An American study has found that city living increases the likelihood of suffering from dry eyes. Dry Eye Syndrome is a condition where either the eyes do not make enough tears, or the tears that are made evaporate from the eye too quickly. Lack of tears causes the eye to dry out which can leave them inflamed, red and irritable. It may sound like a small problem but it can severely affect a persons quality of life, their physical and mental functioning. Also it can affect their work and productivity when simple tasks such as reading and working on the computer become difficult and uncomfortable. The symptoms can vary in severity and include blurred vision, grittiness, burning and watering.
The study has found that in large cities dry eye syndrome is 3-4 times more common, increasing exponentially the greater the air pollution, with all large cities in the U.S following the same pattern. In association with this, cities at higher altitudes have a further increase of prevalence by about 13%. The study concluded that doctors should consider environmental factors when diagnosing, managing and treating the problem.
Other causes of Dry Eye Syndrome also have to be taken into consideration, such as;
Living in a hot and windy climate
Certain chronic diseases
Side effects of medicines
Therefore when treating the condition it is important to first of all to treat any underlying causes. Further treatments which you can use at home include:
Lubricating Drops: Mild dry eye can usually be managed by taking lubricating drops 4-6 times per day, and aim to replace the missing water in the tear film. There are different types available ranging from tear drops to gels and ointments, so if one type doesn’t work, do try another. Preservative free drops are preferential as these can be used with more frequency without damage to the delicate cells on the surface of the eye.
Punctal Occlusion: Small plugs can be fitted to seal your tear ducts and prevent your tears from draining away.
Flaxseed Oil: These herbal tablets keep your eyes lubricated and help to improve the ocular surface.
Diet: Eat plenty of food that contain Omega 3 oils such as oily fish, avocados and nuts.
Water: Keep hydrated, dehydration will affect your eyes!
Humidifier: Use a humidifier to moisten the surrounding air and create a an improved atmosphere for your eyes.
Unfortunately we cannot all move to the countryside to help our eyes, but following the steps above will certainly make big city life a little more tolerable!