Tears are very important for the eye to function normally. It kept eyes moist, enhance sight, washes away dust, and tiny particles. It also protects the eyes from infection and damage. Without adequate tears, our eyes are at risk of eye inflammation, abrasion of the surface, and corneal ulcer. However, a 2012 poll shows that at least 26 million Americans experiencing dry eyes each year. The same report also shows ophthalmologist visits increase at a similar pace. The numbers are expected to rise each year due to our current state of living conditions. That is why more and more people are dependant on a humidifier.
What is Dry Eye Syndrome
Dry eye is a chronic condition when your tear glands are not creating enough tears to nourish the eye. The lack of tears means there is not enough lubricant spreading across the cornea (surface of the eye). There are many internal and external reasons that cause dry eye. From aging (above 50), low humidity environment, contact lenses, medication, and medical conditions. Common illnesses include diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, scleroderma, Sjogren’s syndrome, and thyroid disorders. Women are at higher risk due to hormone change, menopause, pregnancy, and the use of birth control pills. Vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids deficiency also contribute hugely to eye dryness.
Eye dryness usually happens when you stare in front of a computer screen of long hours. Dry environment like an airplane, air-conditioned room, riding a bike or winter season also speed things up. Every individual might go through different symptoms with dry eyes. If you are experiencing either one of the following symptoms below, do pay extra attention.
- Blurred vision or fatigue eyes
- Red eyes/ bloodshot eyes
- Stringy mucus around eyes
- Burning sensation
- Itchy eyes/ Watery eyes
- Aching sensations
- Heavy eyes/ Sore eyes
- Burning sensation
- Pain while wearing contact lenses
- Photophobia/ Sensitive to light
Will a Humidifier Help Dry Eyes?
A humidifier will help with dry eyes by adding moisture into the air. With a humidity level between 30-50% percent, tears will evaporate slower thus keeping our eyes soothe and moistened. Out of the few types of humidifiers, we recommend an evaporative or ultrasonic type that is quite common in the market.
Without a humidifier, we will likely be stuck in an air-conditioned room that dried up the air quickly. Adding the contact lenses effect, our tears will evaporate faster thus reducing the lubricant in your eye. The lack of tears will make our eyes very dry and uncomfortable.
That being said, excessive moisture in the air (above 55%) can also cause irritation to the eyes. It also encourages the growth of mold that could trigger watery, red eyes. So maintain a healthy balance between the room humidity level.
Dry Eye Syndrome Preventions
A humidifier will help with dry eye but that is only part of the solutions. There are many treatments you could do to prevent dry eye syndrome as follow.
- Blink your eyes frequently or close your eyes for a few minutes to help spread the tears evenly across the cornea.
- Avoid directing air blowing into your eyes. This include hairdryer, standing fan, and air conditioners.
- Let your eyes take a break from staring long on the computer screen. Stare at green plants for a few minutes every hour or so.
- Stop smoking and stay away from smoker. Cigarette smoke can make your eyes feel dry and itchy.
- Avoid staying too long in the dry environment e.g. winter or high altitudes places.
- Wear spectacle instead of contact lenses. Contact lenses are notorious for making your eyes feel dry and itchy.
- Position your computer screen below eye level. This will reduce eye fatigue and slow down tears evaporation.
- Applies eyedrops regularly to keep your eyes lubricated even if you feel your eyes are fine.