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Dry Eye at Work: How to Find Relief

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A man at a desk with a laptop rubbing his eyes because of dry eye symptoms he feels while working.

You are not alone if you struggle with dry eyes while at work. Many people experience dry eye symptoms, such as burning, redness, and blurred vision, due to work-related factors like digital eye strain and a dry office environment. 

While it may seem like a minor inconvenience, untreated dry eyes can lead to more severe issues and impact your productivity at work. You have options to get relief and maintain your productivity with self-care solutions and dry eye treatment.

Here are some of our work dry eye relief strategies:

  • Use eye drops
  • Blink regularly
  • Take breaks by following the 20-20-20 rule
  • Prioritize self-care during busy work hours to prevent digital eye strain
  • Don’t let the air stream from heating and cooling systems blow on your eyes
  • Stay hydrated
  • Avoid prolonged screen time
  • Adjust your screen settings for comfort
  • Avoid or change your contact lenses
  • Avoid smoke and dry environments
  • Use a dehumidifier if necessary
  • Eat foods with fatty acids or try omega-3 supplements
  • Make sure you get enough sleep
  • Try eyelid massages and warm compresses
  • Consult an eye doctor if your symptoms persist or worsen

What Causes Dry Eyes at Work?

As our world becomes increasingly digital, it’s no surprise that more and more people are experiencing dry eyes and digital eye strain. In addition to spending hours in front of a computer, several workplace factors can contribute to this discomfort, including air conditioning systems that circulate dry air and high screen glare. 

In general, dry eye occurs when your eyes don’t produce enough tears or when your tears evaporate too quickly. This lack of moisture can make it difficult to see comfortably and perform daily tasks, but there are steps you can take to alleviate that discomfort. 

Preventing Dry Eyes at Work

Preventing dry eyes and digital eye strain at work can be easier than you might think. Firstly, taking breaks to rest your eyes is essential. Try following the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look away from your screen and focus on an object 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. 

Adjusting your workstation setup can make a significant difference, too. Make sure that your computer screen is at arm’s length and positioned at or below eye level. You should also increase or decrease your screen’s brightness based on your environment. Choose a setting that feels comfortable to look at.  

Finally, consider using a humidifier to add moisture to the air, especially during the winter months or when you work in a dry environment. 

A woman applying eye drops to her eyes while sitting in her office.

Habits & Treatments for Dry Eye Relief

In addition to using eye drops recommended by an eye doctor, you can also make lifestyle adjustments and explore other treatment options that can help address the underlying cause of your dry eye symptoms. 

Lifestyle Habits

For some people, foods with fatty acids, like the omega-3 in salmon, can support your meibomian glands to help your eyes produce better-quality oils and maintain their tear film. Gently cleaning your eyelids with lid wipes and approved hygiene products can help reduce dry eye symptoms caused by blepharitis.

In-Office Dry Eye Treatments

When you visit us for an eye exam, we can help you determine whether in-office dry eye treatments like punctal plugs or iLux can help you get lasting relief. In many cases, these treatments can be effective, but it’s important to determine the cause of your symptoms and find the matching solution to confirm what can support your eyes and comfort.

The Benefits of Getting Dry Eye Relief at Work

Incorporating dry eye relief techniques into your work and lifestyle routines can help you focus at work. Getting dry eye relief can also help support your long-term eye health and prevent other dry eye complications. 

Fewer Symptoms of Digital Eye Strain

Staring at a screen for prolonged periods can cause eye strain and fatigue, which can worsen dry eye symptoms. Taking breaks throughout the day to rest and recharge your eyes can help prevent both dry eyes and other symptoms of digital eye strain.

Reduced Risk of Complications

Dry eye symptoms can be a nuisance, but untreated dry eye disease can also lead to other complications. Over time, it may become more and more difficult to wear contact lenses. Your eyes may be more vulnerable to infections without a healthy tear film, and in some cases, dry eye disease can increase your risk of corneal damage. 

Reduced Symptom Flare-Ups

Dry eye disease can be a constant source of irritation. Sometimes, the symptoms can come and go in reaction to temporary triggers, but it’s often a chronic condition. Taking steps to manage the underlying causes of dry eye symptoms can help you avoid future symptoms, too.  

Let’s Talk About Dry Eyes

If you are struggling with dry eyes at work, know that we can help. At Focus West Optometry, we’re committed to understanding your lifestyle and needs so we can provide the right solution for your symptoms. Book an appointment today, and let’s go over potential treatments for your dry eyes.

Written by Focus West Optometry

Welcome to Focus West Optometry! Since our founding in 1997, our team has been proud to serve the Calgary community and provide comprehensive eye care for the whole family. We offer a wide range of eye care services, including addressing dry eyes, an extensive optical boutique, and innovative technology to make your visit as efficient as possible.

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