Dry eyes? Here's how to prevent and treat them
Red, itchy, painful -- dry eyes are the worst! When you can't stop rubbing your eyes, but the feeling just keeps getting worse, having dry eyes can feel like the end of the world. However, dry eyes are one of the easier ailments to prevent.
This week, we're taking a look at dry eyes -- what causes them, how to prevent them, and what to do if you end up dealing with them.
Let's dive in!
What does it mean to have "dry eyes"?
No, it doesn't just mean you can watch The Notebook without crying. Dry eyes are a real and pressing problem -- and for people who spend a lot of time out in the elements, they're a frequent annoyance that can get in the way of a productive day.
Medically speaking, the term "dry eye" refers to any time your eyes are unable to produce enough moisture (via tears) to adequately lubricate your eyes. Our eyes are incredibly sensitive organs, and moisture is critical to keeping them in working order. When our eyes are too dry, they definitely let us know! That stinging, itchy, puffy feeling is your body's way of telling you something's wrong.
What causes dry eyes?
Dry eyes are a common side effect of aging and certain medications, but more often than not our eyes get dry due to strenuous physical activity, our environments, or something we're doing that's causing a lot of eye strain. For example, you might have dry eyes if you:
- Spend all day sitting in front of the computer
- Go out in a fast car or boat with wind blowing in your face
- Sit too close to an air conditioning or heating unit
- Are around a lot of wind, smoke, or dry air
- Aren't blinking enough when you're concentrating on something (driving, reading, playing video games, etc.)
- Wear contact lenses, especially if they're old
- Have a medical condition like diabetes or lupus, or take certain medications like antihistamines, decongestants, or antidepressants
How to prevent dry eyes
It's best to avoid the discomfort of dry eyes altogether!
Here are the best ways to prevent dry eyes:
- Wear protective eye gear. The best way to prevent dry eyes is to wear some sort of eye protection. You guessed it -- this means sunglasses and safety glasses!
- Avoid air and wind directly in your eyes. Whether that means putting on goggles or sunglasses when you take out the motorcycle or simply pointing your hair dryer away from your face, make sure to keep air from flowing directly into your eyes.
- Add moisture into dry air. Air conditioning is a blessing, but it can really dry out your skin! During the dry months, a humidifier can add moisture back into parched air.
- Stay away from smoke. This means cigarettes as well as campfires. If you know you'll be in a smoky area, put on some safety gear first and take frequent fresh air breaks.
- Invest in artificial tears. Keeping a bottle of eye drops on hand is a great way to keep your eyes hydrated. Don't just buy them -- make them part of your routine!
- Keep an eye on the environment. If you know you're headed for high altitudes, arid deserts, or dry environments like long flights, be prepared. Pack your eye drops, but also remind yourself to take breaks and close your eyes for a few minutes from time to time. This will help slow the evaporation of your tears and keep your eyes nice and insulated.
- If you work in front of a computer, make sure the screen is below eye level. This keeps you from opening your eyes super-wide to view the whole screen. A narrower gaze also helps lock in moisture.
- If you spend a lot of time looking at screens, try blue light glasses. The blue light that emanates from screens is a major culprit when it comes to dry eyes. To keep your vision safe, wear blue light glasses if you'll be staring at a screen all day. (Pro tip: We have a killer collection!)
How to treat dry eyes
Dry eyes are annoying, but luckily, they're quite easy to treat. If you find yourself dealing with persistent dry eyes, it's time to see the doctor. Your eye doctor can help identify any underlying health issues that are causing chronic dry eyes, and recommend additional treatments to help with prevention. However, if you wake up one morning and simply can't get that itchy, dry feeling out of your eyes, these home treatments can help.
- Try eye drops. As we mentioned, artificial tears are the best way to keep your eyes lubricated if you're having a dry eye day. Follow your doctor's instructions or the instructions on the packaging for best results!
- Change your contacts. Your eyes might feel dry because your contact lenses have dried out. If cleaning them doesn't help, it might be time for a new pair.
- Close your eyes for a while. Taking a vision break is a great way to get some moisture back into your eyes -- just be careful not to fall asleep!
- Get away from the light. Head for shade, turn out the lights, or look away from your screen for a few minutes to give your eyes a break.
If the problem persists, give your doctor a call.
At Bomber Eyewear, we're all about taking care of our eyes and our vision -- and both looking AND feeling great while we're at it. Take a look at our Safety and Sunglasses options, including our new-and-improved Anti-Fog collection! You'll find the perfect Bomber Eyewear for you.