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Don’t Cry Over Dry Eye

Dry eye affects millions of Americans and still, people don’t fully understand what dry eye really is, how you get it, and how you can treat its symptoms.

This disease can cause several different symptoms and can vary from person to person. These can be anywhere from burning, red, gritty eyes to excessive watering eyes and even blurry vision. Those who are 50 years or older, female, or if you are not getting enough vitamin A are at a higher risk of developing dry eye. Dry eye can be caused from not making enough tears or not making tears correctly. Every year when you see your optometrist, they check for dry eye as part of your comprehensive eye exam. They are looking for how long it takes your tears to dry up, the structure of your eyelids and the glands within your eyelids. If you have any of the signs or symptoms of dry eye, then there are treatments your optometrist can recommend. These treatments can include artificial tears, warm compresses, lid scrubs, prescription eye drops, and even some lifestyle changes.

Something that is shocking to some is that spending a large amount of time on a computer, phone, or tablet can cause dry eye. When you are focused on something for an extended period of time, you are not blinking as frequently as you normally do. Even up to 60% less than the normal healthy amount! Even though it might sound funny, it is important to remember to blink as this is how tears and the nutrients in tears are spread over the eye’s surface. Artificial tears can also be beneficial to put in before starting a task on a computer or screen to help keep the eye lubricated and prevent any discomfort. If your task is longer than 20 minutes, then the 20-20-20 rule will also help you. This means for every 20 minutes you are looking up close, you should look at something 20 ft away for at least 20 seconds to give your eyes a break. During this break, it is a great time to do some blink exercises. Blink exercises are easy to do, just close your eyes, squeeze them a little bit, then open and relax.

With this knowledge, you now have a good idea about what could be going on with your own eyes and how to keep them healthy. If you think you might be experiencing dry eye, make an appointment to see us at Family EyeCare Center. We’ll help you get your eyes to the highest level of comfort possible.

Meghan Guinotte, OD

Abusharha, Ali A. “Changes in Blink Rate and Ocular Symptoms during Different Reading Tasks.” Clinical Optometry, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 20 Nov. 2017,

“Dry Eye.” National Eye Institute, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,

Mark B. Abelson, MD. “It’s Time to Think about the Blink.” Review of Ophthalmology, 13 June 2011,