Dry eye syndrome — when your body doesn’t produce enough tears to keep your eyes moist — is not just uncomfortable, it can lead to eye damage.
Unfortunately, the problem is common and can worsen with age. In fact, Americans spend about a third of a billion dollars annually on over-the-counter eye drops, or “artificial tears,” a solution which is only temporary. And their prescription counterparts may produce such side effects as allergic reactions, acute and chronic conjunctivitis, stinging and blurred vision, among others. Indeed, the preservatives in eye drops themselves can even be a source of dry eye syndrome.
So before reaching for those drops, consider these alternatives:
Change Your Lifestyle
Reducing your alcohol intake can have many positive benefits on the body and you can count relief from dry eye syndrome among them.
Additionally, avoid exposure to cigarette smoke and other air pollutants. If you’re a smoker, relieving dry eye syndrome may be great motivation to quit.
Screen time can also worsen dry eye syndrome. Unfortunately, this is one thing that’s hard to avoid. Screens may be an integral part of your work day, and you likely carry a smartphone or tablet with you when you are on-the-go. However, you can take frequent breaks from staring at your screens. Be sure to schedule time periodically where you actively look away from your screen — a perfect time to take care of the whole body and stand up and stretch.
Recent discoveries show that protective plant compounds from the South American maqui berry can reduce light-induced damage to tear glands and enhance tear production. Consider taking maqui berry extract, which can represent an effective approach to restore comfort and composition of one’s tears.
“If you’re accustomed to thinking of eye drops as the sole solution, it can be difficult to imagine an oral treatment having such a profound impact on tear production. However, protective plant compounds can actually restore your eye’s delicate ecosystem from the inside out,” says Michael A. Smith, MD, senior health scientist for Life Extension and host of Healthy Talk on RadioMD.com.
Along with a maqui supplement, consider upping your intake of omega-3 fatty acids, which boost production of the oily layer of your eyes, improving the integrity of the tear film and slowing the evaporation of tears. In addition to flaxseeds, walnuts, salmon and other foods that are chock full of the nutrient, consider omega-3 fatty acid supplements. For more information, visit www.lifeextension.com/Tear or call 866-280-2851.
Embrace Your Four Eyes
Dry eye syndrome can be exacerbated by contacts. It can also be caused by LASIK surgery to correct one’s vision. You can reduce symptoms by sticking with your glasses. If you can’t say no to contacts, consider finding a pair of glasses you truly love and taking a break with them a few times a week.
Don’t live with dry eye discomfort. Consider new ways to relieve your symptoms.