Parched, scratchy eyes are a common condition, especially if you are over 50 or view a computer screen for hours. Sjogren’s Syndrome, a chronic autoimmune condition, can also cause dry eye symptoms.
Dry eye can feel like gritty sand or a stray eyelash is floating on the surface of your eye. Light sensitivity and blurry vision are also common symptoms of dry eye.
You may already use over-the-counter “OTC” artificial tears, gels and ointments for dry eye relief. Fortunately, the following suggestions are simply additional ways to soothe your light-sensitive, irritated and blurry peepers.
Best of all, these helpful tips won’t cost you anything!
Sip Water Throughout the Day – Sipping water during the course of the day will keep your whole body hydrated, including your eyes and mouth. Keeping hydrated is understandably not the first thing on your mind, but it is important. So have a tall, cool glass or bottle of water nearby and take a mouthful frequently until it becomes second nature.
Use a Warm, Wet Compress – Wet a clean washcloth with warm (not hot) water. Squeeze out excess water. Rest your head back with the washcloth placed gently over your closed eyes for five minutes. Relax and allow the warm moisture to calm your irritated eyes. You can use a warm, moist compress as many times a day as necessary.
GentlyClean your Eyelid Area – Wet a soft cloth with warm water. Gently wipe your eyelids, especially the inner and outer corners. Carefully wipe your eyelashes too.
Ditch the Eye Makeup – Eye makeup, especially powders and glitters, can add more irritation to dry and unhappy eyes. Mascara and eyeliners can also be a source of discomfort. Instead, use an eyelash curler and perfect your brows with an eyebrow pencil. For more face “pop”, play up your lips with a glamorous red lipstick or pretty blusher instead.
Add Moisture to Indoor Air – Dry indoor air is frequently caused by air conditioning and heating sources sucking humidity from the air.
Try placing a bowl or pan of water near your heat vent or radiator. This can help to add moisture to your indoor air. This is a minimalist version of a humidifier.
Use the stovetop more than the microwave to help bring restore indoor air moisture.
After taking a shower or bath, open the bathroom door to allow humidity into other rooms. Hang bath towels to air dry.
Avoid Smoke and Drafts – Drafts from air conditioning, ceiling fans and heating sources can dry eye surfaces. In addition, fireplaces, wood burning stoves and tobacco smoke can all contribute to eye irritation. Keep a distance from air conditioning and heating vents.
Look Down at your Computer – Place your screen as low as you can tolerate to avoid lifting your eyelids too much. Keeping them wide open permits surface moisture to evaporate quicker. The more you can look down at your screen the better. Another option is to lift your seat height.
Try the 20/20 Rule – For every 20 minutes that you are looking at your computer screen, close your eyes for 20 seconds. This trick can help ease eye dryness and gives the muscles around your eyes a relaxing break.
Post a Blink Reminder – When you stare at electronic screens too long without blinking, you are robbing your eyes of needed tear film. So try placing a bright sticky note near your computer that reminds you to blink more often. Blinking helps to minimize moisture evaporation from the surface of your eyes. Change the note color occasionally so you don’t subconsciously ignore it after a while.
You will get the best results by trying these suggestions before your eyes are overly dry and irritated.
Remember, don’t rub your eyes. Rubbing will only increase the irritation. Also be aware that if severe dry eye is not medically managed, it can harm the corneas of your eyes.
Have your eyes checked by a medical professional regularly, especially if you are experiencing eye discomfort or vision problems. Your eye professional will assess your symptoms and determine if you have any underlying conditions causing your dry eyes. Your eye doctor can then offer a treatment plan to maintain your eye health.
Social gatherings can be difficult for anyone with a food allergy or intolerance. Many events seem to center around eating and drinking. This scenario is especially true for a celiac when a pizzeria is a spur of the moment choice.
Plastering a smile on your face and assuring everyone that you’re fine is hard. Smelling the oregano and melting cheese wafting about doesn’t help either.
Then you get questions asking why you can’t just order a salad. You explain that even a salad is risky in a pizza kitchen with airborne flour. Even gluten-free menu items can be dangerous since they are prepared in the same space as gluten items.
Yes, everyone means well, but sometimes it’s hard to restrain yourself from running to the ladies’ room in frustration. So you sip your water and watch everyone else enjoy their cheesy pizza and garlicy breadsticks.
But know that you don’t have to be resigned to just a drink. A little planning can improve this situation.
Tips to Help Make Eating Out with Friends Easier:
Pick the Place: If socializing with family and friends is a regularly scheduled event, make sure you get to choose the restaurant occasionally too. Seek out gluten-free eateries. Do some online legwork to find dedicated safe places in your area. Be honest with your friends about your special diet. Let them know you can be flexible sometimes, but you appreciate their flexibility as well. Then consider having a favorite meal ready to zap when you get home.
Skip the Meal: When eating out is only one part of the evening fun, consider skipping the restaurant if it really brings you down. Sure, it is disappointing, but anxiety over getting sick isn’t fun either. Tell the others that you can meet them later at the club. Be firm if they persist in your attendance at dinner, especially if you don’t want just a glass of water for your meal.
B.Y.O.F: Contact the restaurant and explain your food intolerance. Ask if you can bring your own food to discreetly eat. Don’t expect the establishment to heat your food. They may be prevented from doing so for health code reasons. So pack a homemade hoagie to enjoy.
Know What Alcohol Is GF: So the gang is going to a pub and you want to drink too. Do some online research beforehand to know your gluten-free options. Make a note of a few safe alcoholic choices and brand names. Otherwise, basic wine is typically a safe bet. If you know the specific bar, try calling ahead to confirm they carry these options. Remember to bring your own snacks to help absorb the alcohol.
Eat Before You Meet: Watching others enjoy the pizza while you sip your wine is easier if you have a full stomach. So take care of your hunger at home and then go meet the gang.
Carry a Snack: For those times that you didn’t realize you’d be eating out, always have a safe snack with you. Or if you know the plans include going to an eatery with unsafe choices, bring something grand along! At these times, only an individually wrapped, horribly expensive treat will console you! GF bonbons anyone?
Be the Chef: Why not make the food and invite the gang to your place? Offer a sampling of new foods to taste. You can enjoy your company while eating safely.
Be prepared if the spotlight is suddenly turned on you and your food issues. When the table chat zooms to your inability to eat from the menu, offer a 10 second “mini education” about your condition. Then quickly steer the conversation back to the guest of honor or another popular topic.
Remember that you don’t need to make excuses or apologize for protecting your health. True friends and family will eventually understand why eating gluten-free is necessary for your well being.
Health professionals strive to provide quality patient care while balancing a time-strapped schedule.
With patient appointments in the U.S. averaging only 20 minutes, this translates to limited time for your medical consultation. So it pays to prepare for your health visit.
Preparing will help maximize those precious minutes with your healthcare provider.
Before Your Healthcare Visit:
Complete appointment pre-work: Complete any testing that your health provider ordered for you. This includes lab work, x-rays or similar. Be sure to schedule these test well in advance of your physician visit.
Prepare questions for your visit: Write down the questions you want to ask your healthcare provider in a notebook. Its frustrating to forget a concern that bothers you.
Make Lists: In the same notebook, make a list of your allergies, medical conditions, prior surgeries and your family history. Also jot down any medication names with dosages, supplements and over-the-counter drugs you are taking. Write clearly because the medical office may want to make a copy of these pages.
Remember your Notebook: Put the notebook containing the information for #2, and #3 above in a place you will remember to grab it on your appointment day. If you have any forms that need to be completed for school or an employer, be sure to take them too.
During Your Healthcare Visit:
Bring Extra Ears: Have a family member or friend attend the medical appointment with you. Give them permission to ask questions, too.
Be Honest: Tell the doctor about any symptoms. Tell them if you have experimented with a home remedy or an illegal drug. Do not withhold any information from your healthcare provider. If you haven’t taken previously prescribed medications, haven’t followed a previously ordered exercise or therapy plan – be honest.
Take Notes: Write down the name of a new diagnosis, new medicines, treatments, or tests. Also note any new instructions your provider gives you. Understand why a new prescription or treatment is being prescribed, and how it will benefit you. Side effects are important to ask about as well. This is why having someone attend with you can be helpful. They can write while you listen, or vice versa.
Understand the Next Steps: Before leaving, restate your understanding of any medications or dosage amounts, medical tests to schedule, and any diagnoses the health professional has discussed with you. Obtain any paper scripts for requested medical tests.
Schedule Future Appointments: Make sure to schedule any appointments before you leave the building. This includes follow-up visits or tests that your healthcare provider has ordered for you. Sometimes your provider’s staff will help you schedule your tests.
It’s important to actively participate in your treatment decisions. This means keeping informed and well-educated about your conditions and treatments.
If you are not comfortable with the outcome of your visit, get a second opinion or find a different health professional.
You know your body, pain and symptoms better than anyone else. Be assertive and advocate for yourself.