If your eyes are red and burning after a long workday, you’re probably anxious for relief. Here are 7 ways to treat irritated, itchy eyes.
Dry eyes plague almost 5 million Americans over the age of 50. Chronic dry eye problems pop up when your tear-flow system gets out of whack.
This can happen as a result of environmental factors. For example a fan, heater, or air conditioner blowing in your face.
The cause can also be something more internal. Natural aging and problems closing the eye all the way are common culprits. Some diseases like rheumatoid arthritis can even inhibit your ability to make tears.
How do you know if you suffer from chronic dry eye? You may experience itchy eyes, redness, a gritty feeling, or even blurred vision. Light sensitivity can also be a symptom.
The good news is that there is something you can do about it. Try some of these ways to treat dry, itchy eyes and see if one of them works for you.
1. Blink Breaks
In recent years, doctors have been seeing an increase of cases of dry eye in younger people. Many believe this is due to the prevalence of computer use.
People tend to stare at electronic screens and not blink as much. Blinking is your body’s method of lubricating and refreshing your eyes. If you don’t do it enough, your eyes won’t get the lubrication and protection they need.
Put a conscious effort into blinking more while using a computer. Try to follow the 20/20/20 rule.
Every 20 minutes take a 20-second break and look at something at least 20 feet away. This minimal effort can pay off big time in reducing computer eyestrain and dry eye symptoms.
You may have to work at a computer all day, but you can minimize the ill effects with this trick. Correctly positioning your screen, whether standing or sitting, will help as well.
2. Keep Your Eyes Clean
Another great way to reduce symptoms of itchy eyes is to keep them clean. Always clean all makeup off your eyes at the end of the day.
Eyeliner and the like can stop up your meibomian glands. These glands secrete the oil needed to clean and lubricate your eyes.
It’s also important to keep your eyelids clean. This will help keep unwanted bacteria from having access to your eyes. Be sure to use a gentle cleanser. A warm compress for a few minutes has a soothing effect as well.
What you eat has an effect on everything in your body, including your eyes. Studies have found that eating plenty of omega-3’s help ease dry eye symptoms.
You can get lots of omega-3 from eating fatty fish. Or you can take a supplement such as fish oil or flaxseed oil to get a good dose.
Hydration also has an effect on your eyes. If you don’t get enough water, this can contribute to your dry eye problem. Be sure to drink lots of water, particularly if you’re in hot, dry weather. You can get mildly dehydrated quickly without realizing it.
4. Refreshing Drops
If these simple steps don’t ease your symptoms enough, you could try refreshing drops. There are lots of brands available over the counter, so you won’t need a prescription.
However, it’s a good idea to ask your doctor which brand they recommend for you. Some brands may work better or worse for your eyes. It depends on the underlying cause of your condition.
There are two basic viscosities of these types of drops. Low viscosity drops are thin and don’t blur your vision. These are great for daytime use at the office or when driving. The trouble is you may need to apply them often, as the effect doesn’t last long.
High viscosity drops are thicker and therefore blur your vision for a few moments. The good thing is that the soothing effect lasts a lot longer. Doctors often recommend using this type at night.
For some people, over the counter solutions are not strong enough. In those cases, there are some prescriptions your doctor may recommend.
Restasis is a frequently recommended brand of therapeutic eye drops. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see immediate results.
These are healing drops that work best when applied for at least 90 days. You can find out more about where to buy Restasis using eDrugSearch.
6. Punctal Plugs
To allow tears to drain from your eye, you have drainage ducts called puncta. To get tears to stay in your eye longer, doctors can put a sterile plug in the ducts.
Tears still evaporate from the surface of the eye so this shouldn’t cause watery eyes. If your eyes are dry enough, that is. If not, they may need to remove a plug or two until they find the right balance.
7. Meibomian Gland Expression
A big culprit in dry eye problems are the meibomian glands. You probably worry about your meibomian glands all the time, don’t you? We’re kidding, of course, but they do need to stay unobstructed so your eyes stay hydrated.
The meibomian glands secrete an oil called meibum. This oil keeps your tear film from evaporating too fast. You can clog these glands with makeup, dust particles, or even hardened meibum.
The result is meibomian gland dysfunction that causes dry eye. Doctors can express these glands to correct the problem. They’ll start with warm compresses to loosen the blockages as much as possible.
Then they’ll use a forceps-like device to squeeze the gland until the blockage comes out. It sounds a little gruesome but is worth the momentary discomfort to relieve your dry eye.
Say Goodbye to Itchy Eyes
Whatever is causing your itchy eyes, there’s something that will help you. Try the ideas on this list and see what works for you. You don’t need to keep suffering, thinking there’s nothing that you can do.
If you need any more ideas for ways to stay comfortable at work, check out our blog. We have tons of information and resources for small business owners. We want to help you be successful and keep yourself healthy as you build your business.