The Institute for Vibrant Living natural health research dept. reports on the latest outbreak of Dry Eye Syndrome sweeping the US. Here is their report:
An estimated 10 million Americans suffer from DES (Dry Eye Syndrome) and it is the #1 reason why people visit the eye doctor.
People who have DES frequently have burning, itching or irritation that tends to worsen as the day goes by. Some patients describe it as a sensation of having something “gravelly” or “scratchy” in their eyes.
Other symptoms can include redness, scratchiness, excessive tears and blurred vision that can improve briefly when you blink, and then quickly return back to the blur.
Just how are healthy eyes supposed to work?
According to the National Eye Foundation, every time we blink, our eyelids spread tears over our eyes to lubricate, moisturize and wash away debris.
Tears are actually secreted by specialized glands located around the eye – and they are critical to good eye health. Tears contain water to moisturize the eye, oil to lubricate the eye, mucus for even spreading of tears and antibodies to help eyes resist infections.
When tear production becomes chronically imbalanced – the result is DES.
What causes DES?
Although there are many causes of dry eye syndrome, aging is probably the most common one. As we get older, our bodies can have an oil deficiency. Oil is a necessary component of our tears and without it the water in our eyes can evaporate too quickly.
Here are some other causes:
Hot, dry or windy climates can cause dry eyes, as well as air conditioning.
Cigarette, cigar and pipe smoke are also common irritants and triggers of DES.
In some cases, people who have dry eyes may have a structural problem in the eye or an eyelid disease or even a deficiency of the tear ducts.
Dry eyes can also be a warning symptom of a much more serious systemic disorder such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or thyroid disorder.
Recent studies have added to the list of possible DES causes. That list now includes: hormone replacement therapy, pregnancy, lactation, menstruation and menopause.
Who is at risk for DES?
People who wear contact lenses have an increased risk of developing dry eye syndrome.
People who take antihistamines, antidepressants, birth control pills and certain types of blood pressure medications are also at high risk.
Computer use or other close work where you need to concentrate can irritate dry eyes as well. When you concentrate you don’t blink as often and therefore your eyes aren’t being properly lubricated.
Studies have shown people blink about 22 times a minute while relaxing, 10 times while reading, but only 7 times a minute when working a computer.
Therefore, the workplace may be a big contributor to the increase of DES among the general population.
Is there a natural remedy for DES?
There are a number of alternative health remedies that can be used to naturally treat dry eyes. For example:
Add omega 3 fatty acids to the diet. Omega 3 acids increase the viscosity of oils made by the body, especially in the eyes.
Flaxseed oil and evening primrose oil may also be helpful.
Eat foods rich in vitamin A or supplement with vitamin A, as it can also help to keep the eyes moist.
Keep your indoor humidity between 30 and 40 percent. If the air in your house is dry, use a humidifier to add moisture.
Use air filtration to pull dust and other eye irritants out of indoor air.
When outside, wear sunglasses to reduce the eyes’ exposure to wind and dust.
Purchase “artificial tears” at your local health food store. These can be used frequently and are very effective in returning moisture to dry eyes.
Use a natural eye nourishment supplement, such as IVL Products Vision Clear A&B Formulas. These natural formulations help to keep the eyes micro-circulation healthy and supple. Visit IVLProducts.com to learn more.
Unless there is a serious underlying medical condition causing the symptoms, dry eyes usually respond well to natural remedies!