A Natural Approach To Health
Living With Dry Eyes
I had a question the other day about dry eyes.
Your eyes depend on the flow of tears to provide constant moisture and lubrication to maintain vision and comfort.
Tears are a combination of water for moisture, oils for lubrication, mucus for even spreading, and antibodies and special proteins for resistance to infection.
These things are secreted by special glands located around your eyes.
When there’s an imbalance in this tear system, you may experience dry eyes.
When tears don’t adequately lubricate your eyes, you may experience:
>A gritty sensation.
>A feeling of a foreign body or sand in your eye.
Sometimes, if you have dry eyes you’ll have tears running down your cheeks, which may seem confusing.
This happens when your eyes aren’t getting enough lubrication.
Your eyes send a distress signal through your nervous system for more lubrication.
In response, your eyes are flooded with tears to try to make up for the underlying dryness.
But, these tears are mostly water and don’t have the lubricating qualities of normal tears.
They’ll wash debris away, but they won’t coat your eye surface properly.
In addition to an imbalance in the tear-flow system of your eyes, dry eyes can be caused by situations that dry out your tear film.
This can be due to dry air from air conditioning, heat, or other environmental conditions.
Other conditions causing dry eyes are:
>The natural aging process, especially menopause.
>Side effects of certain drugs, like antihistamines and birth control pills.
>Diseases affecting your ability to make tears, like Sjogren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, and collagen vascular diseases.
>Structural problems with your eyelids that don’t allow them to close properly.
Though dry eyes can’t be cured, there are a number of steps you can take to treat them.
To deal with dry eyes it’s beneficial to:
*Drink at least 10 glasses (80 ounces) of purified water daily.
*See your health care provider to make sure your dry eyes aren’t a symptom of a more serious condition. Also, constant irritation to your eyes as a result of dryness can result in injury and damage.
*If your tear ducts are swollen, add more calcium to your diet and avoid processed foods.
*Artificial tears are safe and effective for keeping your eyes moist. Choose a product that’s preservative-free.
*Use a humidifier to add moisture to the dry air.
*Wear wraparound glasses on windy days.
*Avoid cigarette smoke and other types of smoke.
*Avoid products that claim they can “get the red out.” Some over-the-counter drops used to relieve red and sore eyes contain vasoconstrictors that can further dry your eyes, especially if used for an extended period of time.
*Limit your use of hair dryers. Allow your hair to dry naturally. Shield your eyes from direct heat blasts from hair dryers and other heat sources.
*Increase your intake of ultra-refined fish oil.
*Consider herbs like Eyebright and Bilberry.
*Try warm compresses (can be made from tea bag).
*Have a diet rich in bioflavonoids (berries, colorful veggies, etc.).
*Eliminate toxic cosmetics, eye care, and personal care products.
*Eliminate toxic household and laundry cleaners.
*Eliminate poor air quality, which could be irritating.
*Eliminate chlorinated shower/bath water, which could be irritating.
*Eliminate “hidden” allergies or sensitivities, which may aggravate your eyes.
*Avoid free radical damage; check heavy metal toxicity.
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