Tips for Dry Eyes

Dry, irritated, red eyes have become more prevalent during the time of COVID due to our mask - wearing and increased screen time.  Here are some things we can do to help:

  • Take breaks when using the computer. Take a 15-minute break for every two hours of computer use.  

  • Use preservative free tears eye drops every two to three hours when using the computer for work or school. 

  • Take 1000 mg a day of fish oil to support the outer oil layer of the tears. Eat more salmon in your diet to get more omega 3 fatty acids to support the outer oil layer of the tears. 

  • Avoid dehydration so the aqueous layer of the tears is produced well. Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Eliminate alcohol and caffeine, which are diuretics and can dehydrate you. 

  • Place a humidifier in the bedroom and next to your workstation. 

  • Eliminate use of overhead ceiling fans, car air conditioning or heat from a blow drier blowing on the face, as this evaporates the tears. 

  • Use wrap-around sunglasses when walking outdoors in the wind or sun to stop evaporation of tears.

  • Warm compresses or a Bruder mask on the eyelids, twice a day for ten minutes at a time, can help the oil glands secrete the oils into the tears.

  • Remove eye makeup up before sleeping to remove toxins from getting into the ocular surface.

  • Keep eyelashes clean and bacteria away by using a. hypochlorous acid spray twice a day and eyelid scrub pads to cleanse the eyelashes. The bacteria produce lipases, which break down the oil layer, causing tear evaporation and chemically irritate the eyes.

  • Never put make up on the wet line of the eyelids, where the lashes meet the conjunctiva. This will block the oil secreting gland orifices and cause dry eyes and styes. 

  • If you wake up with dry irritated red eyes, try using an over-the-counter lubricating ointment in your eyes, like Refresh PM or Lacri-Lube, before you go to bed. You will wake up with your eyes refreshed. 

  • Stop using any eye drops in a bottle, because these have preservatives in them that can damage the goblet cells that produce the mucous layer of the tears. 

  • Use eye makeup that does not contain chemicals that can increase inflammation and worsen a dry eye. Stop using eyelash serums with prostaglandin analogs like Latisse and Lash Boost. They are drying and damage the ocular surface and worsen a dry eye. 

  • Review your medication list for antihistamines or blood pressure medications that can reduce the aqueous production and cause a dry eye. Discuss possible alternatives with your doctor. 

  • If dry, red irritated eyes persist despite these interventions please see an Eye doctor who can prescribe medication to help you. Persistent dry eyes can cause serious damage to eyes, including infections, scarring and even perforations that can permanently damage your vision. Please get help if symptoms persist.