Looking At Causes & Solutions For Dry Eyes

Solutions For Dry EyesDo you suffer from dry eye?

Do your eyes often burn for no apparent reason? Is your vision sometimes foggy even though your prescription is current? Do your eyes itch despite the fact that you don’t have allergies? All of these symptoms indicate a potential dry eye problem. Other symptoms include feeling like something is in your eye, excess watering and blurred vision.

Dry eye is caused by not enough tear production or from poor quality of tears produced, both resulting in insufficient moisture to lubricate and nourish eyes.

What causes dry eye?

There are a variety of causes of dry eye. For starters, dry eye can simply come with age. In addition, more women than men suffer from dry eyes due to changing hormones. Some medications as well as many medical conditions can also cause dry eyes.

Long-term contact wearers as well as those who have had LASIK surgery also tend to have more problems with dry eyes. Finally, a person’s environment could be the source of dry eye problems.

What can be done about dry eye?

Fortunately, there are many solutions available for dry eye sufferers. The following are commonly the most helpful.

  1. Eye drops add artificial tears that lubricate the eye. Drops are available over the counter and provide an easy solution for mild cases of dry eyes. Prescription drops are also available from a doctor.
  2. Supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to bring relief for dry eyes. Because other nutritional deficiencies, such as low vitamin A, can also contribute to dry eye, evaluating your diet may be useful.
  3. Safety Glasses can help when a person’s environment is the culprit. Dry, dusty and smoky environments – such as in mines, machine shops and constructions sites – often cause dry eyes, and safety glasses can help protect eyes in these environments.
  4. Sunglasses can help reduce dry eye problems caused by squinting in sunlight as well as by wind and other outdoor elements. Wrap-around styles especially help combat these environmental causes of dry eye.
  5. Hydration not only benefits our body as a whole, but it can also help reduce dry eye by giving the body adequate supplies for tear production. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, which experts say means 8-10 glasses of water daily.
  6. Humidify your environment to lessen its impact on drying your eyes. Small, inexpensive units are available to be able to make your home and work environment more eye friendly.
  7. Blinking not only gives eyes a break from staring a computer screen or other object for long periods of time, but it also promotes tear production. Many optometrist recommend applying the 20-20-20 rule to help not only reduce dry eye symptoms but also to help with visual focusing problems that often result from tired eyes.
  8. Ergonomics not only impact an individual’s musculoskeletal health but can also contribute to dry eyes. A 2005 New York Times article reported that when people squint to reduce glare or bring text into focus, they blink less thus reducing tear production which leads to dry eye problems. Making sure your work station is set up properly can prevent squinting and as a result aid in preventing dry eye as well.
  9. Adequate ventilation can provide yet another way to combat dry eyes. This is especially applicable in a setting with dry air or with particles in the air (such as dust or printer toner), which can make tears unable to adequately coat eyes. Adjusting ventilation and installing a simple air filter that services the room you work in can help in reducing these types of problems.
  10. Treat inflammation around the surface of the eyes. Prescription eye drops, ointments, warm compresses, lid massages and eyelid cleaners can reduce inflammation around the eye that may be contributing to dry eye problems.

Note that sometimes the best solution is a combination of the above suggestions, so be willing to try each of the above to find a combination that works for you. If the above fail to provide adequate relief, additional and more invasive solutions including surgery and plugging eye ducts are additional options when these other options fail to work and must be done by a physician.

What’s the first step?

First and foremost, anyone suffering from chronic dry eye should see an optometrist for a thorough evaluation. Your eye doctor can determine if a serious health problem is the cause and can also give experienced advice in helping find a solution. Seeing your family doctor for any possible health problems and possibly medication adjustments is also a good idea.

Shedding Some Light on Night Driving Challenges and Solutions, Part 1

Dips in the road. Lane demarcations. Headlight glare. Whether or not you wear glasses, driving at night puts a strain on the eyes. In fact, Driving at Night Proves Dangerous for some 32% of drivers who say they struggle seeing at least part of the time at night. This is one reason, states the Federal Highway Administration, that about half of all traffic fatalities occur at night though only about a quarter of total driving takes place then. (Note that drunk driving and drowsy driving contribute largely to these fatalities too.) Unfortunately, there are no clear-cut solutions to the problem many drivers have with seeing while driving at dusk and dawn as well as after dark.Night Driving

While some individuals turn to night driving glasses, which are readily available at retailers, experts express great caution and even warn against doing so. This 2-part series serves to educate the consumer and to somewhat mitigate this controversial topic. In addition, this series will provide additional suggestions for reducing the vision challenges that so many drivers face at night as well as at dawn and dusk.

Sources of Night Vision Problems

Assuring the best night vision possible begins with first making sure the eyes themselves are healthy. This means getting eyes examined regularly and always wearing up-to-date prescriptions. Before deciding to use tinted lenses for nighttime driving, make sure you have taken the following steps to improve your individual driving circumstances.

  1. Clean lenses, windshields and headlights. Make sure all of these surfaces are free of dust and smears. Keeping these surfaces clean goes a long way in reducing eye strain. In fact, with regard specifically to headlights, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says that “even a thin layer of road grime on lenses can block up to 90 percent of light and severely restrict your ability to see at night.” AAA also says that “for maximum glare prevention, keep every surface between your eyes and the road as clear as possible – including both sides of your windshield and your eyeglasses.” Make a habit of cleaning your glasses regularly and clean the windows in your vehicle as well as the headlights at least once a month.
  2. Investigate possible causes of night vision problems. Poor night vision may be a sign of a serious health condition including vitamin deficiencies, cataracts as well as other significant health problems. In fact, the first sign of cataracts is often decreased night vision with blurry vision also being common. Deficiencies in Vitamin A or Zinc can also cause problems with night vision. Sunlight exposure can also cause eyes to struggle seeing at night, which is yet another reason to wear quality sunglasses that protect against the sun’s harmful rays. See your eye doctor when you first experience night vision problems to make sure a treatable health problem isn’t the source.
  3. Use antireflective coating if you already wear prescription eyeglasses. Laramy-K Optical suggests using anti-reflective coating on prescription eyeglasses as the best option for nighttime driving. Doing so can minimize reflections within the glasses themselves, reduce halo problems, and increase the transmittance of light through the lens to the eye. However, and this is significant, if a person does not normally wear prescription eyeglasses, Laramy-K Optical says that an AR coating on any other type of glasses will not be helpful for improving nighttime vision while driving.

The above suggestions provide the best and least controversial routes for improving night vision. Additional solutions such as using tinted lenses or night-vision goggles involve going down a dim road with no clear-cut answers. This topic will be explored in two weeks in Shedding Some Light on Night Driving Challenges and Solutions, Part 2.

How to Remember to Wear Sunglasses

Wiley X Safety Sunglasses

Wiley X Safety Sunglasses

The article UV Protection – Eliminating Excuses, presented 5 facts to help motivate readers to protect their eyes in the best ways possible. In this article, the number one reason for not protecting eyes by wearing sunglasses is addressed.

In a recent survey, most individuals indicated they felt protecting eyes against UV rays was important, and many followed through on that belief by purchasing quality sunglasses. When asked why they failed to wear those sunglasses regularly, many confessed that the main reason they did not wear their sunglasses was, simply, that they forgot.

Since so many people readily admit that forgetting to bring or wear their sunglasses is a problem, the following 5 tips are offered to help build the habit and stimulate the memory for wearing sunglasses.

  1. Have a place for them. Just like with your car keys, sunglasses will likely get lost if they don’t have a home. Many vehicles have a bin for storing sunglasses, and there are a variety of cases available for storing sunglasses that can be put in a bag or even hung on a hook next to your keys. Find a place to always put your sunglasses.
  2. Be consistent. Once you have a place for your sunglasses, be systematic in putting them there. Having a place does absolutely no good if you don’t use it consistently. When going in and out of buildings, such as when shopping at an outlet mall for example, consider a neck strap for your sunglasses to make taking them on and off without losing them of having to put them somewhere easier.
  3. Tell your kids. While forgetfulness seems to be a natural ability of many children, most children also enjoy helping their parents remember what’s important to them. Tell your kids to remind you to wear your sunglasses, and even explain why doing so is important. You might be surprised to find that they can actually be good at reminding you. They feel important, and your eyes get protected.
  4. Buy an extra pair. With sunglasses available in a wide price range, having an extra pair is not a problem. Keep the extra pair in your car or carryall bag, so they are most likely with you at all times. There are a variety of hard cases and pouches available to protect your sunglasses (and many have cleaning cloths in them too), so your sunglasses are in perfect shape when you need them.
  5. Create a mental checklist. Avoid making too long of a list, but create one that includes all of the items you never want to leave home without. A sample list might be: Sunglasses, water bottle and snack. After you have your list, get into the habit of saying it every time you walk out the door. Eventually, remembering those items will be automatic, and you can move on to a new list.

The bottom line is to find a method that works for you. Build positive habits to help you remember your sunglasses simply because doing so can impact your eye health in significant ways.