7 Things That Could Be Making Your Dry Eye Worse

Dry Eye Syndrome is an irritating affliction that can make it uncomfortable to clearly see. The clinical cause of Dry Eye Syndrome is inadequate quality or quantity of tears to keep your eyes well lubricated. The tears that lubricate your eyes are not the same as the drops that come from your eyes while crying. Tear lubrication is produced by a number of glands around the eye and applied from the eyelids every time you blink to keep your eyes hydrated and healthy.

These critical tears are ever-present to provide moisture, oxygen, and nutrients to your eye’s cornea, the clear outermost part of your eye.

Symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you may be suffering from Dry Eye Syndrome:

  • Stinging sensation
  • Burning sensation
  • Constant itch
  • Red eyes
  • Slight pain
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Blurred vision that gets clearer as you blink
  • Excessively watery eyes as an overreaction to dry eyes

Dry eye symptoms can be alleviated with certain advanced therapies including LipiFlow, which  your eye doctor may suggest after a thorough exam and diagnosis of the cause. If you suffer from chronic dry eye there are a number of factors that could be making your irritating symptoms even worse but can be easy to correct. 

Read on to learn about seven of the most common things that could be making your dry eye worse and how you can find relief.

1. Too Much Screen Time Can Make Dry Eye Worse 

Your computer screen, TV, and phone could actually be causing you to blink less. A healthy blinking rhythm is 15 blinks per minute, but when our attention is focused on electronic screens this natural rhythm can be cut down by a third. Longer gaps between blinking results in your eyes not getting enough hydration and leads to dryer eyes and increased irritation.

Taking a 20 second break every 20 minutes to look away from your screen and at something else at least 20 feet away can restore a proper blinking rhythm and give your eyes a break. This is known as the “20-20-20 Rule”, and it is incredibly effective at reducing eye strain, as well as increased eye lubrication. Set a reminder on your computer or phone to keep you scheduled for a quick far-off staring session for healthier, more moist eyes.

2. Windy Environments Can Evaporate Tears

Dry, windy climates greatly increase the evaporation rate of your eye’s tears to the point even a healthy blinking rhythm can’t keep up. Wearing eye protection such as sunglasses while outdoors or wraparound goggles while traveling outside at higher speeds will help mitigate this issue. 

Air conditioners with gusty vents in your home or workplace can also irritate dry eyes. Indoor environments like this have little to no moisture in the air, but a humidifier can help keep your space moist to prevent tear evaporation.

3. Certain Medication Can Cause Dry Eyes

There are a number of medications that can cause dry eyes or make the symptoms dramatically worse. Side effects are commonly found with the use of some of these medications:

  • Antihistamines
  • Decongestants
  • Antidepressants
  • Birth control pills
  • Anti-anxiety medications
  • Blood pressure medication

If you just started experiencing dry eyes with new medication, speak with your doctor about the side effects to learn more about what other options are available.

4. Over the Counter Eye Drops Can Actually Make Dry Eye Worse

Artificial Tears

Those suffering from chronically red, bloodshot eyes may be quick to grab over-the-counter eye drops to reduce redness. While this is fine on occasion, prolonged use can have the opposite effect as the preservatives in the eye drops can aggravate the eye’s surface. The result is even redder, drier eyes.

If you are using eye drops to reduce redness frequently, speak to your eye doctor about determining the underlying cause and to find an alternative solution to redness relief.

5. Cigarette Smoke Can Weaken Your Tear Film

There’s a lot to be said about the adverse effects of smoking on your lungs, however the habit can also greatly affect your eye health as well. The chemical makeup of cigarette smoke can deprive your eyes of the nutrients they need to make quality lubricating tears. This means your tear film is weaker and much less effective at lubricating your corneas.

Avoiding second hand smoke or taking the steps necessary to quit smoking can improve your dry eye symptoms as well as provide many other health benefits. 

6. Dehydration Leads to Dryer Eyes

Mild dehydration can compound your dry eye issues. A lack of water in your body results in deficient lubrication for your corneas, making your dry eye symptoms even more irritating. Drinking the standard 8 to 10 glasses of water a day and eating a nutritious diet will ensure your body is producing enough quality tears.

7. Overusing Contact Lenses Can Dry Out Your Eyes

Contact lenses can  block your corneas from retrieving the natural moisture your eyes require to feel comfortable and remain healthy. Wearing your contacts while sleeping can also deprive  your eyes of the oxygen and nutrients required to produce healthy tears.

Try limiting your contact use and opt for glasses when you can to let your natural tears nourish your eyes more efficiently. If your lenses are not specifically designed to be worn while you sleep, always remove them before going to bed. 

Learn More About LipiFlow Advanced Dry Eye Treatments at LaserVue Eye Center

Click here to schedule a free consultation at LaserVue Eye Center

At LaserVue Eye Center, we help patients find permanent relief from chronic dry eye symptoms with advanced LipiFlow Dry Eye treatments. The innovative LipiFlow system is backed by over 10 years of clinical research and is currently the only drug-free treatment approved for chronic dry eyes. The revolutionary therapy can eliminate all the irritating symptoms of dry eye, in as little as one visit. 

If you are experiencing dry eyes, take the first step towards optimal comfort and health by contacting LaserVue Eye Center for LipiFlow consultation today.