Tears serve as a protective coating for the eyes, keeping the eyes moist, providing essential nutrients, and washing away dust and other particles. When the eyes don't produce enough tears or the right quality of tears, the result is a condition that doctors commonly refer to as Dry Eye Syndrome. Dry Eye Syndrome is a chronic and typically progressive condition. While dry eyes can develop for many reasons, you may not realise that certain activities you do each day could be worsening your symptoms and causing increased discomfort.
These activities include:
1. Smoking Tobacco
Tobacco smoke can be an irritant to the eyes, breaking down the protective, oily layer of tears. For this reason, tobacco smoke is a known eye irritant and worsens dry eye, even for second-hand smokers. As a result, smokers are twice as likely to get dry eye as people who don't smoke.
If you are a smoker we strongly recommend that you work towards quitting this unhealthy habit, not only for your eye health, but for your overall body health and longevity.
2. Wind Blowing on Your Face
While a cool breeze may feel good against your skin, it may not feel as good on your eyes. A strong gust of wind, no matter where it comes from, can cause your tears, which normally lubricate and protect the surface of the eye, to evaporate more quickly. This is because the cornea is a very sensitive part of the body, and when your tears evaporate more than usual, the exposed surface of the eye becomes dry.
If you’re going to be somewhere with strong winds or are driving with the windows down or riding a bike outdoors, we suggest that you wear sunglasses or wraparound shades that stops the wind from blowing into your eyes and drying them out.
3. Using a Hair Dryer
If you are looking for a reason to air-dry your hair, here is one: using a blow dryer can further contribute to dry eye. The warm, dry air it emits can cause moisture to evaporate from the eye, resulting in worsening symptoms. For the same reason, to prevent hot air from blowing on your face and causing your tear fluid to evaporate, it is advised to also avoid sitting directly in front of heaters and fans.
4. Activities that Require Visual Concentration
Since our blink-rate tends to significantly drop when we are reading, writing, doing computer work, these type of activities that require visual concentration can be a cause of dry eye. Without regular blinking, your eyes become drier than they already are. The glare of the computer monitor can also affect your vision, causing you to squint more to read the computer screen. As a result, your eyes may feel both tired and dry, as these activities can be strenuous on the eyes, causing them to dry out faster than normal.
To help prevent dry eye and eye strain, remember to take breaks every 10 minutes to give your eyes a rest and try to blink more frequently to help give your eyes a chance to regain some of their lubrication.
5. Exposing Yourself to Extreme Temperatures
Extreme temperatures, hot or cold, can have a significant impact on your eyes. For instance, very hot temperatures (especially where there is no humidity ) can cause the tear moisture to evaporate from the surface of your eyes.
A recent study published in the Journal of Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science has found that very cold temperatures can trigger dry eye symptoms. The findings of this study showed that the cold temperature causes the meibum, the oily substance which helps to form the outermost layer of the tear film, to become too thick and stiff to spread onto the eye surface.
For these reasons, if you suffer from dry eye syndrome, you should try to keep the temperature of your home and work environment as neutral as possible to reduce the incidence of dry eyes. Additionally, you can also use a humidifier to increase the moisture in the air and reduce the effects of very dry atmospheres to retain moisture on your eye's surface.
6. Not Drinking Enough Water
Since the quantity and quality of your tears can be contingent on how hydrated you are, mild dehydration often makes dry eye problems worse. Therefore, when you’re outside during hot, dry or windy weather, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water to help keep your body optimally hydrated so it can perform at its peak, including your eyes.
7. Sitting in front of the Office Air-Conditioner
One of the major causes for dryness of the eyes, redness, itchiness, irritation, eye strain and blurring of vision, etc is the air conditioner. Air conditioners reduce humidity and cause evaporative dry eye. As the temperature decreases, it reduces the Meibomian gland’s ability to secrete oils that keep the tears from evaporating too quickly. Furthermore, AC ducts can contain moulds, bacteria and virus which cause inflammation in the eye, thereby becoming a multifactorial source which causes harm to the eyes and can trigger dry eye syndrome.
To reduce the impact of the air conditioner on your eyes, avoid sitting close to the AC and make sure that it is set to a temperature above 23 degrees Celsius. In order to prevent the AC from removing all humidity from the office environment, water can be kept in containers in the corners of the room. The purpose of this is that the water will over time evaporate and thereby increase overall humidity. To reduce the formation of moulds and bacteria from being pumped into the room, regular maintenance and cleaning of the AC is essential.
8. Wearing Eye Make-up
Certain types of eye makeup and the way in which makeup is applied in the eye area can also contribute to your dry eye symptoms. For instance, waterproof eye makeup which is hard to remove usually requires an abrasive makeup remover to wash off. When washing off the makeup at the end of the day, this can strip the natural oils from the surface of the eyes resulting in dryness and irritation.
Applying eyeliner in the inner area between the lashes and the eyeball can also make your dry eye worse. The waterline is where the Meibomian glands are located, secrete oil that coats the eyeball to help keep the tears on the surface of the eye without evaporating. By applying makeup close to the eyeball can cause the makeup to wash into the eye and clog the glands, making eyes drier due to a lack of moisture and natural oils coating the surface of the eyes.
Similarly, if you use mascara that crumbles when it dries, you are also at risk of getting particles stuck in your tear film and blocking your Meibomian glands. If you apply powder close to the bottom of your eye, you increase your risk of particles moving up into your eye. Powder eye shadows can also expose your eyes to even more loose particles, which can exacerbate dry eye symptoms.
The symptoms of Dry Eye can be worsened for a number of different activities and environmental factors, some of which can be identified and easily removed from your daily routine. However, if you still suffer from chronic dry eye even after eliminating these factors listed above, we advise that you seek effective treatment from a premium eye care provider — this is where we come in! If you are looking for effective long-term relief from dry uncomfortable eyes, book an appointment at Auckland Eye's Oasis Dry Eye Spa.
When you book an appointment here at Oasis Dry Eye Spa, you will receive a full clinical evaluation of the likely cause of your Dry Eye and be provided with a tailored treatment plan. Throughout your tailored treatment plan, you will have access to proven, state-of-the-art dry eye technology including LipiFlow Thermal Pulsation and Lumenis Optima IPL treatments, which will be delivered by our expertly trained clinical team, all from the comfort of our deluxe massage chair! To book your introductory assessment with our Dry Eye specialist team or to ask any questions about our revolutionary dry eye treatments, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0800 25 53 93.