Self-help advice for dry eye syndrome
Although there isn’t a cure for dry eye syndrome, there are some things you can do to help avoid dry eye. They can also help relieve any symptoms you may have.
To help relieve your dry eye symptoms it is important to have good eye hygiene. This will particularly benefit you if you suffer from blepharitis.
Once or twice a day you can use a warm compress on your eyes, followed by a massage on your eyelids. This will help produce more oil in the glands around your eyes.
For the warm compress, soak a clean flannel in warm boiled water. Place the flannel gently over your eyes and leave for about 5-10 minutes. It is important not to let flannel become cold. Simply keep soaking the flannel in the warm boiled water, if needed.
Special microwavable eye bags are also available to help release the natural oils in your eye. If you use an eye bag, you should always clean the bag before and after use.
Once you have completed the warm compress, close one eye and with one hand pull the upper eyelid tight. Then with your index finger on your other hand, roll and push towards your lashes. You can also use the same process for your lower lid. However, this time your will need to pull your lower lid down and with your index finger, roll and push up towards the lashes.
Or alternatively you can massage both at the same time as illustrated in the video below.
If you use a computer regularly, your computer workstation should be set up correctly to help minimise eye strain. Your monitor should be between 50-60cm away from your eyes and the centre of the screen needs to be just below eye level.
Another tip is every 20-30 minutes blink very slowly as this helps moisten your eyes. Other ways to also help reduce symptoms include;
- Taking regular breaks from your screen
- Using a copy stand rather than switching from looking down at paper and then up to your screen
- Having good lighting and posture
Healthy Daily Habits for Computer Users
New research has found that a diet high in omega-3 fats can help with the symptoms of dry eye. Oily fish, such as mackerel, sardines, salmon, or fresh/frozen tuna are one of the best sources of omega-3. You should try to eat at least two portions of fish a week, with one of those being an oily fish.
Omgea-3 can also be found in walnuts, certain seeds, soya products, spinach, kale and other vegetables.
As certain environmental factors can irritate your eyes, it is best to keep them protected from dust, smoke, hot air or wind. Wearing wrap-around glasses are a good way to protect you.
You should also try and avoid wearing eye make-up, especially eyeliner and mascara. Your eyes may become inflamed as the make-up can block the glands in your eyelids.
Also if you smoke it is another good reason to try and stop as this can make your symptoms worse.
Humidifier & Air Filters
Using a humidifier at home or work can help relieve your symptoms of dry eye. It will help moisten the surrounding area. Having the windows open for short periods of time can also help as the air is kept moist. It can also be beneficial to use an air filter particularly if you live or work in a dusty environment.
Specialised Glasses & Contact Lenses
Sometimes you can treat dry eye syndrome by wearing specially made glasses, which fit like goggles. Known as moisture chamber spectacles, they protect your eyes from any irritants and help retain moisture. You can now also get special contact lenses if your lenses were causing dry eye.