How to deal with dry eye syndrome?
There are a few things every patient can do to minimise dry eye symptoms. If you're affected by this condition, you should visit your eye doctor to first determine the underlying cause. Only after ruling out diabetes, meibomian gland dysfunction and binocular vision disorder you can refer to the commonly used solutions listed below.
- Switch to the newest, most advanced contact lenses
Lens makers develop new materials and production methods all the time. Don't be afraid to try new products that appear on the market. Obviously, do it only with your eye doctor's permission. Modern contact lenses are highly oxygen permeable and stay moist for longer than their old, less advanced predecessors.
- Use rewetting eye drops and artificial tears
Rewetting drops lower the surface tension of a liquid, allowing it to spread over an object and penetrate it more easily. They are usually preserved and include such substances as sodium and potassium salts. Generally, rewetting drops for soft contact lenses can be used with RGP lenses too. However, RGP drops should not be used by patients wearing soft lenses.
Artificial tears, on the other hand, are designed to replace tears in patients with tear film issues, just like the name suggests. They can significantly reduce dry eye symptoms, but contact lens wearers should use only preservative-free ones. These do not affect contact lenses and can be used with both rigid gas permeable and soft lenses.
- Wear sunglasses and goggles
Protect your eyes from harmful UV rays in summer and make sure to wear protective goggles during activities involving fumes, dust, water, etc. The sensation of dryness in the eyes can be caused by tiny particles floating in the air and by heat itself.
- Use air humidifiers
Increasing room humidity with a personal humidifier can have amazing results, particularly in the winter, when heaters make the air in our houses very dry. Humidifiers improve the condition of mucous membranes in the nose and on the surface of the eye, greatly reducing discomfort. They can also slow down contact lens dehydration. You can choose from a wide range of humidifiers (e.g. ultrasonic, evaporative, warm or cool mist, with or without a hygrometer). It's recommended to choose those which include a hygrometer to control relative humidity. Remember that all humidifiers need to be thoroughly cleaned at the beginning of the heating season and washed often throughout use.
- Drink plenty
Remember how your grandma used to tell you to drink lots when you were ill? She was right - the level of hydration of our bodies influences the thickness of our body fluids, so it will be easier for you to blow your blocked nose if you're well hydrated. Same goes for your eyes and their tear film. The more water or other liquids you drink, the less severe symptoms of DES you should experience.
- You may or may not take Omega-3 fatty acids supplements
You may have heard, that taking Omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the symptoms of dry eye syndrome, but recent studies do not confirm this association. According to the newest research, Omega-3 supplements have the same effect on the eyes as olive oil, so don't waste your money on things, whose effectiveness is doubtful, instead have a nice salad with an extra splash of olive oil.
In addition, you could try warm compresses, blinking more often and avoiding rubbing your eyes.