Have your eyes felt more tired of late? Do they water more than usual, feel like they’ve got something in them, or does your vision sometimes go blurry? If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms you could be one of the 1 in 4 people who suffer from dry eye syndrome. And news flash… lockdown hasn’t done our eyes any favours at all!
What Is Dry Eye Syndrome?
Dry eye syndrome is a common condition in which the amount of tears produced by the eye is compromised, thus making the eyes dry. Our eyes by their very nature need to be kept well lubricated in order to prevent irritation (can you even begin to imagine how painful it would be every time we blinked if there wasn’t any moisture involved!?!) and to keep them nice and clean (tears helps to wash out any debris that may have snuck in).
You could be suffering from dry eye syndrome if your eyes feel:
- Sensitive to light
- More watery than normal
Take a look also at the Théa eye care symptom checker where they go into more detail about some of the things your eyes may be experiencing and whether it could be dry eye syndrome or whether you should book an appointment to see your optometrist.
What Are The Causes Of Dry Eye Syndrome?
According to Ofcom, lockdown has lead to a massive surge in screentime with the average person in the UK spending 40% of their day in front of a screen – that’s 6 hours, 25 minutes! Needless to say, this has had an effect on our eyes, and this is just one of the reasons your eyes might be feeling a little out of sorts.
So go on then, what else can cause dry eye syndrome?
It might help to divide it up into three different category of causes – environmental, lifestyle, and medical.
- Areas of high altitude
- Dry areas
- If you regularly wear contact lenses
- Excessive time spent in front of a screen
- Air conditioning
- If you smoke
- If you drink alcohol
- If you’re over the age of 50
- If you are taking certain medication for example, antidepressants or blood pressure drugs
- If you have a pre-existing medical condition, such as blepharitis, lupus or Sjögren’s syndrome
As you can see, there are many different causes of dry eye syndrome and it is highly likely that it’s not just one of these things that is contributing to it. I look at this list and can count at least 5 that apply to me, so it’s no wonder my eyes aren’t feeling so great right now, but more on that a bit later.
How Can I Manage The Symptoms Of Dry Eye Syndrome?
Once you’ve worked out the reasons why you could be suffering from dry eye syndrome, then you can start to look at the ways you can manage the condition and to help relieve some of those annoying symptoms. It is worth pointing out however, that if you have any symptoms that differ from those above, for example if your eyes are painful, red, if your eyelid won’t close properly, if you feel sick, have a severe headache, if it hurts to look at the light or if there are any changes to your vision you must seek professional advice. Please don’t try and self assess yourself.
So bearing in mind some of the causes of dry eye syndrome that are listed above, here are some of the things you can do to help your eyes feel better:
- Screen Time – Take regular breaks, ideally you should be looking at taking a 5-10 minute break from your screen for every hour spent in front of it. And this doesn’t mean you can switch from your laptop to then scrolling through social media on your phone – a screen break means a break from all screens! You could also try changing the brightness levels on your screen and consider also your how you position yourself in front of your screen.
- Home Environment – Turn down your heating/air conditioning and think about using a humidifier in rooms you spend most of your time in.
- Hygiene – Always remove eye make up before going to bed and also consider using a specific eyelid wipe as part of your daily eye hygiene routine (more on that in a bit).
- Switch To Glasses – If you’re a contact lens wearer you might want to think about giving your eyes a break and alternate wearing your glasses. Some contact lenses can prevent enough oxygen from reaching the eyes and this can result in dryness. It’s worth talking to your optician as they may be able to suggest a different type of lens.
- Hay Fever – If your eyes take the brunt of your hayfever hell, speak to the pharmacist about eye drops. It’s also really important to regularly clean the area around your eyes, as well as your eyelids and eyelashes to make sure any pollen that has got stuck can been removed.
- Eyecare Products – Dry eye syndrome can be effectively managed with the daily use of eye drops, gels, creams or other eyecare products. You use lip balm to prevent your lips from drying out right? So why would you not treat your eyes the same way!
Using Preservative-Free Théa Eye Care Products As Part Of Your Daily Routine
As a contact lens and glasses wearer, and as someone who spends a lot of time in front of a screen, my eyes often feel tired, gritty and sort of a bit blinky. I used to wear contact lenses all of the time, in fact I wore monthlies which meant I could wear them 24/7. However, after a while I realised they had become uncomfortable and I was a lot more aware of them being in my eyes, whereas before once I’d put them in I didn’t give them any more thought. I mentioned it to my optician who explained that it looked as though my eyelids had become irritated as a result of being starved of oxygen and so I decided to switch from monthlies to dailies, which I still use now. But I have been wearing them less and less, in fact now I only put a pair in to go running or if I’m going out, which let’s face it hasn’t happened a lot recently!
Théa Pharmaceuticals Limited kindly sent me some products from their preservative free eyecare range to try out and to see if it helped my eyes out.
The Théa Blephaclean® eyelid wipes come in packs of 20 and are intended for the cleansing of eyelids to remove daily dirt and grime. They are preservative, perfume and paraben-free and are totally fine for contact lens wearers to use. Each wipe is individually wrapped so you can keep a sachet in your handbag, gym bag, pocket etc. ready to use whenever you need it. I loved the cooling sensation and how it gave an almost immediate relief to my eyes. And even though I don’t wear eye make up very often, all of us get sleepy dust, or other gunk in and around our eyes and eyelashes, and these are a great way to ensure your eyes are free of any potential irritants.
Thealoz® Duo are dry eye drops which are again preservative free and offer comfort for dry eyes. It’s really simple to apply, just gently pull down your lower eyelid and squeeze the drops into the corner of your eye and then blink. I’ve been doing this for the past week and can honestly say it has bought some much needed relief to my tired, sensitive eyes. I had noticed whenever I go outside and it’s a little bit windy or if it’s particularly bright my eyes start watering and I feel the need to blink more, but since using these eye drops it has reduced quite dramatically. The eye drops come in either a 10ml bottle, which contains 300 drops, or you can buy a pack of 30 o.4ml single dose, which are so handy for travelling, or again to keep in your bag for more occasional use.
Lockdown has clearly had an impact on my eyes and the main culprit is 100% the amount of time I spend in front of a screen. If I’m not working on my laptop, I’m sending messages to friends on my phone, bingeing on box sets on the telly, or gaming with my kids. And I am pretty sure I am not alone in this. The pandemic has forced us to isolate and the only way to stay connected with friends and family is through the use of a screen. It’s little wonder our eyes are feeling just as tired as we are. But with the help of the range of eye care products from Théa I can at least begin to alleviate some of the symptoms of dry eye syndrome.
For more information about dry eye syndrome and to check out the extensive range of products available from Théa head to https://www.youreyehealth.co.uk/.