Dry Eye Making You Feel Blue?
Blue Light Could Play a Part
Houston winters may not be the harshest in terms of blustery cold temperatures, ice and snowfall. But Mother Nature has a few tricks up her sleeve for winter months in H-Town. Among the trickiest? Dry Eye.
Dry eye syndrome can be chronic and persistent. It’s also very common.
Symptoms of dry eye may include:
- Blurred vision
- Discomfort with contact lenses
- Excessive dryness
- Fatigued eyes
- Light sensitivity
- Excessive tearing (strange but true)
- Trouble with night driving
Dry Eye 101
If you suffer from dry eye, basically, your eyes don’t produce the right quantity or quality of tears to be healthy or comfortable, especially in drier conditions. Dry eye is a chronic condition affecting over 33 million Americans and 100 million people worldwide. Winter dry eye is even more common, contributing to what is known as evaporative dry eye which affects the Meibomian glands, the leading cause of dry eye.
For mild dry eye symptoms, some simple home remedies can sometimes help.
- Use a humidifier to keep moisture in the air
- Use drug store artificial tears
- Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from windy, sunny skies and glare
- Stay hydrated in all weather conditions
Patients with more severe or chronic dry eye issues frequently describe their condition as annoying and persistent. And beyond climate or time of year, there may be another factor causing your dry eye symptoms.
Feeling Blue? Power Down
People of all ages are more “plugged in” than ever before. Experts agree that doing near work on computers and smartphones—such as emailing, texting, viewing, working or playing video games—can be blamed for much of the increase in dry eye symptoms. These types of activities interfere with the quality and quantity of blinks, which means not enough natural tears, resulting in dry eyes.
If you spend significant time looking at your phone, laptop, tablet or flat screen LED television (and let’s be real, who doesn’t?!), you are likely spending a lot of time staring at blue light. Blue light is a color in the visible light spectrum that can be seen by the human eye. Studies show there is some concern over the long-term effects of screen exposure as it relates to blue light, which has a shorter wavelength and produces a higher amount of energy.
Protect Your Eyes from Blue Light
While some exposure to blue light is beneficial for boosting memory and cognitive function, too much exposure can be harmful, affecting the sleep/wake cycle and possibly even contributing to digital eye strain. The American Optometric Association defines Computer Vision Syndrome as digital eye strain caused by glare from electronics as well as working distance, contrast, size of font and even lack of blinking.
Follow these tips from our vision specialists at Mann Eye Institute to make sure you (and your kids!) are safe from over-exposure to blue light:
- Monitor screen time and take frequent breaks to give your eyes a rest.
- Use a screen filter to decrease blue light exposure. They are available for smartphones, tablets and computer screens.
- Consider computer glasses. The lenses (which can be tinted to reduce glare or enhance contrast sensitivity) can block some blue light and are designed to help ease digital eye strain.
Dry Eye Solutions from our Dry Eye Specialists
Just because dry eye is common does not mean you have to live with it. At Mann Eye Institute, one of our dry eye specialists will perform a series of thorough diagnostic tests (including ocular allergy testing) to evaluate your unique ocular surface condition and to discover the root cause of your dry eye symptoms. You will receive a personalized treatment plan designed to offer ongoing relief of your Houston Dry Eye. Beyond basic eye drops, our advanced dry eye treatment options can include:
- LipiFlow – a non-invasive procedure that addresses the most common form of dry eye
- THERMIeyes – a non-invasive procedure that relieves dry eye while tightening the skin around the eye
- Scleral Lenses – keep eyes hydrated and improve visual acuity
- Amniotic Membrane Contact Lenses – dissolve into the eye to naturally heal dry eye
Mann Eye Institute boasts an impressive 40 years of serving the eye care needs of people in Houston and Austin and everywhere in between. Our Ocular Surface Treatment Center is dedicated to helping people with their chronic dry eye issues. Make an appointment where we are able to diagnose and treat your dry eye symptoms with the latest available technology.