Combatting Dry Eye Syndrome

Do you experience dry, itchy, or burning eyes? You may be suffering from dry eye syndrome. Tears are necessary for overall eye health and clear vision, when there is insufficient moisture on the surface of the eye it can cause discomfort. Let’s looks at some common concerns about dry eye, symptoms, and risk factors.

What causes dry eye?

Tears keep the eyes surfaces moist and wash away dust, debris, and other microorganisms. Without constant, adequate moisture, dry eye will occur. Not enough oil in the tears, causes tears to evaporate too quickly, and without sufficient water production, eyes cannot maintain proper moisture.

Symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome:

  • Scratchy or gritty feeling
  • Red eyes
  • Blurriness
  • Irritation from windy conditions
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Fatigued eyes
  • Problems with contacts
  • Excessive tearing
  • Heavy eyes
  • Sore eyes

Contact lenses and dry eyes

One of the most common complaints from contact lens wearers is their contacts make their eyes feel dry. If you experience dry eye symptoms while wearing your contacts or immediately after removing your contacts, talk with your doctor, as it is irregular to feel discomfort.

If discomfort occurs, it is possible you are using the incorrect solution with your contact lenses; not all solutions are made equally. Your doctor may also recommend you use eye drops to help temporarily relieve dry eye symptoms.

Another means to relieve symptoms is to change your contact lens type to a more breathable or moisture-focused lens, which is specially made to help retain moisture. You may also want to discuss with your doctor the option to switch from reusable contact lenses to single-use lenses. Single use lenses will help prevent your lens from drying out and work to maintain moisture in your eyes.

Factors that Increase Risk of Dry Eye

Dry eye symptoms stem from multiple risk factors, including health conditions, environments, and eyewear choice. If you are suffering from dry eye try some of the tips below to helps reduce your symptoms.  

  • Computer use. Humans blink less frequently when working at computers, allowing for more evaporated tears. When working on a computer for an extended period of time, follow the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away for 20 seconds to give your eyes a rest.
  • Contact lens. Dry eye discomfort is a primary reason for wearers to stop using contacts. Use rewetting drops daily or talk with your doctor about contact lens types that work best for your eyes.
  • Indoor environment. Air conditioning, fans, and air heating systems can decrease the humidity indoors and cause symptoms of dry eye. Try using a humidifier in your house if you notice the air getting dryer.
  • Outdoor environment. If you are outdoors in dry or windy conditions, wear a pair of sunglasses or hat to reduce your exposure to the elements which can cause dry eyes.
  • Smoking causes eyes to dry overtime and is the route of various other eye problems.
  • Aging. Dry eye syndrome is more common after the age of 50.
  • Menopause. Women who have completed menopause are at a greater risk for dry eye than men the same age.
  • Health conditions. Certain diseases have a higher risk of contributing to dry eye- such as diabetes or thyroid diseases.
  • Medications. Prescription and nonprescription medications can have dry eye as a side effect.

How to Clean Your Eyeglasses

If eye care professionals cringe when they see you clean your glasses, and your lenses don’t last long before they are scratched, then it’s probably time to update your eyeglass cleaning habits!

To make sure your lenses stay clear and crisp as long as possible, follow these lens cleaning instructions.

1. First, wash your hands and dry them thoroughly. Don’t use a soap that contains lotion. Regular hand soap or dish soap are preferred. Dry your hands with a lint-free towel.
2. Rinse your glasses under the water. Use lukewarm tap water with a gentle stream. Avoid using water that is too hot.
3. Put one drop of dish soap on each lens, or drop some on your fingers and apply it to the lens this way. It doesn’t take much, but remember not to use a soap with lotion.
4. Gently rub the front and back of the lens, as well as rubbing lightly along the frame. Be sure to wash along the frame components like nosepads and hinges. Dust and oil can accumulate around the lens, so clean these areas thoroughly.
5. Rinse the glasses with lukewarm water inside and out.
6. Carefully shake or tap the glasses to remove excess water.
7. Use a clean, lint-free towel to dry your lenses and frames. A cotton towel is preferred, but most dish towels are fine as long as they have been washed without substances that can smear your lenses, like fabric softener or dryer sheets. Make sure it is a fresh, clean towel!
8. Check to see that your eyewear is free from smears and smudges. Keep a microfiber cloth on hand to clean any minor residue you may encounter.

Even when using eyeglass cleaning products, it’s important to inspect your lenses and follow instructions. If you like to clean your glasses without a faucet, there are several cleaning sprays available in drugstores or at our practice. Before using a cleaning wipe, make sure to blow any debris off of your lenses to prevent scratching.

The best way to avoid not only scratching your glasses, but also having to clean them frequently is by getting an anti-reflective (AR) treatment done on your lenses. The best AR treatments prevent scratching, reduce glares, and even resist dust, dirt, and oil.

Talk to us if you have any questions about proper care for your glasses!