Excessive screen time and working till late hours at the office may affect your eyes. And change in working culture in the pandemic hasn't made things easier.

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By Roland Stephen

Excessive screen time and working till late hours at the office may affect your eyes. And change in working culture in the pandemic hasn't made things easier. Dry eye problems are most common in people older than 50, they are also increasing among young adults.

What causes Dry eyes ?

Dry eye is a common problem that affects many people worldwide, nearly 5 million Americans are affected by Dry eyes each year. The amount of time you spend staring at a computer screen reduces the blink rate and can affect your eyes and worsen dry eye symptoms. Activities that demand intense concentration can result in eyestrain and dryness. The brightness of the monitor reflecting onto your eyes can also contribute to dry and tired eyes. Blinking is important because it helps spread hydrating substances like tears and mucus across your eyes. If you’re blinking less, the tears on your eyes have more time to evaporate, resulting in red and dry eyes.

Dry eyes are caused by a variety of reasons that disrupt the healthy tear film. Dry eyes can occur when you're unable to produce enough water (aqueous fluid). Dry eye syndrome can also be caused by medical conditions, environmental factors, and even certain medications such as:

  • Antihistamines
  • Nasal decongestants
  • Drugs to lower blood pressure
  • Hormone therapy and oral contraceptives
  • Acne medication
  • Anti-depressants/anti-psychotic
  • Medications for Parkinson’s disease

Symptoms of Dry eyes

Signs and symptoms, which usually affect both eyes, may include:

  • A stinging, burning or scratchy sensation in your eyes
  • Stringy mucus in or around your eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Eye redness
  • A sensation of having something in your eyes
  • Difficulty wearing contact lenses
  • Difficulty with nighttime driving
  • Watery eyes, which is the body's response to the irritation of dry eyes
  • Blurred vision or eye fatigue

Prevent Dry Eyes. Simple DIY Solutions for Dry Eyes

Dry eyes feel uncomfortable. If you experience dry eyes, pay attention to the situations that are most likely to cause your symptoms. Then find ways to avoid those situations in order to prevent your dry eyes symptoms. For instance:

Avoid air blowing in your eyes. Don't direct hair dryers, car heaters, air conditioners or fans toward your eyes.
Rest Your Eyes. The light from your computer screen, smartphone, and television can be irritating. Furthermore, reduced blink rate or incomplete blinking can contribute to dry eyes.
Add moisture to the air. In winter, a humidifier can add moisture to dry indoor air.
Consider wearing wraparound sunglasses or other protective eyewear. Safety shields can be added to the tops and sides of eyeglasses to block wind and dry air. Ask about shields where you buy your eyeglasses.
Take eye breaks during long tasks. If you're reading or doing another task that requires visual concentration, take periodic eye breaks. Close your eyes for a few minutes. Or blink repeatedly for a few seconds to help spread your tears evenly over your eyes.
Be aware of your environment. The air at high altitudes, in desert areas and in airplanes can be extremely dry. When spending time in such an environment, it may be helpful to frequently close your eyes for a few minutes at a time to minimize evaporation of your tears.
Position your computer screen below eye level. If your computer screen is above eye level, you'll open your eyes wider to view the screen. Position your computer screen below eye level so that you won't open your eyes as wide. This may help slow the evaporation of your tears between eye blinks.
Reduce Your monitors / screen brightness level : Try this so that light is reduced and your eyes will be cool. Even try for black screen tools (eg. Adobe Creative Tools) or Black UI / Grey User interfaces
Stop smoking and avoid smoke. If you smoke, ask your doctor for help devising a quit-smoking strategy that's most likely to work for you. If you don't smoke, stay away from people who do. Smoke can worsen dry eyes symptoms.
Use artificial tears regularly. If you have chronic dry eyes, use eyedrops even when your eyes feel fine to keep them well lubricated.