The distracting discomfort that accompanies dry eyes is enough to ruin almost any happy day – it brings about unnatural feelings of fatigue, inability to focus when reading, redness and sometimes physical pain. Many of us reach for the bottle of eye drops to remedy this symptom, and give little thought to what could be causing this irritation. To consider what may be the culprit for your own dryness, check out the popular causes below!
1) Age. Our skin isn’t the only thing to lose moisture with the passage of time; it’s fairly common for people in their twilight years to naturally produce less tears. This is especially true for females who are postmenopausal. Furthermore, diseases that are commonly associated with old age are also tied with dryness, like rheumatoid arthritis, shingles and lupus.
2) Exterior influences. There is plenty in our environment to cause dryness, like wind, smoke and dust. However, there are plenty of physical conditions that can lead to irritation as well. For example, it isn’t uncommon that people with blepharitis, eczema and dandruff have particles of dry skin fall into their eyes. It’s important that your contacts are clean of all such debris; make sure you diligently clean your lenses or consider purchasing daily options like Focus Dailies and Acuvue 1 Day Moist that can be replaced after a single use.
3) Working with computers. How many times did you blink while you were reading this blog post? Chances are, not enough. In addition to making a conscious effort to blink more, consider looking away from the screen every 15 minutes to let your eyes rest, darkening the screen’s luminosity, and sitting 1.5 – 2 feet –way from the device.
4) Sun exposure. Similar to the above note, being exposed to UV rays for a long period of time can have a damaging, drying effect on your eyes. While the dryness should be temporary (if you give your peepers a chance to rest), it can also lead to serious outcomes like cataracts, macular degeneration and more. Therefore, consider wearing sunglasses outside between the hours of 10 AM and 4 PM, even if it is not summer. Furthermore, consider lenses that incorporate UV protection, like all of Acuvue’s contacts.
5) Fluctuating hormones. Women commonly develop this annoying condition at points in their life in which their bodies are undergoing changes. Whether you’re pregnant, taking estrogen supplements during menopause or are dealing with a inconsistent thyroid, the physical readjustment can all spur feelings of dryness.
6) Not receiving enough Vitamin A and Omega 3 Fats. This nutrient shelters the cornea against bacteria. While there are eye drops infused with Vitamin A, you can also incorporate items like sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, tuna and mango into your diet. Omega 3 fats have been credited with improving everything from our circulation to our complexions, and our eyes are no exception. Found in foods like tofu, chia seeds, salmon and avocados, it assists with the creation of tears.
7) LASIK. While the idea of not having to daily sport heavy frames is certainly appealing, eye surgery can diminish your eye’s ability to generate moisture. Luckily, this effect is often temporary, lasting upwards to six months.
8) Certain Medications. A wide range of medications have been credited with spurring the dryness of eyes, from acne aids and decongestants to birth control and antidepressants. It’s important to learn about the potential side effects of anything you put in your body, so make sure to ask your doctor whether whatever medications or supplements you take could be causing the unnatural dryness.