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January 20, 2023 3 min read

Since the coronavirus pandemic, many have been spending much more time on their phones and computers, and their eyes may begin to feel the effects. Symptoms such as dryness, itchiness, and general discomfort could be signs of dry eye and might be made worse by certain activities. It's essential to avoid touching our eyes, and if dryness continues, artificial tears may be necessary.

What Is Dry Eye?

Dry eye is a condition where the eyes do not produce enough tears to keep eyes lubricated. This can cause irritation and inflammation, leading to dryness, stinging, pain, burning, itching, and light sensitivity.

Without further ado, here are five causes of dry eye and what you can do about them:

1. Screen Time without a Break

Staring at computers, phones, or digital screens for too long can cause the blink rate to decrease. This is bad for the eyes because blinking allows the tear film to spread across the eyeballs and keep them moist. When people don't blink enough, their eyes become dryer and more irritated. Additionally, not blinking enough leads to a faster tear evaporation rate from the eye surface.

To solve this, take a break from looking at screens every 20 minutes by focusing on an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This will help reset your body's natural blink rate. Setting a timer on your computer reminds you to do this until it becomes part of your routine.

2. Medications That Dry Out the Eyes

Many drugs used to treat different medical conditions can cause dry eye as a side effect. Examples of these medications include antihistamines, decongestants, anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medicines, some blood pressure medications, birth control, and hormone therapy drugs. These drugs can worsen dry eye symptoms and should be used cautiously.

If you have recently begun taking a new medication and have experienced sudden dry eye problems, it may be wise to speak to your doctor. An alternate medication is available, one which may be more effective in treating your condition without causing any unwanted side effects.

3. Sleeping with Contact Lenses

Sleeping with contacts, even if designed for overnight use, can be a real problem for your eyes. The material of the contact lenses forms a barrier on the eye's surface, blocking oxygen and nutrients from reaching the delicate corneal tissue. It's like putting a suction cup over your eyeball! The best way to avoid this is to avoid sleeping in contacts.

4. Not Wearing Sunglasses during Windy Days

In windy conditions, the air can cause your tear film to evaporate quickly, just like the air from a hand dryer in a public restroom. To avoid this, people exposed to the wind should wear sunglasses. Wraparound sunglasses are even better, especially for cyclists and people who participate in outdoor sports.

5. Smoking

The dangers of smoking are plentiful and clear. Excessive exposure to smoke or even secondhand smoke will harm the eyes. It can cause irritation, decrease the production of eye-essential nutrients, and lead to drier eyes. Additionally, many vision problems and medical conditions are linked to smoking. For this reason, it is recommended to try and limit or even quit smoking entirely. 

Conclusion

Many factors can cause dry eyes, so it is important to know the potential causes. Not getting enough sleep, staring at screens for too long, being exposed to pollutants, not drinking enough water, not wearing protective eyewear, and not eating a balanced diet can worsen the severity of dry eyes. It is essential to be mindful of these potential factors and take steps to mitigate them to protect your eyes from further damage.

Dry Eye Mask is a specialty eye care provider specializing in dry eye syndrome, providing complete treatment and prevention for dry, itchy eyes. If you’re looking for an at-home remedy, try ourdry eye sleep mask now!


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