Dry eyes can be painful, itchy, and very uncomfortable. Seniors often develop dry eyes as a result of the medications that they need to take. But dry eyes can also be caused by allergies, dry indoor air, not getting enough sleep, or spending too much time watching screens. Seniors that have chronic dry eyes have some options for relief though.
Medicated eye drops can help, but seniors need to be careful of rebound redness. Rebound redness occurs when seniors use over the counter eye drops too often. If seniors want to use eye drops to relieve their dry eyes they should talk to an eye doctor about the best eye drops to use. They may need prescription eye drops. Seniors can also try these home remedies that can relieve dry eyes:
Applying a warm compress to your closed eyelids can help open up the oil glands in your eyelids, promoting the production of better-quality tears. Soak a clean cloth in warm water, wring it out, and place it over your closed eyes for 5-10 minutes. Do this a few times a day. Seniors that have senior home care can have a senior home care provider help them prepare and use compresses.
Spending extended periods staring at screens or other tasks that require intense focus can reduce the frequency of blinking, leading to dry eyes. Practice blinking exercises by consciously blinking every few seconds to spread a fresh layer of tears over the eyes.
Staying well-hydrated is crucial for maintaining moisture in your body, including your eyes. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to help keep your eyes lubricated.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids found in foods like salmon, flaxseeds, and walnuts can help reduce inflammation and improve tear production. Consider adding these foods to your diet or taking omega-3 supplements under the guidance of a healthcare professional.
Using a humidifier in your home, especially in dry indoor environments, can help increase the humidity in the air, which can reduce evaporation of tears from the eye’s surface.
Avoiding Eye Irritants
Minimize exposure to irritants like smoke, dust, wind, and allergens. Wear wraparound sunglasses or protective eyewear when outdoors to shield your eyes from the elements.
Clean your eyelids and eyelashes regularly to prevent blockage of the oil glands. Use a mild, preservative-free eyelid scrub or a solution of warm water and baby shampoo to gently clean the eyelid margins. Seniors who need help with personal hygiene should try personal care at home.
Flaxseed Oil Compress
Flaxseed oil contains essential fatty acids that can help improve the quality of your tears. Soak a clean cloth in warm flaxseed oil and apply it to your closed eyelids for a few minutes. Be sure the oil is at a comfortable temperature before use.
Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe vera gel has soothing properties and can be applied to the closed eyelids to alleviate dryness and discomfort. Just make sure that the aloe vera is straight from the plant and not aloe vera that could have other things added to it.
Reduce Screen Time and Take Breaks
If you spend a lot of time working on a computer or using digital devices, follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break to look at something 20 feet away. This reduces eye strain and encourages natural blinking.
Limit Contact Lens Wear
Extended contact lens wear can exacerbate dry eye symptoms. If you wear contact lenses, consider limiting their use or using lubricating eye drops recommended by your eye care professional.
Stay Away from Air Vents
Avoid sitting directly in front of air conditioning vents or fans, as the airflow can contribute to evaporation of tear film.
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