How to combat dry eye during a heatwave

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(Last Updated On: August 12, 2022)

With temperatures set to reach 35C for a fourth day in a row, businesses throughout the country will be pumping out the air conditioning to keep their employees cool.

But while this may be a welcome relief to sweltering workers, the blast of cold air can wreak havoc on eyes.

To lower humidity and keep places cool, air conditioners extract moisture from the air, causing your skins – and eyes – to dry out. This can cause dry, itchy and irritated eyes.

Screen use adds to the problem. When we look at a computer screen, our average blinks per minute decrease by more than half the usual amount . The average person blinks 15 – 20 times a minute, which means screen use reduces this to just seven times a minute.

This also leads to drier eyes, as incomplete blinking causes tears to evaporate from our eyes more quickly.

So what can you do to combat dry eyes? Giles Edmonds, Specsavers clinical services director, has some top tips.

Stay hydrated: It is good general health advice to keep your water bottle topped up, particularly when you are stuck indoors, as good hydration can help avoid dry eye.

Rest your eyes: Screen time can also have an impact on dry eye so follow the 20:20:20 rule: look up from your screen every 20 minutes and look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. Looking into the distance helps relax the focusing muscles of your eyes, which in turn reduces eye fatigue.

Take note of your diet: We’ve all heard that carrots are good for our eyes and there is some truth in it. That’s because carrots contain beta-carotene, which helps us make Vitamin A, an essential vitamin for our eyes. It is also important to make sure we eat a variety of fruit and vegetables, including dark green leaves, as well as oily fish, which is good for your health and may support good eye health too.

Try eye drops: When eyes are dry, they may need extra lubrication and using preservative-free eye drops can help. These can be used as often as needed, depending on symptoms – your optometrist can advise you on which drops are best for your needs.

For more information or to request an appointment at your local store, visit www.specsavers.co.uk or to find out more about dry eye visit www.specsavers.co.uk/eye-health/dry-eye-syndrome

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