© 2016 by Ailar Poormoghaddam

don't forget to blink: dealing with dry eyes

May 2, 2017

It was January 2016 and I was sitting in the back of the lecture hall when I realized that all the writing on the board suddenly looked more blurry than it used to. I decided to go see an eye doctor to find out what was causing my blurry vision. During the entire exam my eyes were watering, SO embarrassing, and I was shocked when the doctor told me that the reason I couldn’t see the board so clearly was actually because my eyes were DRY! I was so confused at that point because I thought that my eyes were anything BUT dry with all the tearing. However, the he told me that dryness can cause blurry vision and that I needed to start using lubricating eye drops right away. 

I used to always have watery eyes especially when I would be out in the sun or the wind, and often felt embarrassed when my eyes would start watering while having a conversation with someone. People with lighter colored eyes tend to be more sensitive towards light and wind, but no matter what color your eyes are, dryness is very common! Many of us spend hours and hours on our phones and computers each day (often without blinking enough) and this causes our eyes to become dry. Then the eyes require additional lubrication to help clear our vision, otherwise we tend to not see as well, especially towards the end of the day and at nighttime. 

So how can we help our eyes become less dry? Well the obvious way is by using lubricating eye drops (the preservative-free kind if you have very sensitive eyes). It is important to protect our eyes by wearing sunglasses whenever we go out, take breaks often while working on the computer or on our phones, give the eye doctor a visit once a year and remember to blink often! 

Our diet can also contribute to the health of eyes. Research by Delphi Panel has shown that reduced intake of omega-3 fatty acids and increased intake of omega-6 fatty acids is associated with a higher risk factor for dry eyes. Foods such as flax seeds, chia seeds, seafood, and fish like salmon have a high omega-3 fatty acid content while foods such as vegetable oils, dairy, eggs, wheat, nuts and grains have a high omega-6 fatty acid content. Additionally by increasing water consumption and decreasing caffein consumption (a drying agent) we can help our eyes maintain more lubricated. 

Lastly, I think that we spend so much worrying about the shape of our body and our diet that we often forget to pay attention to other areas of our body that require our attention! So take note when you experience something new/different with your body, find out what is causing it and how you can help treat it.

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