When your eyes are chronically unable to produce enough tears (lubrication) to make the eye comfortable, it is known as dry eye syndrome. Though people of any age can suffer from dry eye syndrome, it is more prevalent in postmenopausal women. Symptoms of dry eye syndrome include stinging, burning, scratchiness, mucus buildup, irritation, red eyes, fatigued eyes, and general irritation. Here are eight ways recommended by Ottawa eye doctors to manage dry eye syndrome:

Blink Regularly

Every time you blink, your eye gets a soothing and relieving coating of lubrication. Blinking is a natural reflex, and it’s hard to consciously focus on our blinking. But if you suffer from dry eye syndrome, blinking at least every five seconds can offer some much-needed relief. If you are spending extended periods staring at a computer screen or smartphone, make a conscious effort to blink more often than usual.

Talk With Your Doctor

In addition to speaking with your Ottawa eye doctor for management strategies, schedule an appointment with your family doctor. This is especially important for postmenopausal women. Some medications can also cause dry eye as a side effect.

Stay Hydrated

Tears are primarily composed of oils, water, and mucins. Just as you need to keep your body hydrated, your eyes and tears must be hydrated by drinking water. You should drink between 8 to 10 glasses of water every day. Remember, if you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated.

Eat Well

Your eyes are part of your body, and they need to be fueled by healthy and nutritious food. A balanced diet filled with fresh vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and moderate amounts of fish is proven to reduce the risk of developing any eye problem. Eat foods high in eye-healthy nutrients like potassium (bananas, almonds, avocados), zinc (legumes, mushrooms), antioxidants (kale, spinach), and omega-3 fatty acids (salmon, halibut).

Don’t Rub Your Eyes

Dry eye syndrome can be a vicious cycle. Your eyes are dry and scratchy, so you rub them to relieve the distress – but this only causes more irritation. Not only does rubbing your eye disturb the tear film, it can also cause irritants (like dust and bacteria) to transfer to your eye.

Keep Your Hormones in Balance

Eating well ensures that your hormones are in balance and that your insulin levels are controlled. This will reduce inflammation and irritation in your eye.

Use Artificial Tears

Over-the-counter (OTC) eye drops or ointments can provide lubrication to treat dryness and irritation. They supplement your natural tears with oils or glycol. Speak with your doctor, eye doctor, or pharmacist for recommendations.

Be Careful With Contact Lenses

Contact lenses can cause your eyes to dry out by soaking up fluid. Try not to wear your contact lenses more than necessary. Always clean them well and replace them on schedule.

Schedule a visit with your eye doctor for more information about dry eye syndrome.