Handling Dry Eyes in the Summer

You likely know the uncomfortable experience of having dry eyes, but if you have chronic dry eyes, you have a medical condition that must be addressed to protect your eyes. At Eyecare Center of Snohomish, Dr. Anup Deol helps many patients with dry eyes, and can provide the guidance and advice you need to avoid infection or even damage to your eyes.

Dry eyes overview

When you have chronic dry eyes, you have problems with your tears — either your eyes don’t make enough tears to keep your eyes lubricated, or your tears are of a poor quality. Here are a few facts about chronic dry eyes: 

If you have chronic dry eyes and you don’t address the condition, you’re at a much higher risk of developing infection or damaging the surface of your eyes. It can also make reading, watching television, or doing other normal activities difficult.

Each time you blink, your eyelid spreads tears across the surface of your eye, providing lubrication and washing away microscopic foreign matter. Tears are composed of oil, water, and mucus. When any of these three components is lacking, you may develop chronic dry eyes.

Caring for chronically dry eyes

There are several different approaches to treating dry eyes. Artificial tears may be used to replace your natural tears, or Dr. Deol may advocate measures to increase tear production, decrease the inflammation of your eyelids and eyes, or some combination of those treatments. 

The most appropriate and effective treatment depends on the severity of your condition, your lifestyle, your overall health, and several other factors. Before suggesting a treatment plan, Dr. Deol discusses all of those factors with you.

The season makes a difference

Several studies have shown that weather and climate have a significant impact on the severity of dry eyes symptoms. The good news is that summer is the season that seems to be easiest for people with chronic dry eyes. You might even consider it a vacation from your chronic condition. 

Of course, you still need to protect and care for your eyes. For example, wear sunglasses when you’re outside to shield your eyes from the sun. If you’re going to be somewhere windy, like on the water or at the beach, consider wearing goggles to protect your eyes. Remember to stay hydrated.

If you spend a lot of time looking at screens, follow the 20-20-20 rule. Look away from your screen every 20 minutes. Focus on an object about 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. 

It may seem strange, but you also need to remember to blink. Blinking is the mechanism that spreads lubrication over the surface of your eye, and there’s evidence that people tend to blink less when looking at screens. 

If the air inside your home is especially dry because of air conditioning, use a humidifier. One of the reasons summer is usually better for people with dry eyes is that the air is often more humid, but air conditioning can dry it out. 

If you’d like to learn more about chronic dry eyes, book an appointment at Eyecare Center of Snohomish. We’re happy to answer your questions and discuss your specific needs. You can use our online booking tool, or you can call 360-568-6666 between 9am and 6pm Monday through Thursday.

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