Free Ways to Comfort Dry, Gritty Eyes

Help for Dry Eyes and Sjogren’s Syndrome

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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.
  • Gently Clean 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.
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  • 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.