selecting artificial tears.
- Fish or Flaxseed. Consuming sources of healthy oils, including taking supplements, have been shown to help address dry eye symptoms. If you’re not already taking these supplements or have them in your diet, it’s worth making this change to see if it helps. The American Optometric Associations covers this in detail at Essential Fatty Acids, Omega 3: DHA and EPA.
- Check Your Environment. Air conditioning and excess air blowing in your face can dry out your eyes. Plus, working on your computer all day and into the night can really tire out your eyes and cause dry eye. In fact, smartphone use has been linked to dry eye in school children. Given that, change up your environment by redirecting the air conditioning vents or changing your seating location. Just a slight change can make a difference. Also, try taking frequent breaks from your computer and smartphone, or consciously blinking more frequently.
- Home or Office Humidifier. If the air is dry from air conditioning, you can add moisture through the use of a humidifier. While this may be difficult to do in your office, you can certainly add a humidifier at home. You can find a detailed review of humidifiers at The Dry Eye Zone’s article Humidification.
- Warm Moist Compresses. Use a warm damp washcloth over your eyes for five to ten minutes each day. This takes the humidifier noted above and brings it up close and personal. It also serves to not only apply moisture but the warmth can open up tear ducts. You can find more at Dry Eye Syndrome – Self Help.
- Eyelid Washes. There are also over-the-counter eyelid washes that can help clear up excess oil that can block tear ducts and glands. These are typically applied once each day in the evening. For more, see How to Clean Your Eyelids.
There are many other options such as prescriptions and even surgical procedures. This isn’t really a way to find fast relief, but it is one of the important treatment options. You can learn more at on our dry eyes section.
The Best Option
Your best option is to team up with an experienced optometrist who can not only alleviate your dry eye flare ups but treat the underlying causes and do so through a long-term treatment program. In this way, as those inevitable flare ups happen timed along with whatever allergen is in the air, you’re already prepared to alleviate those symptoms and protect your eyesight.
With over 30 years of treating dry eye, I’m ready to bring you relief and develop a long term program that will address all your eye care needs.
Give me a call at 972-612-2099.
Disclaimer: The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.