Can Computer Use Cause Permanent Dry Eye Syndrome?
Is Dry Eye Syndrome Treatable? Are Natural Remedies Effective?
Many months ago my eyes became extremely dry, often sore, red, and itchy. I blamed it on allergies, as I was often out in the yard or on long country walks. Then recently I was having intermittent difficulty seeing properly. Naturally, having worn glasses for many years, I ascertained that it was time for a new prescription. When visiting my optometrist he informed me that what I was suffering was Dry Eye Syndrome.
What Is Dry Eye Syndrome
Apparently this is a very common eye disease and can affect everyone but is more prevalent in the elderly. Other symptoms include photophobia, blurred vision, stringy mucus, difficulty with night driving, excessive eye watering, tired eyes, and the feeling of foreign matter in your eyes.
The following groups are at high risk for dry eyes:
- menopausal and/or pregnant women
- those who use electronic devices such as computers and mobile phones for long periods
- those who spend a large amount of time in air conditioning
Tears have a direct effect on dry eye disease and occur in three layers. The mucous layer, closest to the eye itself, keeps the tears in place. The watery layer is at the
center and keeps the eye moist and free of debris. The lipid layer is the outside layer and stabilizes the tear film.
What Causes Dry Eye Syndrome?
Insufficient tear quantity or quality results in dry eye syndrome. Eighty percent of dry eye sufferers not only lack water but also the oil or mucus layer.
As well this malady can be caused by blepharitis which is an eyelid infection which reacts to allergy medications.
Left untreated, dry eyes can progress to scarring, corneal damage, and permanent vision loss. However, it can be prevented or at least eased.
- Be aware of how often you blink when concentrating on your electronic device and take eye rests often.
- Use warm compresses to promote oil secretion and prevent the quick evaporation of eye moisture. I find these to relieve my dry eye symptoms very quickly and
effectively when symptoms are bad.
- Consume more fruits and vegetables containing lutein and vitamin A.
- Get adequate sleep.
- Avoid dry or windy environments and add moisture to your home with a humidifier.
- If you suffer from a food intolerance, avoid those triggers.
- Control your blood sugar levels.
- Drink plenty of water daily, especially if you live in a hot, dry climate.
- Avoid alcohol as it causes dehydration and affects the quality of your tears.
- Quit smoking for the same reason.
- Lubricating eye drops relieve the systems but be sure to use reputable ones. I use Systane and Systane Gel Drops, as recommended by my ophthalmologist and they ease my suffering considerably. These drops supplement your natural tears with artificial tears.
Consume Omega 3 Fatty Acids and Vitamins
A healthy diet is a top priority to ward off dry eye disease. Omega-3 fatty acids are very important as they reduce inflammation in the eyes and enable increased tear
quality. Foods high in omega-3 include flaxseed, palm oil, soybean oil, chia seeds, walnuts, salmon, tuna, pork, beef, lamb, cheese, milk products, and fish oil supplements.
Vitamins A, B12, D, E, C, B6 and 9, riboflavin, niacin, lutein, and thiamine are all essential for good eye health. Eat a balanced diet including fruits, vegetables, meat, and dairy.
Foods rich in Vitamin A include pumpkins, apricots, carrots, tomatoes, spinach, dairy products, and liver. These protect the surface of the eye.
Vitamin B2 foods are avocados, broccoli, whole grains, and dairy. This vitamin protects the eyes from cell damage.
Vitamin B6 is found in potatoes, kale, salmon, mackerel, and sardines and are needed for a functioning
Vitamin B12 helps to lubricate the eyes and foods containing it are liver, mackerel, and eggs.
Vitamin C also plays a part in maintaining the tear film. Foods are broccoli, acerola berries, peppers, and brussel sprouts.
Vitamin E is found in wheat germ oil, sunflower oil, spinach, peppers, mangos, and red currents and protects your eyes against cell damage.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin are antioxidants that help to maintain your eye health. They are contained in leafy greens such as kale, spinach, and romaine lettuce.
Zinc transports vitamin A from the liver to the retina and produces melanin which is a pigment that protects your eyes. It is found in whole grains, dairy, corn, peas,
lentils, and nuts.
Supplements for Dry Eye
Supplements are also very helpful with ensuring the health of your eyes. All vitamins, omega-3 and more are available, but as usual I caution – use a reputable
Can Coffee Help?
Here is a bit of a new finding. It was previously believed that if you had dry eye you should abstain from drinking coffee due to its diuretic effect. However, as with
many of these things, research has shown that coffee can promote tear production. Coffee contains Xanthine, a molecule that has been shown to do just that.
So go ahead and enjoy your cup of joe. Most people will not be harmed by as much as four cups per day. One word of caution: Use tea or coffee to get the caffeine needed for this use. Other beverages containing caffeine are often too high in sugar.
Nourish the Liver and Kidneys
Chinese medicine treatment is very successful for dry eye disease as well. They believe that it is mainly linked to the functioning of the liver and kidneys. Therefore, these organs should be better nourished. As well, acupuncture is known to effectively relieve dry eye symptoms, promote tear secretion, and increase tear film stability.
Can Computer Use Cause Permanent Dry Eye Syndrome?
Can staring at a computer screen cause dry eyes?
Staring at a computer screen tends to prevent your eyes from blinking as often as they need to. Your tears quickly evaporate because of this, causing dry eyes. Take regular breaks from your computer to avoid this.
It is unlikely that permanent dry eye syndrome can be the result of computer use, but it won’t help it.
It is comforting to know that there are both ways to prevent dry eye disease and ways to relieve the symptoms. Because, take it from me, it is not a pleasant affliction to endure. As a matter of fact I think it is time to put some Systane in my scratchy eyes right now.