(NC) Dry eye is becoming one of the most common conditions seen by Canadian optometrists. The symptoms worsen in the winter months, when the great outdoors are cold and windy and there is little moisture in the air, both indoors and out.
Don’t let blurry vision and itchy, watery, irritated eyes stop you from enjoying your favourite winter activities. The first step to preventing dry eye is learning the key facts:
- Sometimes tears are a good thing.Dry eye occurs when your eyes produce an inadequate number of tears, or when tears lack the proper chemical composition. There are several tell-tale symptoms that indicate dry eye. If you are experiencing fluctuating vision, burning sensations or scratchy, gritty eyes, it’s time to see your eye care professional to talk about dry eye.
- Extended periods of screen time can make things worse.Whether it’s answering emails, scrolling through social media or binging on the latest Netflix release, we’re spending more time in front of screens than ever before. When the weather gets cold and outdoor activities become less attractive, the time spent on these devices increases. Always follow the 20-20-20 rule to give your eyes a break from extended periods of screen time. Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This will help refresh your eyes and combat dry eye.
- It’s not a cookie-cutter condition.Most Canadians may not know there are a variety of dry eye conditions, and seeing your eye care professional is the only way to really understand what’s happening with your eyes. Dry eye comes in three major forms — evaporative dry eye, in which inflamed or clogged glands in the eyelid fail to secrete adequate oil to prevent tear evaporation, aqueous tear deficient dry eye, in which an insufficient quantity of watery tears is produced, and mixed dry eye, a combination of the two. Seeing your eye care professional is the only way to really know what’s happening with your eyes.
- There isn’t a cure, but there is a solution. Although dry eye is usually chronic and can’t be cured, comfort can be greatly improved and eye health maintained with artificial tears. As the first all-in-one drop to provide hydration and lasting protection, Systane Complete lubricant eye drops are an ideal first-line treatment option for people who suffer from any type of dry eye.