Q: What Can I Do To Prevent Dry Eye?
Dr. Gentile: Dry Eye Syndrome has become an increasing problem for people of all ages.
If you suffer from dry eye symptoms like gritty, scratchy, burning eyes the first thing you should do is schedule a comprehensive eye exam with an eye care professional. There are several causes of dry eye and depending upon your cause there are different treatments that can help relieve or prevent your symptoms. Some basic things you can do to prevent dry eye symptoms are:
1) Perform Eyelid Hygiene: very often dry eye is due to clogged oil glands in the eyelid. These glands are called Meibomian Glands. They are situated at the lash line and if they become clogged they will not secrete oils needed to lubricate the eye and prevent tears from evaporating. Cleaning the eyelids daily with commercial lid scrubs (Ocusoft Lid Scrubs) or cleaners like Avenova will help to insure that the meibomian glands are open and functioning properly.
2) Eat a diet rich in Omega 3 Fatty Acids or take Omega 3 Fatty Acid Supplements: the omega 3 fatty acids help to insure that the meibomian oils (meibum) are pure and secreted efficiently. Before taking any supplements you should discuss them with your doctor.
3) Proper Blinking: In the age we live in with so many computers and hand held devices we often do not perform a full and efficient blink. Our blink rate also slows down as we tend to stare while on these devices. While most of us do not think about blinking we need to perform a complete closure of the lids when blinking as well as blinking more frequently. This will insure an efficient distribution of tears over the ocular surface and help relieve your dry eye symptoms.
4) The 20/20 rule: Given long days of computer work we need to follow a simple rule of 20 minutes on the computer followed by 20 seconds of rest. Looking down a hallway or across a room for just 20 seconds will help relieve ocular stress as well as dry eye symptoms.
These simple treatments should be discussed with your doctor along with possible other treatments like Artificial Tears, Restasis or even Punctal Occlusion.