5 tips for soothing dry eyes
Having trouble reading your smartphone or wearing your contacts for as long as usual? Air conditioning, blustery fans and summer heat all can dry out your eyes. Dr. John Bartlett, medical director of University Ophthalmology Associates at the Stein Eye Institute at UCLA, offers five tips for keeping your eyes more comfortable.
- Avoid red-eye rebound. Rely on over-the-counter products, like artificial tears or ointment, every four to six hours to lubricate your eyes and ease dryness. But shun drops that claim to relieve redness. They cause a rebound effect that leads to increased redness and irritation over time.
- Consider the environment. Don’t point fans or air-conditioning vents toward your face while driving or sleeping. Angle the gusts toward your body instead to preserve natural tears.
- Monitor your computer use. Staring at the screen reduces blinking and revs up tear evaporation. Think 20/20/20: take a 20-second break every 20 minutes and focus on something 20 feet away.
- Try oil and heat. Consuming Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish or flax-seed oil, helps some patients improve their tear film and reduce evaporation. Hot compresses can also help lubricate the eyes.
- See a professional. If these simple solutions don’t bring relief, see your eye doctor. He or she can evaluate whether you’d benefit from prescription medications or other procedures.