To give tired, scratchy eyes soothing relief, try these preventive steps:
- Make your world more humid. If your dry eyes are due to dry air, running a portable humidifier in your home may alleviate symptoms by adding moisture to dry indoor environments, especially during the winter. And wearing a wet gauze eye mask while sleeping can keep eyes moist and prevent tear evaporation. Tip: If possible, try to use lubricant eye drops before you engage in activities that are visually demanding, such as staring at a computer screen, driving, and reading.
- Eat more eye-friendly foods. Although it’s rare in developed countries, dry eyes can be caused by a lack of vitamin A. Either way, ensuring that you get the optimal amount of vitamin A can boost your overall eye health. Vitamin A-rich foods include carrots, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, pumpkin, and mango. Other nutrients that may be good for your eyes include lutein and zeaxanthin.
- Take note of medication side effects. Certain prescription and over-the-counter medications, such as antihistamines, diuretics, sleeping pills, beta blockers, and pain relievers, can reduce your body’s ability to create lubricating tears. If you experience dry eyes as a medication side effect, ask your healthcare provider about alternatives, or find out if you are a candidate for lubricant eye drops that you can use while taking your medication.
- Wear sunglasses. Protecting your eyes when you are outdoors on bright or windy days not only shields your eyes from harsh UV light but also helps keep eyes moist by preventing tear evaporation. Wraparound sunglasses may help minimize the wind’s drying effect.
- Rest your eyes often. If you spend several hours in front of the computer, give your eyes a break now and then. Look away from the screen, focus your attention on an object that is more than 8 feet away, and concentrate on it for about 5 seconds. Repeat this exercise a few times every hour. Also, blink frequently to help evenly distribute lubricating tears.
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