Dry eye can be something as small as a mild irritation that affects you now and again to an unrelenting condition that making it difficult using your eyes for any extended period.
Our unhealthy media habits and inclination to spend most of our lives inside have more and more of us are joining this first group and having infrequent symptoms of dry eye. Our eyes simply aren’t configured to undergo watching six straight episodes of This is Us or play Computer Solitaire for four hours without blinking.
This phenomenon is known as Digital Eye Syndrome or Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). It happens because when looking at a screen our eyes are constantly refocusing to process the millions of little pixels that make up the images and text. In addition to this we decrease our blink rate, not letting the tears to spread over the eye and lubricate them.
Activities like these are part of contemporary life. And for most of us it’s unfeasible to avoid staring at a screen all day or sitting in an air conditioned workplace (okay, so we can cut down on Computer Solitaire). Since we can’t really wait for thousands of years for evolution to catch up, we must manage the symptoms before dry eye starts to really interrupt our lives.
Our smartphone-loving sheltered lifestyle isn’t the only thing to blame for dry eye. In fact, dry eye can result from many causes including pregnancy, exposure to irritants, infections, allergies, medications like blood pressure tablets and anti-depressants, hormone replacement therapy, and even not closing your eyes the right way while asleep.
How do you know if you suffer from dry eye? According to the National Eye Institute, the symptoms of dry eye can include any of the following:
- Occurrences of blurry vision
- Reduced tolerance of reading, computer use, or any activity that requires continuous visual attention
- Stinging or burning of the eye
- Sandy or gritty sensation as if something is in the eye
- Episodes of an overabundance of tears following very dry eye periods
- Eye tiredness
- Stringy discharge from the eye
- Pain and redness of the eye
- Heavy eyelids
- Not being able to cry when emotional
- Uncomfortable contact lenses
You certainly do not want to ignore Dry Eye. If left untreated, it can lead to ulcers, pain, scars, and even vision loss. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, we recommended to see an eye care professional to get a precise diagnosis and start undergoing treatment if necessary.
Preventing and treating dry eye
There are a few things you can do to help keep your eyes wet and healthy. Eating well, drinking lots of water, and reducing your exposure to things like chemical fumes, tobacco smoke, and drafts from air conditioning or heating. But the most beneficial step you can take is in managing your digital media use.
Ensure your surroundings cater to good eye health. Dim any bright overhead lights, use an ergonomically designed chair and sit with the screen 20-26 inches away from you and tilted slightly back, and adjust the contrast and brightness of your screen accordingly.
If you follow these steps, you may look forward to a life of trouble-free and healthy vision!