Save your sight with these eye-protecting tips
50% of the UK population suffers from dry eye without even knowing it – and it’s potentially sight-destroying.
A shocking new study by Rohto Dry Aid has discovered that one in two Brits are suffering from Dry Eye, with women twice as likely to experience this potentially eye-destroying condition than men.
And although so many people are victims of Dry Eye, half of us have no idea what this condition even is.
Optometrist Francesca Marchetti says that Dry Eye occurs when you don’t produce enough tears, or the consistency of the tear changes. This leads to inadequate lubrication of the tear film, causing inflammation and likely damage to the eye surface.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF DRY EYE?
Francesca explains that the symptoms of Dry Eye can include:
- Watery eyes
- Blurred vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Heavy eyelids
As the Rohto Dry Aid research discovered, when respondents understood the symptoms, only 26.6% of men and 17.3% of women admitted to never having suffered from Dry Eye
Our eyes are precious. ‘The eye contains over two million working parts and is considered the second most complex organ in the body after the brain.’ Francesca explains
WHAT CAUSES DRY EYE?
As for the causes of Dry Eye, Dr Byki Huntjens, clinical Optometrist and a Dry Eye researcher and specialist, says: ‘Dry eye has many causes, from age to the environment – including wind, cold, indoor air pollution and central heating, diet, certain medications, and some health conditions. Children too can suffer from Dry Eye.’
Women’s health expert, Dr Catherine Hood, adds: ‘Changes in hormones that occur during the perimenopause and menopause can lead to dysfunction of the tear glands, as well as cause reduction in the oils and mucin that protect and lubricate the eye surface as part of the tear film.’
HOW CAN WE PROTECT OURSELVES FROM DRY EYE?
So, what can be done to protect our eyes?
Here Francesca shares five essential eye care tips that she ‘swears by’:
1. Take screen breaks
The Rohto Dry Aid research found that almost six in 10 Brits admit that using a computer or laptop can have a negative impact on their eyes, with 32.3% saying that their screen time is leading to symptoms of Dry Eye.
Francesca explains that ‘screeners’ may find themselves blinking far less than usual. ‘This can cause tears to dry up or evaporate. Therefore, screen breaks are vital.’
Worryingly, only 14.6% of people questioned take regular screen breaks.
‘Give your 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,’ Francesca advises.
2. Watch your screen position
‘Position your computer screen below eye level so that you won’t open your eyes as wide; if your computer screen is above eye level, you’ll open your eyes wider to view the screen,’ says Francesca.
When you don’t open your eyes as wide, it may help slow the evaporation of your tears between eye blinks.
3. Use a clinically proven 8-in-1 Dry Eye Treatment
Despite nearly half of Brits understanding that Dry Eye can damage eyes, 65% don’t actually have an eye care routine and less than a third use eye drops.
Francesca explains that it’s important to lubricate and protect the eyes to combat the decline in hyaluronic acid; a common trigger to Dry Eye.
‘The eyes rely on optimal levels of fluids to work properly. They need fluids to produce tears, absorb shocks, transport nutrients, and protect delicate tissues. When eyes lack fluids, they can become dry, sensitive, and easily irritable, and vision can suffer.
‘Rohto Dry Aid eye drops provide a premium 8-in-1 treatment for the Dry Eye condition, helping to relieve dryness, soreness, itchiness, irritation, burning, grittiness, stinging and tiredness.
4. Eat an eye-lovin’ diet
Diet can have a significantly negative impact on eye health.
Enjoy an anti-inflammatory diet filled with fruits, vegetables, beans, pulses, and grains to support your eye health. A vitamin D supplement can also be useful.
Public Health Nutritionist, Dr Emma Derbyshire, says: ‘A lack of omega 3s relative to omega 6s may also impact Dry Eye. Omega-3s have long been known for their anti-inflammatory properties.’
Oily fish, such as sardines, mackerel and salmon, are your best sources of omega 3, however a supplement can also be a useful addition to your diet should you not want to eat fish.
5. Be aware of your environment
Central heating, air con, indoor air pollution caused from heaters, room sprays, cleaning products, high altitude air (such as that in planes), and smoky environments can all cause the eyes to dry out.
Dr Byki Huntjens adds: ‘Don’t direct hair dryers, car heaters, air conditioners or fans toward your eyes either.
‘It may be helpful to frequently close your eyes for a few minutes at a time to minimise evaporation of your tears.’
Global Perspectus; 1,109 nationally representative consumers questioned; Spring 2023