Help for Dry Eyes
Dry eyes are a surprisingly common problem, affecting
approximately 30 million people in the U.S. alone.
Dry eyes aren’t just uncomfortable, they’re unhealthy. You need
tears to wash away irritants and to help protect your eyes from
Many environmental factors can cause or exacerbate dry eyes, including
chemical irritants, smog, automobile exhaust, cigarette smoke, and
wind. This may explain why walking around a crowned city affects
your eyes so badly. Other common causes of dry eyes include medications
such as antihistamines, diuretics, decongestants, tranquilizers,
and antidepressants, and soft contact lenses.
Women in midlife are particularly susceptible to this problem. As
your estrogen levels decline, tissues throughout your bodyincluding
yourr eyestend to dry out. Things that never bothered you
before suddenly become irritating.
Here are some ideas to moisten your dry eyes and avoid irritating
- Because forced hot air heat
is incredibly dry, try using a portable humidifier. If that helps,
consider installing a humidifier on your furnace. Avoid getting
close to the ducts where the forced air enters the room, as the
breeze makes the dry air even more irritating.
- Make a list of the medications
you take. Review it with your doctor or pharmacist to find out
any are contributing to your problem.
- Try lubricating eye drops
that don’t contain preservatives or unnecessary drugs, such as
- Avoid staring at televisions,
computer monitors, or books for a prolonged period of time. Force
yourself to blink frequently.
- Be sure to drink plenty
of water (at least eight cups a day). Stay away from caffeine,
a potent diuretic.
- If you wear eye makeup,
don’t use it for a few days. If that helps, consider cutting back
on the amount you use, experimenting with a different brand to
see if it’s less irritating, or not using it at all. And keep
in mind that even hypoallergenic eye makeup and makeup
remover can be irritating.
- If you wear soft contacts,
try wearing your glasses for a few days instead. If that helps,
consider not wearing the contacts or wearing them for only a limited
amount of time each day or each week.
- If you are in perimenopause
or menopause, try natural estrogenic supports to moisten your
body’s tissues. I recommend taking 50-100 mg of supplemental
soy isoflavones and 80
mg of black cohosh each day. If you’re postmenopausal and
these supplements aren’t enough, you could try estriol (a natural
estrogen available by prescription).
- Be sure you’re getting enough
essential fatty acids (EFAs) as these help keep tissues moist.
Flaxseed is a superb source of omega-3 EFAs. I recommend taking
one or two tablespoons of flaxseed oil or four to six tablespoons
of ground flaxseed each day. For omega-6 EFAs, try borage seed
oil (34 capsules each day) and evening primrose oil (36
500 mg capsules twice daily).
Read More on Vision:
Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Keep It Simple Tip: Palming
Lutein and Zeaxanthin for Age-related
Antioxidants for AMD and Cataracts
Help for Dry Eyes
Protect Your Eyes from Strain
Red Light Therapy for Macular Degeneration
Ozone Therapy for Macular Degeneration