How To Combat Dry Eyes

Many people have experienced dry eyes, which can leave you with an uncomfortable stinging or burning sensation in your eyes. When you experience dry eyes, it simply means your baby blues, greens, and browns are unable to produce enough tears to keep your eyeballs lubricated. According to MBG Health, the cornea — the outer layer of the front of the eye — works to hydrate and nourish the eye. Each time you blink, you're not only allowing oxygen into your eye, but you're also clearing out debris while keeping it moisturized. 

We blink thousands of times a day, but most of the time, we don't even realize it. When you're unable to blink as often or in a room with more airflow, this can lead to symptoms of dry eyes, including burning in the eyes, sensitivity to light, trouble wearing contact lenses, or eye redness, per the Mayo Clinic. The condition can also cause your eyes to water more, which may seem counterintuitive, but it's actually from the irritation of dry eyes. 

Dry eyes can develop for a number of reasons, like staring at a computer for too long, decreased tear production, hormone changes, or as a side effect of medication (via the Mayo Clinic). No matter the cause though, dry eyes can be painful and uncomfortable, making it tough to get through your daily activities.

Treating dry eyes at home

If you find yourself suffering from symptoms of dry eyes, there are some steps you can take to alleviate your pain or discomfort in the meantime. According to WebMD, try using a warm compress for at least a minute over a closed eye to ease irritation. The moistness from the washcloth will help hydrate your eyes while loosening any oils that may be clogging glands. You may need to re-wet the washcloth often to keep it warm, but using it every day can help lower your inflammation. A warm washcloth can also be used with baby soap or mild soap to clean your eyelids.

For those needing immediate relief from dry eyes, try blinking more often, especially if you spend a lot of time looking at screens during the day. The American Optometric Association recommends blinking regularly if you find yourself staring at a computer or reading for long periods of time. An easy way to remember to blink is remembering the "20/20" rule, which means you close your eyes for 20 seconds every 20 minutes (via WebMD).

According to the National Eye Institute, artificial tear drops are the most common treatment for a mild case of dry eyes. These types of drops can typically be found over-the-counter, and don't require a prescription. More serious cases of dry eyes should be discussed with your doctor, as they may be able to prescribe medication to help you produce more tears.