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Dry Eyes & How to Cope With This Common Problem

Added December 22, 2019, Under: Environment, How To, Inflammation, Insomnia, Natural remedies

Do your eyes sting and burn?

Do they look red?

Do they feel gritty as if there is some sand lurking there?

Then you may well be suffering from Dry Eye.

Why do we get Dry Eye?

The tears that appear in our eyes help to keep the surface of the eye smooth, comfortable and hydrated while washing away dust and debris – and protecting them from infection.

When our eyes are healthy, they make tears all day long.  They stay moist.  They do not suffer from dry eye.

But sometimes certain diseases, medications or even aging can cause our eyes to cut down on the tear making.  Dry eyes can be caused by both medical and environmental factors including:

  • Meibomian gland dysfunction or Blepharitis.
  • Skin diseases in and around the eye.
  • Engaging in activities that tend to affect the frequency of blinking – reading and staring at screens.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Side effects of certain medications including nasal decongestants, blood pressure medications, contraceptive pills, antidepressants, tranquilizers and more.
  • Exposure to adverse climatic conditions such as excessive smoke, wind or dryness.
  • Entropian (a condition where the eyelids tend to turn inside) and Ectropion (the reverse condition of an outward turning of the eyelids).
  • Eating a diet low in vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids.

Signs of Dry Eye

  • Redness in the eyes.
  • Eye fatigue.
  • Sensitivity to light.
  • Poor night vision.
  • Sticking together of eyelids when waking up.
  • A sensation of having something in the eyes (especially when wearing contact lenses).
  • Difficulty in driving at night.
  • Stinging, itching and a gritty sensation in eyes.
  • Blurry vision that resolves after blinking.
  • Difficulty in reading or staring on screens.

How to copy with Dry Eye naturally?

Warm compresses.  Tears are made up of oil, water and mucus.  Wet a clean washcloth with warm water before wringing it out and placing it over your closed eye(s) for at least one minute.  Very gently press the edge of your eyelid with your finger to help squeeze out the clogged oil so that the moist heat can help loosen up those clogged oils in the glands.  Wet the cloth often so it stays warm and keep repeating the exercise.
Keeping your eyelids clean.  Practicing good hygiene can help keep your eyelids clean, produce tears and reduce discomfort. People with dry eyes tend to constantly rub their eyes, which should be avoided to reduce inflammation.

Blinking frequently.  Blink your eyes frequently and consciously while using digital devices. This will help spread the tears over the eyelids, helping to keep the eyes moist. Blinking more often also promotes blood circulation to the eyes and reduces eyestrain. In fact, each blink brings nutrients to the eyes’ surface structures and helps maintain its health.

Perform this blinking exercise:

  1. Close your eyes fully and count to 2.
  2. Then, squeeze the eyelids together and again count to 2.
  3. Finally, open your eyes and count to 2.
  4. Do this exercise every hour for 5 times for a few weeks.
Limiting screen time.  Give your eyes a break every 20 minutes while working on a screen, reading or doing similar activities. Focus on a point at a distance of about 20 feet for about 20 seconds.
Wearing sunglasses when going out in dry environments, hot, windy weather conditions and high altitudes.  At the same time, try to avoid going out in places with heightened levels of pollution, dust, chemicals, smoke and smog.
Ensuring a regular sleep schedule.   Staying up for long hours at a stretch can give you dry eyes.
Using a humidifier (especially in the winter months) can help prevent dry eyes.  The central heating system in your home or office often dries the air out, which can aggravate dry eye symptoms.  Use a humidifier to add some moisture back into the air – and turn down the central heating.
Placing plants in your home for adding moisture too.  Some of the best plants for this purpose are the areca palm, peace lily and Boston fern.   They will also help to purify the air by absorbing indoor air pollutants.
Avoiding smoking or being around others who smoke.
Using eye drops with castor oil.  Castor oil helps reduce the symptoms of dry eyes. The ricinoleic acid in the oil works as an anti-inflammatory agent to help relieve the itching, irritation, burning and discomfort associated with dry eyes.  In addition, the oil can also help reduce tear evaporation. We always recommend checking with your health care professional before using any remedies or treatments.

To use castor oil to treat dry eyes:

  1. Buy pure, organic, hexane-free castor oil.
  2. Using an eye dropper, place one drop of it in each eye.
  3. Repeat twice daily to keep your eyes moisturized and to reduce redness.

Enriching your diet with Omega-3.  Dry eyes can be due to a lack of essential fatty acids in your diet.  Omega-3 helps reduce inflammation in the body while simulating tear production and high-quality tears.  Include foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. These include fatty fishes, fish oils, sesame seeds, almonds, flaxseed, flaxseed oil, chia seeds and walnuts.  You can also take omega-3 supplements.

Of course our eyes are so important to us – and it is vital to keep them as healthy as possible.  While dry eyes are a common problem, with proper hygiene and care, the symptoms can be kept in check.

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