• Trouble Reading with Dry Eye


    Question:

    I have dry eyes. I take omega 3, do warm compress for 5 minutes a day, and use Systane eye drops twice a day. However my right eye gets red and very sore if I read for too long. Is there anything that I can do?


    Answer:

    Dry eye patients are especially vulnerable during periods of prolonged reading as our blinking frequency is greatly reduced. An average person blinks every 4 to 5 seconds, however during tasks requiring visual concentration such as reading, driving, watching TV, or using the computer, our blinking frequency can drop to 1-2 times a minute. This is a problem because one of the main functions of blinking is to spread the tear film over the surface of the eye and keep the eye lubricated. Also, many patients with dry eyes have tears that evaporate faster than normal because they may lack essential oil or mucin components in their tears. In these patients, the tears may not last long enough between blinks and they will experience typical dry eye symptoms sooner than other people.

    There are many treatments that you should discuss with your ophthalmologist that may help in this situation, however, general recommendations are to take frequent breaks during activities of sustained concentration and place artificial tears in your eyes before you start an activity and again during regular intervals. In addition, Restasis and omega 3 fatty acids also may help stabilize the tear film so that the tears do not evaporate as quickly.


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