Soothing Solutions for Dry Eyes

June 27, 2017 Franklin Inouye, OD


Imagine you have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to watch a Lakers game from floor seats at center court. It’s the fourth quarter, the score is tied and the clock is ticking. At this moment, the last thing you want to deal with are dry eyes that cause discomfort and blurred vision. You don’t want to miss the play that everyone will talk about for weeks because you were squinting. Find relief today, so you’re ready when opportunity appears right in front of your eyes.

The oddest symptom of dry eye

Interestingly, watery eyes can sometimes be a symptom of dry eye syndrome. When the eye surface becomes dry, it triggers the production of the watery component in your tears. This acts as a protective mechanism for your eye. Unfortunately, this reflexive act of tearing does not happen long enough or consistently enough to correct any underlying dry eye condition.

Most of the time, dry eyes occur when your eyes do not produce enough tears to lubricate the eye. Typical symptoms can include pain, itching, redness, and blurry vision. Many people also describe feeling like something is in their eye, like sand.

Douse the dryness

To help relieve the discomfort of dry eyes, here are some practical tips:

  • Blink mindfully
    If you work at a computer for long stretches of time, take a break every 15-20 minutes to shift your vision away from the screen and take a few long blinks. Blinking spreads tears across the surface of the eye, helping lubricate it.
  • Avoid smoke
    Smoke from cigarettes or cigars irritate the eyes and may contribute to dry eye. Smoking is unhealthy for a lot of reasons, but it’s also important to avoid secondhand smoke, especially if you are prone to dry eyes.
  • Try artificial tears
    Whether you suffer from chronic dry eye, or experience intermittent discomfort, artificial tears can provide quick relief. There are many over-the-counter options, so check with your optometrist to see which one is right for you.
  • Prioritize sleep
    Sleep refreshes your eyes by creating a ‘moisture chamber’ around the eye and encouraging tears. It's generally recommended to consistently get at least seven hours of sleep at night.
  • Follow in Alicia Keys’ footsteps
    The singer no longer wears makeup. While she may do it for different reasons, we can take a page from her book. Using makeup around the eyes can cause inflammation and increase your risk of dry eyes. Washing your eyes with an over-the-counter eyelid cleanser may help reduce inflammation and restore lubrication.

Here's why they're dry

Dry eyes can be a temporary or chronic condition. They often result from aging or certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, thyroid disorders, or vitamin A deficiency.

Women who are pregnant are at a heightened risk of developing dry eyes because of a shift in progesterone and estrogen hormone levels.

See your doctor if painful dry eye persists.

Franklin Inouye, OD, is an optometrist at St. Mary High Desert Medical Group.

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional's instructions.


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