Brinton Vision | Dry-Eye Solutions
It’s that time of year when many LASIK patients coming through Brinton Vision’s doors are donning cable-knit, chunky scarves and the warm neutrals associated with fall. They may also be sporting bloodshot eyes, stringy or crusty mucus on the eyes and other symptoms of dry eye syndrome that frequently come with the seasonal change. The discomfort calls for reliable dry-eye solutions.
Why do eyes get so dry in autumn? It doesn’t matter whether you still have glasses or contacts, or whether you’ve had some variation of LASIK – St. Louis’ crisp fall breezes are lower in humidity, causing tears in the eye to evaporate more quickly. If you suffer from fall allergies, the medications you take to treat them (Allegra, Claritin, Sudafed and Zyrtec to name a few) can make your eyes even more red and irritated because they decrease tear production.
Many of our St. Louis LASIK patients use over-the-counter Zaditor drops to relieve itch, and we also recommend preservative-free artificial tears (many different types are available on Amazon.com). If allergy symptoms affect more than your eyes, talk with your primary care physician to see if a different medication, or even an allergy nasal spray, will help. Then, follow these 7 tips for dry eyes:
Heal dry eyes.
1. Break the habit of rubbing your eyes. Instead, use artificial tears or allergy drops to relieve eye itching. You can also place a clean, cool washcloth over your eyes to sooth them.
2. Reduce airflow. Many people enjoy running a fan at night, but this can worsen dry eyes. That’s because your eyes could be open slightly while you sleep without your even being aware of it. Combat this by turning off your bedroom fan and running a humidifier with clean water.
3. Sync your blink. When we focus intently on a computer screen (or any device or book), our blink rate plummets from 16 per minute to approximately four. Give your eyes the moisture they need by training yourself to blink more frequently. Blink every time you hit the “Return” key, or each time you spot punctuation. It also helps to follow the 20/20/20 rule: a 20-second break every 20 minutes to focus your gaze at something at least 20 feet away.
4. Position your screen for comfort. Lower your computer monitor to below eye level. This allows you to view it without opening your eyes as wide and may help reduce tear evaporation between blinks.
5. Go smoke-free. If you smoke, the drying effect it has on eyes is just one of a million reasons to quit. Second-hand smoke is bad news too, so steer clear.
6. Feast for the eyes. A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids are best for dry eyes. You’ll find omega-3s in salmon, halibut, oysters, tuna, sardines and other fish and seafood; vegetarian sources include spinach, kale, bell peppers, flax, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and a variety of nuts and grains. Cutting back on sugar and processed foods can also reduce some of the body inflammation that can contribute to dry eyes. It goes without saying that staying well hydrated is important for your eyes.
7. Talk to an eye doctor. The doctors at Brinton Vision can advise you on other steps you can take to address dry eye syndrome. Treatments can be as simple as the placement of punctal plugs in the tear ducts to help retain tears, or as life changing as getting rid of those contacts in favor of a vision correction solution such as Visian ICL. St. Louis patients frequently get this permanent, implantable contact lens placed to get rid of dry eye caused by contact lens wear and break free from the daily contact lens routine.
To learn more about LASIK and vision correction solutions that can improve eye comfort, schedule a Brinton Vision Ocular Analysis. This thorough exam uses sophisticated modern technology to measure and map the eye in 3D from the back of the retina to the front of the cornea, including evaluation of the tear film to help diagnose dry eyes. Set up an appointment online or call 314.375.2020.