The arid climate in California is already troublesome for people with dry eyes, and the winter months may bring on more symptoms. There are ways to help you cope with dry eye disease, and our ophthalmologists at Clarity Eye Group offer dry eye treatments.
Dry eyes are caused by inadequate eye lubrication, which may be brought on by previous laser eye surgery, a health condition, medications, age, lifestyle habits or environmental factors. If you spend most of your day looking at a computer or tablet screen or working in a windy, smoky environment, you are more likely to experience dry eyes.
Get Ahead of Your Dry Eye Symptoms
Treating your dry eyes starts with preventive measures in your everyday life. Anything that disrupts the tear film on your eyes (which is made of mucus, aqueous fluid and fatty oils) can increase your dry eye symptoms. You will want to avoid fans, air conditioning or heating vents, hairdryers and any other items that consistently blow air in your eyes. You can prevent wind and smoke from getting to your eyes with protective eyewear or wraparound sunglasses. Add a humidifier to your home in the winter (or year-round) to increase moisture in the air.
While you may not be able to avoid long hours on a computer, there are ways to limit the effect screen use has on your eyes such as positioning your computer screen below eye level. The lower position of the screen prevents you from opening your eyes wider. Follow the 20/20/20 rule — Take a computer break every 20 minutes and look 20 feet away for 20 seconds or blink several times.
Smoking and exposure to smoke make dry eye symptoms worse. Talk to your doctor about quitting and avoid friends and family members who are smoking around you. The ongoing wildfires in California can bring on or worsen dry eyes and other eye irritation.
Treatment Options for Dry Eyes
Over-the-counter lubricating eye drops can help some people with dry eye disease, but others will need more extensive treatment. If there is an underlying cause, such as a health issue or eyelid condition, addressing the cause may alleviate your dry eyes. There are medications available that reduce the inflammation of your eyelids to allow for the oil glands to secrete oil for tear production. Specialized eye drops may be used to control inflammation in the cornea and medications that increase tear production in pill, gel or eyedrop form.
A warm compress or eye mask used daily may help unblock the oil glands. Light therapy, eyelid massage, special contact lenses and surgery to close the tear ducts are options for more severe cases.
If dry eyes significantly impact your day-to-day life, contact our eye doctors at Clarity Eye Group for a comprehensive eye exam. There are tests available to measure your tear volume and quality. We can develop a treatment plan to reduce your dry eye symptoms.
Schedule your appointment in Huntington Beach today by calling (714) 842-0651.