6 effective dry eye prevention strategies

Your eyes naturally produce tears to lubricate, clean, and nourish themselves. But aging, stress, or the environment can reduce tear production, leading to a dry scratchy feeling, redness, and even eye damage. Here are 6 ways to help prevent dry eyes.

6 effective dry eye prevention strategies

1. Use artificial tears

  • Look for demulcent drops that moisturize your eyes. Avoid the types that remove redness as these can dry out eyes even more.

2. Wear sunglasses

  • A sturdy pair of shades will shield against wind, pollen, airborne grit, and the sun. All of these factors contribute to eye dryness.

3. Blink more often

  • If you spend hours watching TV, surfing the Web, or working at a computer, you may not be blinking enough. Studies show that while people normally blink 12 times a minute, your "blink rate" may drop while you're watching a screen.
  • Simply positioning your screen just below eye level could help minimize moisture loss, because you'll close your eyes a little bit to look down.
  • Try to schedule regular blink breaks.

4. Use a warm washcloth

  • If dry eyes are just an occasional concern, you can soak a washcloth with water, wring it out, and warm it in a microwave oven for 20 seconds, or until soothingly warm. Place it over your eyelids for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • This will provide instant relief and will also help get tears flowing again. You can repeat this process a few times a day.

5. Get a humidifier

  • Air-conditioning and heating systems can both dry out the air. If your eyes dry out at home, consider a humidifier to boost the moisture content of the air.
  • Remember to keep the filter and water tank clean to avoid mold and bacteria growth.

6. Get more fish oil and flaxseed oil

  • A Harvard Medical School study of 32,470 women found that those who got the most good omega-3 fatty acids in their diets had the lowest risk of dry eyes.
  • Many eye doctors recommend 1,000 milligrams of flaxseed oil a day, but fish oil capsules are a more potent source of these good fats. Experts suggest getting 2 to 3 grams of omega-3s in fish oil capsules daily. Check the labels to see how many capsules you'll have to take.

Eye health is vitally important, so take these steps to safeguard your eyes from dryness and damage. You could save yourself a trip to the optometrist down the line.

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