Our eyes are sensitive organs and can often become sore and irritated for any number of reasons. This is commonly known as blepharitis, which is a common condition that causes inflammation of the eyelids, including the skin, lashes and meibomian glands. This typically peaks in your 50s but almost half of all of those with blepharitis suffer from dry-eye syndrome as well. If your eyes feel worse in the morning after a full night of sleep, it is likely blepharitis you are suffering from. However, if your eyes feel worse as the day goes on, you are probably suffering from dry eyes instead. Either way eye irritation can be very uncomfortable, so the doctors at New Jersey Eye Center are sharing some tips on how to prevent eye irritation.
Common Causes of Irritated Eyes
- Staring at a computer screen or other digital device for long periods of time
- New medications
- Strong wind, smoke, or air conditioning
- Long term health conditions like diabetes or thyroid problems
How to Prevent Irritated Eyes
- Lubricating eye drops: Eyes often become irritated because they are dry. Tears either don’t do their job properly or they evaporate too quickly. Eye drops may be able to provide some relief. Before using any eye drops, speak to your eye doctor first. They will be able to recommend the best over-the-counter drops or prescribe something stronger if necessary.
- Limit screen time and use the 20-20-20 rule: We tend to blink less when staring at screens which gives our tears longer to evaporate causing eyes to become dry and irritated. Try limiting your screen time or giving your eyes a rest every 20 minutes by looking about 20 feet away for 20 seconds at a time.
- Adjust seat, screen settings, and posture: Making minor adjustments to your seat or posture and dimming your screen can help provide some relief as well if you need to be on a computer for long periods of time. Staring at a screen can highlight existing problems so it is important to have your eyes examined regularly.
- Avoid or remove mascara and eyeliner: Mascara and eyeliner can clog the glands on your eyelids causing serious irritation. But if you’re not ready to give up your eye makeup, make sure you wash your eyes thoroughly at night to remove all mascara and eyeliner and remove any additional build up.
- Apply a warm compress: A warm compress can help provide relief for many eye symptoms. Apply to your closed eyelids for 5-10 minutes to melt oils that have built up, and then rub closed eyelids up and down and side to side with fingers to loosen crusts. Finally, use a cloth with a drop of diluted cleansing solution (like baby shampoo) to wipe away any additional gunge.
While these tips may help provide some relief, visiting your eye doctor to address sore, red, irritated eyes is always a good idea. They can help determine if there is something else that is going on with your eyes that needs to be addressed or if you need additional help providing relief such as prescription eye drops.
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