Why Are My Eyes So Dry?
June 15, 2020
Tears, which come from special glands around your eyes, are a complex mixture of water, oils, mucus and antibodies. If your eyes are dry, something in this system is off kilter. Your eyes may feel gritty, itchy, red, or your vision may be sensitive to light.
Ironically, even if your eyes are watering, you could still have dry eye. It’s called reflex tearing and occurs when the lack of moisture irritates your eye. The problem with these kinds of “tears” is that they’re mainly water, so they don’t have the lubricating, protective mixture described above. They can’t coat the eye’s surface to relieve dry eye.
Symptoms of Dry Eye
People with dry eyes may experience irritated, burning eyes, or feel like something is in their eyes. Advanced dry eye could cause long-term damage of the eye’s surface and eventually impair vision. Women are more likely to develop dry eyes due to hormonal changes.
What Causes Dry Eye?
- Heavy reading or the use of digital devices
- Insufficient blinking of eyes
- Living or working in a dry environment
- Menopause or the natural aging process
- Lasik surgery or extended wear of contact lenses
- Antihistamines and nasal decongestants
- Certain medications such as those for blood pressure, depression or oral contraceptives
- Medical conditions including auto-immune disorders or diabetes
- Inability to properly close eyelids
- Insufficient amounts of omega fatty acids
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Smoking or excessive drinking of alcohol
10 Tips for Natural Eye Care
1. Blink frequently. We naturally blink 10-15 times a minute, but when reading a book or staring at a screen, that’s cut in half.
2. Wear sunglasses with side shields. This will prevent tears from evaporating and reduce exposure to drying winds and sun.
3. Load up on greens. Leafy green veggies are chock-full of antioxidants like zeaxanthin, lutein and astaxanthin that benefit eye health.
4. Try squeeze and release exercises. A few times each day, close your eyes, squeeze them tight, relax your eyes while keeping them closed, open. Repeat five times.
5. Increase moisture in your home and office with a humidifier.
6. Drink plenty of water. This keeps your entire body, including your eyes, hydrated.
7. Consume less caffeine and alcohol which have a drying effect.
8. Apply a warm, wet washcloth to your eyes twice daily. Hold over your eyes for five minutes and gently massage. This opens up oil glands and relieves discomfort.
9. Opt for preservative-free eye drops. The red reducing eye drops actually make dry eyes worse since they can reduce circulation in the eye and limit the production of moisture. Preservative-free drops are single-dose vials that stay fresh.
10. Consume more omegas. Omega-3 from fatty fish like sardines, salmon or flaxseed can benefit dry eyes and ease symptoms. If you don’t consume these types of foods, supplements are available.
Try one or more of these tips to ease discomfort. It just may do the trick. Be sure to check with your vision healthcare professional to see what’s best for you. If you’re looking for vitamins and supplements to support healthy vision, check these out!