Ways to treat dry eyes. A growing problem in this modern age, the feeling of walking around with a stone in your shoe everyday is not pleasant. Neither is the eyelash in your feels that can come with dry eye disease. Depending on the underlying cause of your dry eyes, there are a number of options available to you in treating them. Not all options are suitable for all as there are different types of dry eye.
1. 20/20/20 rule
Your eye sight might be 20/20 but are your following the 20/20/20 rule? Excessive computer work, phone browsing and reading can cause your blink rate to drop significantly. This will mean your tears evaporate, leaving the surface to become dry. Normally, you would be blinking again before your tears have a chance to evaporate, leaving patches of dry areas. So what do you do? Blinking is an unconscious act so you cant consciously blink while you are working as it would be very distracting. This is where the 20/20/20 rule come in. Set a timer on your phone for 20 minutes and work as you normally would. When the alarm goes off, stop working for 20 seconds and do 20 blinks, then reset the timer and carry on working. Do things this way means you are having a regular break from the screen and you make up for the blinking you are not doing while working.
Most people will overlook the importance of blinking or the lack there of when doing concentrated tasks. When you are busy working away on your screen or even watching a movie on your computer your blink rate comes right down. The normal blink rate is about 15 blinks a minute and you could easily go down to zero when staring at a screen intently.
3. Lubricant drops & Artificial tears
Ocular lubricant drops, also known as artificial tears are the most common form of dry eye control. They work in their simplest form by increasing the tear layer and creating a barrier between the lids and the eye surface.
There are many types of lubricating drops available. What sets them apart is in the way they work in addition to the tear volume described above.
Additional components work to mimic the natural tears in nutrient composition, lubricity, salt components. They are therefore acting as tear substitutes, continuing to do the job that our natural tears would otherwise be doing.
These additional components can mimic different parts of the tear film. The three basic layers of mucin, lacrima and meibum work together and
taking this further, manufacturers are developing drops that stay in the eyes for longer, reducing the number of times you will need to put them in your eyes over the day.
And finally there is the length of time the drops last in the bottle. Previously, most artificial tears were preserved. The preservative use, Benzalconium chloride has the long been known to actually cause dry eye itself over long term use. More and more manufacturers have been changing to either non preserved or disappearing preservative formulations.