5 Ways to Help Dry Eyes.
I've been a lecturer on the subject of dry eye since 2008. I've given over 100 talks, heard plenty of feedback from other eye doctors and patients and written over 25,000 eye drop prescriptions in my career. Dry eyes is the most common, annoying syndrome of the eye. It prevents your eyes from looking white and bright. Dry eyes makes you look less healthy and perhaps even a few years older than you actually are, yikes!
Here are 5 tips to help your dry eyes. BTW, you are not the only one. At this exact moment, there are 28,999,999 other Americans suffering from dry eye symptoms.
1. eye droppin' the beats
Using eye drops is the most obvious choice although not always the best one, which I'll explain later. If your eyes feel dry you may feel symptoms of grittiness, itch, discomfort and the most common sign is redness. Often, your eyeball just isn't wetting properly and adding in tears will help. Think of it as putting lotion on your dry skin. Your dry eye needs lubricating tears.
There are 2 types on the market right now: OTC strength and prescription strength. I have a list of favorites for OTC: Blink preservative free, Thera Tears and BionTears. And for now, there is just 1 prescription strength on the market called Restasis (hopefully to soon be joined by Lifitegrast). A rule of thumb about OTC tears . . . if you're using them at least 4 times a day, you should move over to prescription strength Restasis. Oh, and if you're one of THOSE people that is addicted to Visine or Clear Eyes – just remember that you're basically putting in Doritos chips in your eyes every time. Can we chant: gross?
2. what's in your eye makeup?
We know that redness is a sign of inflammation. If your eyes are red, especially after eye makeup application . . . it's likely your makeup is creating some of that inflammation. I'm not saying don't wear eye makeup. I'm saying wear eye makeup that causes less inflammation which so happens to be in the natural, non-toxic department. Make the switch to brands that do not contain parabens, phthalates, petrochemicals, etc as they are either toxic to your immune system, carcinogenic or known irritants. Right now I'm obsessed with Lily Lolo mascara and eyeliner.
3. what's in your eye makeup remover?
It's not only what you put on but it's how you take it off. I was really surprised (and feeling quite shameful) that for YEARS I had been recommending eyelid cleansers that contained sodium lauryl sulfate, parabens and other harmful chemicals and irritants to my patients. Removing your eye makeup is key but also being careful about what ingredients you are using to do so. Since using We Love Eyes cleansing products, my dry eye patients have reported back with amazing stories of relief, whiter and brighter eyes and gratitude that I was able to invent something so mindful and badass. Redemption knocks.
4. blame your computer, job + boss
Working at a computer for 8 hours a day can make your eyes dry. Why? Because you're such a #girlboss getting it done that you forget to: 1) blink, and 2) you're straining to focus at an object 20 inches from your face for 8 hours a day. Eyes were not made to do that. Ways to help your dry eyes out would be to remind your eyelids to blink (easier said than done) and ask your optometrist to prescribe you a pair of awesome computer workstation glasses to reduce your strain. Just ask your optometrist if you can have a prescription "plano diopter sphere OU with a plus 075 add power workstation progressive over my current distance Rx." They will know what to do.
5. be nice to your corneas
If you are contact lens wearer, you must do 2 things: 1) make the switch to daily disposables; and 2) share the wear with your glasses. Love that feeling you get when you put a brand new contact lens in your eye? Well, medically speaking . . . a dry eye patient needs that feeling everyday as a contact lens is never as clean other than the first day you wear it (right now I'm obsessed with Dailies Total 1 for my dry eye patients). In addition to wearing a daily disposable, splitting your time between glasses and contact lenses will allow your corneas (that clear tissue in front of the eye that allows you to see) to breath. If you only wear contact lenses, I can promise you that your corneas are starving for oxygen at this exact moment. Perhaps even mad at you. I recommend 40 hours a week in contact lenses and 40 hours a week in glasses on an every other day cycle. Your corneas will thank you.