Dry eye affects millions of Americans every year, and many of them don’t know it. Dry eye is a common condition that has become even more prevalent in the modern age.
That’s because screen use can increase your chances of having dry eyes. Keep reading to learn how your computer use contributes to dry eye and how you can reduce symptoms to keep your eyes healthy!
What is Dry Eye?
Dry eye or dry eye syndrome is a medical condition that causes chronic dryness and irritation of your eyes. It’s a common condition caused by a lack of tear production or the production of unhealthy tears.
It causes dryness because your eyes don’t get enough tears or get the nutrients they need. While screen time and computer use create many of the same symptoms, they do not necessarily cause dry eye syndrome.
Instead, they create a situation similar to dry eye syndrome, but not because your tears are unhealthy. Instead, dry eyes caused by screen use are due to a lack of blinking, which results in a lack of tears on your eyes.
What is the Tear Film?
There is more than just water in your tears. They contain three ingredients that must be present to keep your eyes healthy. These ingredients are water, mucus, and oil.
Water in your tears hydrates your eyes and provides the nutrients they need. The mucus spreads your tears evenly over your entire eye.
The oil creates a barrier on the outside of your tear that prevents them from evaporating. This film keeps them in your eyes so they can provide nourishment and hydration.
Without any one of these ingredients, your eyes suffer. They become chronically dry and irritated, which can lead to permanent eye damage.
Screen Use Decreases Blinking
When you blink, tears get released onto your eyes. Then they spread across the surface to keep your eyes moist.
Blinking is how tears get to your eyes. Without it, your eyes don’t get what they need.
Using screens reduces how often you blink. That means screen use is leading to drier eyes.
Luckily, dry eyes due to screen use don’t mean there is anything wrong with your tears. It just means you need to blink more to keep your eyes healthy.
How To Keep Your Eyes Hydrated When Using Screens
Screens are a big part of life now. Cell phones, computers, and tv are ubiquitous in our lives.
But, that doesn’t mean you need to accept dry eyes for the rest of your life. You can do simple things to keep your eyes hydrated, even if you use a screen all day long.
Some simple things to do to keep your eyes moist include:
- Use a humidifier to keep the air in your home or office moist
- Consciously blink more often throughout your day
- Keep screens at least an arm’s length away from your eyes
- Use larger text so you can keep your screen farther away
- Use eye drops to keep your eyes hydrated
- Drink enough water to keep your body hydrated
- Quit smoking
- Use the 20/20/20 rule
The 20/20/20 rule means every twenty minutes, look at something twenty feet away from you for twenty seconds. This rule allows your eyes to adjust to a new distance which keeps them healthy and will enable you to blink. These simple tricks could be all you need to maintain healthy and hydrated eyes.
Are your eyes still dry after using all these tricks to keep them hydrated? Schedule an appointment at Envue Eye and Laser Center in Oxon Hill, MD. Be sure you don’t have an underlying condition causing your dry eyes!