20 20 20 LOVE NEEDED: itchy, gritty, dry eyes bad news for our vision, health, and wellness
Are your eyes feeling more irritated, sore, and grittier in recent weeks? Winter and the early Spring months take a toll on our eyes, with many Brits suffering from ‘dry eyes’. The eye health syndrome is caused by a lack of lubrication in the eye, which is further exasperated in colder months. The drop in humidity, colder dryer air, and wind - coupled with central heating which further evaporates any moisture in the air - are known to worsen the condition for existing sufferers as well as cause dry eye in people who were previously unaffected.
Dry eyes can upset your sleep, make reading or looking at screens uncomfortable, and gets worse as the day progresses. Symptoms of dry eye are a particular problem for contact lens wearers as three quarters (74%) say they suffer from dry eye. Ageing also has an impact since our body produces less hyaluronic acid from our 40s onwards and this is key for retaining moisture in the eyes. Hormonal changes before and during menopause, and regular use of antihistamines, antidepressants, and diuretics, also affect the amount of moisture in the eye.
Optometrist, Francesca Marchetti from Rohto Dry Aid notes, “Dry eye is not only very uncomfortable, if the problem is prolonged it can lead to corneal abrasions and irreparable damage to vision. Because it can make many vision-based activities, such as driving and reading, uncomfortable, it can also have a very negative impact on quality of life.
Top tips to ease dry eye
PROTECT EYES FROM THE ELEMENTS: We know that cold air, wind and sunlight are just a handful of the factors that can influence our eye health. So even though it’s getting colder – get your sunnies out! Wearing sunglasses can protect eyes from the glare of the sun - which can cause tears to evaporate - as well as shielding them from the drying wind.
BREAK THE CYCLE: Francesca Marchetti, Optometrist from Rohto Dry Aid, says: “One of the most important things you can do to ease symptoms of dry eyes is to interrupt that vicious circle. A product that addresses all aspects of the dry eye cycle is important, so a new, clinically backed product called Rohto Dry Aid, which relieves EIGHT symptoms of dry eye has been quite a breakthrough. It has special Tearshield Technology which provides soothing relief for up to 12 hours helping to hydrate, protect and restore the tear film.”
20 20 20 LOVE: Humans usually blink 20 times per minute but when concentrating on their screens this blink rate can drop to between just one and three times per 60 seconds. Marchetti advises: “Experts like me recommend that we give our eyes a break from screens every 20 minutes by looking at a distant object (20ft away) for 20 seconds and blink for 20 seconds – it’s called the 20 20 20 screen break rules.”
EAT FOODS TO BOOST EYE HEALTH: Diet can play a helpful role for good eye health. Two key eye nutrients - Omega 3 and vitamin A - are lacking in in many diets – so try to boost your intake if that’s the case.
CATCH SOME ZZZS: Marchetti continues: “It’s during the hours that we are resting, that our body can repair and recover. That goes for our eyes too as the time they are closed is a period when they aren’t being forced to focus. Getting 7 to 8 hours of shuteye can allow for tears to be replenished and eyes to relax.”
TAKE A BREAK FROM CONTACT LENSES: Ensuring you sleep without lenses at night is essential to help avoid symptoms of dry eye and taking occasional breaks to swap lenses for glasses is a good idea to avoid irritation.
AVOID HOT AIR: Be mindful that central heating depletes the moisture in the air. Avoid sitting too close to radiators and when in a car, avoid having the heating vents blowing hot air at your face.
GET YOUR EYES CHECKED: The NHS recommend we visit the opticians every two years for a check-up. However, there are some cases where it’s advisable to visit the optometrist more regularly.
Dry eye problems can rapidly descend into a vicious cycle because anything which disrupts the tear film will also compromise the surface of the eye — and this leads to further interference to the tear film if left untreated. Breaking this toxic cycle is crucial to the success of any dry eye therapy. However, most dry eye products only hydrate and fail to restore and aid protection too. The novel Tearshield TechnologyTM used in Rohto Dry Aid utilises eye-care science not previously seen in the UK and deploys multiple modes of action to hydrate, restore and protect areas of dryness and restore all the multi-layers of the tear film. As a result, this latest innovation from Rohto Dry Aid breaks the toxic cycle. Rohto Dry Aid RRP £9.99 see www.clickdrophydrate.co.uk.