Dry eye is a multi-factorial disease requiring a comprehensive examination to identify the causative factors and treatment plans unique to an individual. However, there are several simple lifestyle changes that you can incorporate to improve your overall eye health.
Screen Time = Mean time
Constant electronic device use (let’s be real-we are always looking at a screen!) has led to infrequent blinking and excess strain on our eyes. Here are a few tips on how to promote healthy tear distribution while using devices:
- 20-20-20 Rule: Take a 20 second break every 20 minutes to look at distance (20 ft away). This will relax your eyes from focusing at near. Make sure to blink throughout this break to effectively produce and distribute your tears!
- Adjust your screen settings:
- Decrease the brightness of your screen to a level that still allows you to see clearly.
- Adjust your color settings to more warm tones, limiting the cool blue hues.
- Invert the colors on your monitor so that the background is black rather than white
- Move your screen back: This is an easy adjustment that will immediately reduce strain on your eyes. Your screen should be positioned a minimum of 15 inches away from your eyes!
It should be no surprise that increasing water intake will decrease dry eye. In fact, one of the first symptoms of dehydration is dry eye. Drinking more water will not only promote healthy eyes, it will also leave your body feeling great!
Warm Compress Massage
Studies have shown that most dry eye disease involves a deficiency in the oil layer of the tear film. A daily 10-minute moist-heat treatment at the right humidity level and temperature can increase these oil secretions and restore good eye health.
Many people use warm wash-cloths and do not obtain results. Wash cloths are often not heated to the appropriate temperature and do not retain heat throughout the treatment cycle. Moist heat eye compresses, such as the Bruder Mask, have been proven to increase eye hydration. They are convenient, washable/reusable, and available at our office today!
Shake-up Your Contacts
Many contact lens wearers suffer from dry eye disease. A simple visit to your eye care provider to re-evaluate your contact lens regimen can help you look AND FEEL your best.
- Increase your disposal schedule – Daily disposable lenses have clinically shown a decrease in dry eye. They minimize the use of preservative-filled disinfecting solutions, decrease ocular irritation from lens deposits, and are often made from lens materials that promote more hydration.
- Consider CRT lenses – These specialty contact lenses, also referred to as orthokeratology, are worn overnight to temporarily reshape your cornea. Upon waking, nearsighted patients can focus distant objects clearly WITHOUT the use of contacts (or glasses) during waking hours.
- Wear sunglasses-Dust, wind, and dry environments can contribute to dry eye. Sunglasses act as a shield against the elements (and cataracts if they provide 100% UV protection). This is a practice even non-contact lens wearers should implement!
- Change your disinfecting solution – Many disinfecting solutions have harsh preservatives that poorly interact with the tear-film. Ask your eye care provider what option is best for you!
- Try scleral lenses – These specialized lenses create a fluid reservoir between the lens and the cornea, keeping eyes lubricated and hydrated.
In addition to these tips, you can also consider increasing your vitamins (Omega-3), changing your make-up and skincare routine, and using a humidifier. While these simple lifestyle changes can go a long way, dry eye disease often requires a multi-step treatment process. We always recommend meeting with your optometrist in regard to any discomfort or symptoms you may be experiencing!
-Dr. Aamena S. Kazmi
The Dry Eye Doctor at BFEC