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When Tears are Not Enough
With increased screen time and longer workdays, more than 6 million Canadians are suffering from dry eye symptoms. While the signs of dry eye can be as simple as sore, tired and uncomfortable eyes, the impact can be great, affecting everything from workplace performance to at home activities.
To treat dry, uncomfortable eyes, many people turn to simple over-the-counter eye drops offering short- term relief. What they don’t know though is that there are three types of dry eye, and the majority of eye drops are only designed to treat one type, leaving most people with ongoing symptoms.
So what causes dry eye, and how can you get at the root of the problem?
Jeepers Creepers, What’s Wrong with My Peepers?
Allergies, environmental exposure, normal aging, hormonal changes, medical conditions and screen use are considered large contributing factors, and those who suffer from dry eye say reading and working too much can increase the problem.
In fact, between increased screen time and longer workdays, dry eye is becoming one of the most common conditions seen by Canadian optometrists. A recent Canadian vision care survey by Leger found that 85% of Canadians have experienced at least one symptom of dry eye, which can include eye fatigue (46%), watery eyes (42%), sensitivity to light (38%), blurred vision (34%) and eye redness (33%), (CVCS, 2019). The survey examined the lifestyle impacts of dry eye among 1,500 Canadians over the age of 18.
Of Canadians with dry eye:
- 66% say they experience dry eye symptoms when they read
- 62% say they get dry eye symptoms when they work too much
- 58% say they experience more dry eye discomfort depending on the season
- 52% say dry eye symptoms makes it harder for them to drive
- 45% say dry eye symptoms can impact their mood
- 40% say dry eye symptoms have affected their productivity at work
So what can be done to treat dry eye to ensure you can get back to work – and play – without suffering from its symptoms?
Eight Prevention and Treatment Options
Only an eye care professional can diagnose dry eye, so a trip to your optometrist should be first on the list if you think you might be suffering from this condition. However, there several steps you can take to prevent or treat dry eye.
1 ) Give your eyes a rest. When looking at screens like this one, follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look 20 feet away to fight digital eyestrain. Close the eyes and open them. Now, look twenty feet away from the screen for 20 seconds.
2 ) Stay hydrated. With every blink of the eye, basal tears flow across the cornea providing a layer of liquid protection from the environment.Tears are a complex mixture of fatty oils, water, mucus, and more than 1,500 different proteins that keep the surface of the eye smooth and protected. Without proper hydration, the body can’t produce tears to keep your eyes moisturized, which may lead to eyestrain or dry eye.
3 ) Take your vitamins. Studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acids may help protect adult eyes from dry eye. As a source of omega-3 fatty acids, SYSTANE® Omega-3 Supplement helps to relieve dry eye symptoms and maintain good overall health.
4 ) Re-think your eye hygiene. Between makeup, cleansers and facial wipes, some products leave residue behind on your eyelids that can clog glands and cause dry eye. SYSTANE® Lid Wipes are pre-moistened and hypoallergenic eyelid cleansing wipes that can be used to remove dirt and eye makeup.
5 ) Invest in an all-in-one eye drop. Nearly 90 per cent of dry eye patients suffer from evaporative or undetermined dry eye. However, the majority of eye drops on the market are designed to treat aqueous tear deficient dry eye, which only 10% of people have. SYSTANE® COMPLETE Lubricant Eye Drops is an all-in-one drop for all types of dry eye that features tiny, nano-sized lipid droplets that replenish and lock in moisture across the eye surface. Lipids found in SYSTANE® COMPLETE treat the outer layer of the tear film, which prevents tear evaporation.
6 ) Plan ahead. Three-in-ten Canadians surveyed (29%) say they experience dry eye symptoms when they travel by plane (CVCS, 2019). To combat this, pack SYSTANE® COMPLETE Lubricant Eye Drops for better comfort en route and during your travel adventures.
7 ) Try a warm compress. Wet a soft washcloth with warm water. Recline and rest with the warm washcloth over the eyes for five minutes a few times throughout the day to temporarily soothe itchy or dry eyes.
8 ) Consider in-office therapies. Dry eye is often chronic and can’t be cured. Artificial tears and in-office therapies can provide comfort and help improve vision. For more advanced cases of dry eye, your optometrist may recommend treatment with the iLux® Device, an in-office procedure that helps treat evaporative dry eye by unblocking clogged glands in the eyelids.
To learn more about dry eye relief, visit Systane.ca to learn more about SYSTANE® COMPLETE Lubricant Eye Drops and the SYSTANE® family of products.
1 B. Caffery et al. Prevalence of dry eye disease in Ontario, Canada: A population-based survey. Ocular Surface. 2019.
2 Lemp MA, Crews LA, Bron AJ, Foulks GN, Sullivan BD. Distribution of aqueous-deficient and evaporative dry eye in a clinic-based patient cohort: a retrospective study. Cornea. 2012;31:472–478.
3 Data on file.
4 Rogers Healthcare Group. RHG Surveys on OTC Counselling and Recommendations. 2018; N/A: 2.
5 Giannaccare et al.: Efficacy of Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation for Treatment of Dry Eye Disease: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized ClinicaTrials. Cornea 2019 (in press).
6 1. Alcon data on file, 2017. 2. Korb D, Blackie C, Meadows D, Christensen M, Tudor M; Korb & Associates, Alcon Research, Ltd. Evaluation of extended tear stability by two emulsion-based artificial tears. Poster presented at: 6th International Conference of the Tear Film & Ocular Surface Society (TFOS); September 22-25, 2010; Florence, Italy.