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How to Prevent and Treat Dry Eyes

CAUSES OF DRY EYES

Redness, itchiness and the feeling of something in your eye are all typical symptoms of dry eyes. Dryness is usually prevented by your body’s own tears. While they may seem like little more than salty water, tears actually consist of a complex combination of different elements. Enzymes, microorganisms, even certain natural oils combine to create moisture over the eye to help protect it from dust, debris and infection. Because of this delicate balance, eye dryness can have many causes. Age, medical conditions, eye health history, medication and environmental factors can all cause or worsen dry eyes. Read on to learn what you can do to prevent dry eyes and how to treat dryness when it happens.

PREVENTION

The first rule of preventing dry eyes is simple: blink often! Blinking adds tears and spreads the layer of protection across your eyes. Activities that require sustained attention can cause you to blink less, which can quickly lead to dry eyes. Whether at a computer or driving long hours, make sure to break up your rhythm by blinking regularly and occasionally massaging your eyelids. Other strategies that can help are avoiding excessively hot, dry and windy conditions and, if you have them, limiting how long you wear your contact lenses. No matter what you do, dryness may still develop so let’s touch on what you can do to relieve the symptoms of dry eyes.

TREATMENT

Over-the-counter eye drops or artificial tears may be the most convenient reprieve from dry eyes. Your optometrist can advise the right drops for you, as there are many different varieties for the many different causes and symptoms of eye dryness. More complex causes such as inflamed eyelids can be controlled with medication and regular, gentle washing and there are even special contact lenses that help contain moisture to lubricate dried eyes. Further procedures may be suggested by your optometrist, including partial closing of tear ducts or opening clogged oil pores. Both of these processes may seem intimidating, but they are simple procedures that could help solve your eye dryness. If you struggle with dry eyes, make an appointment with your optometrist and take the first step towards healthy, comfortable eyes.

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