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Dry Eye

Dry Eye Air Travel Tips

Dry Eye Air Travel Tips 640×350Traveling can be taxing on the entire body, but the eyes are especially vulnerable – particularly while wearing a mask against COVID-19. When traveling by plane, the dry air can cause your eyes to become red, parched and irritated. While you can’t control all variables during your travels, eye specialists have discovered a number of ways to reduce the chances of experiencing the unpleasant symptoms of ‘travelers dry eye.’

Here are five suggestions for preventing dry eye from affecting your vision.

Drink plenty of water. If your body isn’t properly hydrated, it will have a tougher time increasing tear production in a dry atmosphere. Humidity levels on planes are typically below 20%, which is lower than the Sahara Desert! Keep your eyes moist and comfortable by drinking plenty of water before, during and after your flight.

Wear your glasses. Since contact lenses remove moisture from your eye’s surface tear film, they can contribute to dry eye. Wearing your glasses can help keep your eyes moist.

Wear a sleep mask. Even when your eyelids are closed, your eyes might lose moisture, which happens frequently when you sleep. On a plane, a sleep mask can help prevent additional dryness.

Use hydrating eye drops. When you’re in a dry environment, a good hydrating eye drop can provide a brief respite.

Make sure your face mask fits snugly. When a person’s breath rises upward it can dry out their eyes. A face mask that fits securely around the bridge of the nose can prevent air from reaching the eyes.

If dry eye is making you miserable, especially when traveling, there is no reason to suffer. Schedule a comprehensive eye exam with The Dry Eye Center at Advanced Family Eyecare and find out what could be causing your dry eye symptoms and how to treat them.

The Dry Eye Center at Advanced Family Eyecare serves patients from Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Norman, and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Samuel C. Oliphant

Q: Can dry eye be cured?

  • A: In some cases, yes. There is a range of successful treatment options that can help manage dry eye for long-term relief. Your eye doctor can also provide in-office treatments for more advanced forms of dry eyes.

Q: What type of treatments are available for dry eye?

  • A: Depending on the cause of the dry eye, treatment options include:- In-office treatments
    – Lubricants
    – Punctal plugs
    – Topical steroids
    – Warm compresses
    – Protective eyewear
    – Intense pulse light
    – Switching to medications that don’t cause dry eye symptoms

How To Use Eye Makeup Safely Without Dry Eye Irritation

How To Use Eye Makeup Safely Without Dry Eye Irritation 640×350Some of our patients say they’ve been wearing more eye makeup since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, to draw more attention to their eyes — the only area of their face visible above their face mask.

While this practice may accentuate your eyes beautifully, it can also lead to uncomfortable symptoms of dry eye syndrome like red, itchy, watery or burning eyes.

Here are a few of our top tips for safely applying makeup that won’t aggravate your sensitive eye area.

1. Use only eye-safe products.

If a product isn’t meant to be applied to your eyes, keep it far away from the delicate tissues that make up your eye area. Don’t assume that all black makeup pencils are eyeliners, or that tinted brow gels are basically eyelash mascara. Read packaging labels carefully and only use products that have been determined to be eye-safe by the FDA or manufacturers. Also, to avoid cross contamination, keep a set of brushes and applicators that you only use for eye makeup and no other areas of your face.

2. Sharing is caring… except when it comes to eye makeup.

No, not even with your sister or “bff.” Certain bacteria have been associated with the development of dry eye syndrome, and sharing eye makeup is an excellent way to introduce harmful microbes like bacteria and fungus to your eyes (or others’ eyes). This includes brushes and eyelash curlers as well.

3. Hygiene is the top priority.

As mentioned above, bacteria is a no-no for keeping your eyes healthy and happy. Unfortunately, some eye makeup products are the perfect breeding ground for some types of bacteria. That’s why keeping your eye makeup products clean is key. You can do this by sanitizing your brushes after each use or sharpening your eyeliner before you use it. Also, wash your hands and face before applying any makeup.

4. Keep the makeup on the outside of your eyes.

Even eye-safe makeup can clog the tiny glands (called meibomian glands) that line the inner rims of your upper and lower eyelids. Meibomian glands secrete nourishing oils that keep your eyes feeling comfortable and healthy. Applying makeup too close to the eye’s surface also significantly increases the risk of makeup particles ending up in your tear film and causing your tears to evaporate too quickly.

5. Replace your makeup regularly.

If you’ve had the same tube of mascara or eyeshadow for more than 3 months, it may be time for a replacement. You should always replace your eye makeup and applicators following an eye infection or if they start changing color or texture.

6. Remove your eye makeup thoroughly.

Clean eyes are happy eyes. Although it’s tempting to just roll into bed after a long day or night, try to make it a habit to remove every bit of makeup before going to bed. Going to sleep with eye makeup significantly increases your chance of developing blepharitis, an inflammation of the eyelids. Use an oil-free makeup remover or an eyelid wipe to wash the day away.

Eyes Giving You Trouble? We Can Help

Whether it’s an occasional irritation or a chronic problem, dry eye syndrome is no fun. The good news is that the condition is often easily treatable, so you can find relief without giving up your favorite eye makeup looks.

If your eyes have been feeling irritated, dry or uncomfortable, we can help. To schedule your dry eye consultation, contact The Dry Eye Center at Advanced Family Eyecare in Oklahoma City today!

The Dry Eye Center at Advanced Family Eyecare serves patients from Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Norman, Broken Arrow, and throughout Oklahoma.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Samuel C. Oliphant

Q: What is dry eye syndrome?

  • A: Dry eye syndrome (DES) is a chronic lack of ocular hydration that can be caused by both genetic and environmental factors. When your tear quality or quantity is compromised, you may experience symptoms like eye redness, dryness, burning, stinging, stringy eye mucus, light sensitivity or watery eyes.

Q: Can dry eye syndrome be cured?

  • A: Although there isn’t yet a permanent cure for the condition, there are several ways to manage and treat dry eyes for long-lasting relief. Your dry eye optometrist will thoroughly examine your eyes to determine what’s causing your symptoms and prescribe the appropriate treatment plan.

What Happens If You Don’t Treat Dry Eye Syndrome?

girl sitting in the pool 640×350Dry eye syndrome (DES) is a condition where your eyes either produce low-quality tears or don’t produce enough tears to keep your eyes hydrated. Sometimes the meibomian glands inside your eyelids, which produce the oily layer of your tears, don’t function properly or are blocked, causing your tears to dry out. Environmental factors, certain medical conditions and several medications can also cause DES.

Tears are essential for maintaining eye health and comfort. They moisten your eyes and remove debris. In severe cases, untreated dry eye syndrome can actually damage your cornea and cause vision loss.

The amount of dryness varies in severity from person to person. If you have a minor case of dry eye, you may be able to manage it with over-the-counter eye drops. However, if the problem persists or appears to be getting worse, it’s time to visit your eye doctor, who will assess your eyes, find the underlying problem and offer treatment for lasting relief.

Below is a list of complications that may occur if chronic dry eye syndrome isn’t treated:

Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis refers to infected or inflamed conjunctiva — the clear layer of cells that covers the white part of your eyeball and the inner surface of your eyelids. Symptoms include grittiness, redness and sensitivity to light.

Keratitis

Keratitis refers to an inflammation of the cornea. It can be caused by different types of infections, abnormalities of the eyelids, injury and dry eye. If the deeper layers of the cornea are involved, scarring or a corneal ulcer may result, particularly if left untreated.

Corneal Ulcer

A corneal ulcer is an open sore that develops on the cornea—the clear, protective outer layer of your eyes.

While corneal ulcers typically develop following an injury, they can also be caused by severe dry eye.

On a daily basis, debris, like dirt and sand particles, enter your eyes and scratch the surface of the cornea. When your tear glands don’t produce enough tears to wash away the particles, bacteria can infect the scratch and cause an ulcer.

Luckily, corneal ulcers are easily treated with antibiotic eye drops. Left untreated, however, these ulcers can spread and scar the eyeball, causing partial or even complete blindness.

Inability to wear contact lenses

Unless your eyes produce enough good-quality tears, your contact lenses can become overly dry, leading to a gritty sensation, irritation and redness. Without sufficient moisture, your contacts may stick to your eyeball, making it difficult to remove them.

Though chronic dry eye syndrome may prevent you from wearing standard contact lenses, certain specialized contact lenses can improve ocular hydration and comfort.

Difficulty keeping your eyes open

Depending on the severity of dry eye, it may be difficult to keep your eyes open. This may occur if dry eye syndrome causes extreme light sensitivity or a chronic sensation that something is stuck in your eye.

While artificial tears may provide enough moisture to partially open your eyes, you may still feel the urge to squint, especially when exposed to a computer screen or sunlight.

Difficulty reading or driving

While blurred vision often signals that you need a stronger prescription, it’s also a common symptom of chronic dry eye syndrome.

Left untreated, the blurriness may worsen and even lead to double vision. Naturally, this makes driving and reading a real struggle.

Headaches

While there’s room for more research, studies have shown that there may be a connection between headaches and dry eye. A population-based case study of more than 72,000 patients published by JAMA Ophthalmology (2019) found that people who suffer from migraine headaches are more likely to have dry eyes compared to the general population.

It’s not clear why. According to the paper, being female and of advanced age play an important role in determining the strength of this association.

Depression

A 2015 study, published in the journal Cornea evaluated the connection between dry eye disease and depressive symptoms in more than 6,000 women. Researchers found that women diagnosed with dry eye had a higher likelihood of developing depressive moods, anxiety, and psychological stress.

While the connection isn’t fully understood, researchers noted that some medications for treating depression have a drying effect on the eyes, and that dry eye syndrome may limit a person’s participation in activities, to the point where they may become anxious, withdrawn and even depressed.

If you have dry eye, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with The Dry Eye Center at Advanced Family Eyecare in order to find the best treatment options and thus increase the quality of your tears and life.

The Dry Eye Center at Advanced Family Eyecare serves patients from Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Norman, and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Samuel C. Oliphant

Q: How do I know if I have dry eye syndrome?

  • A: If you experience itchiness, light sensitivity, tearing and tired eyes, it could indicate that you have dry eye syndrome. Get your eyes checked by an eye doctor, who will thoroughly diagnose your symptoms and offer lasting treatment.

Q: What causes dry eye?

  • A: Various things can cause dry, itchy eyes. Some of the most common causes include blocked glands, environmental factors (wind, air pollution), infrequent blinking, certain medications, standard contact lenses and Demodex mites.

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