Dry Eye Relief

What Is Dry Eye?
Dry eye is a common condition that involves a lack of healthy and adequate tears, resulting in significant, sight-impeding discomfort. Studies have indicated that more than 7 million American adults over age 40 have some form of irritated vision due to dry eye syndrome, also known as chronic dry eye. Additionally, research suggests around 15% of adults age 65 or older experience regular symptoms of eye dryness.

Dry Eye Symptoms
While most people contend with dehydrated eyes from time to time, recurrent symptoms can be signs of a more serious issue, one that hinders everyday life and may lead to a dry eye syndrome diagnosis. Symptoms of chronic dry eye, which are typically apparent in both eyes, include notable redness and blurry vision. Scratchy and/or stinging sensations are commonplace, as is general eye fatigue. Another symptom is watery vision—although, the condition often involves insufficient tears, tear glands may produce excess moisture in an attempt to hydrate the eyes.

What Factors Cause Dry Eyes?
One of the most common dry eye causes may be overall body dehydration. Research has linked inadequate whole-body hydration with dry eye. Infrequent blinking may also lead to eyes that lack necessary moisture, particularly for those who use computers or play video games for extensively, since every blink assists in spreading tears across the surface of the eye.

Dry eyes can additionally stem from conditions in the environment such as a notably arid climate, high winds and some kinds of indoor cooling/heating systems. Allergic reactions to various plants and animals or irritants such as dust may also trigger symptoms, along with some conventional medications like antihistamines.

Health conditions connected to dry eyes include Sjögren's syndrome, an autoimmune disorder that results in dehydrated eyes and mouth; recurring inflammation, particularly around the tear glands; and hormone changes that are related to thyroid problems, pregnancy and menopause. 

How to Relieve Dry Eyes
A simple way to aid dry eye relief is to maintain optimal hydration in the entire body by drinking enough water every day. Since millions of Americans are already chronically dehydrated, those prone to eye dryness should make sure to exceed the general guideline, which is to drink at least an eight-ounce glass of fluid eight times daily.

Other basic steps towards prevention and relief include consciously remembering to blink more often, especially when in front of a computer or TV screen, and increasing the humidity in home and work environments with a humidifier or vaporizer. Wearing sunglasses while outside may also help to shield eyes from the drying effects of the sun and wind. 

Dry eye relief products include artificial tears and lubricating drops, as well as gel and ointment varieties. While these may work relatively fast, their effects are only temporary, and some feature preservatives that may cause further irritation. Those who use these products should seek out preservative-free kinds. Since gels and ointments are thicker and may cause blurred sight, they are best applied at bedtime for overnight use.

Small punctal plugs, commonly made of silicone, are another variety of dry eye treatment. These pliable plugs are placed into the drainage ducts of the eyes to support tear retention. Research has indicated that this straightforward and reversible clinical procedure has beneficial effects.

Supplements formulated for dry eye relief are natural treatments that work on a nutritional level. These products typically address the irritating inflammatory response that accompanies dehydrated eyes, while helping to stabilize the moisture-maintaining tear film. Among the most popular dry-eye-relieving nutrients are:

Omega-3 fatty acids: These essential fatty acids, which are found in flaxseeds and certain fish, have been extensively investigated for their numerous health benefits, including inflammation modulation. Studies have shown that omega-3s may ease eye dryness by both soothing inflammation and suppporting ideal moisture levels. 

Phytosterols: Plant compounds found in various nuts and oils, phytosterols have inflammation-regulating qualities that help to encourage vision wellness. These botanical nutrients are associated with sustaining comfortably hydrated eyesight.

Mucins: Present in layers of the tear film, these gel-like proteins support the eye's natural defenses. Optimal mucin levels have been tied to effective tear formation, which helps to uphold general vision wellness.

Phospholipids: These lipids are present in all of the body's cell membranes and aid in maintaining tear integrity and stability. Phospholipids commonly included in dry-eye complexes are phosphatidylserine, phosphatidylethanolamine and phosphatidylcholine.
 
Although chronic dry eye syndrome affects millions of Americans, those coping with this issue have many options available to relieve this uncomfortable issue. By finding suitable treatments, healthy and well-hydrated eyes can be readily within sight.