Closeup, cropped portrait, young woman, girl applying eyedroppers, isolated white background. Face expression. Eye health care concept

Approximately 20.7 million Americans suffer from Keratoconjunctivitis sicca, otherwise known as Dry Eye Syndrome (DES). Since I have personally been dealing with this condition for the past 11 years, my blog provides suggestions for alleviating discomfort and updates readers on the latest ophthalmological developments.

In this introductory post to a new series on dry eye, I decided what better way to start than by giving you my thoughts on the topic, alphabetically — There is that much that you can do in order to make your environment better for your eyes. We posted the first ten, visit for the entire list.

Keep that humidifier going. In my house, we have a cold air humidifier, which is the safest option when there are kids around. Windy and smoky conditions outdoors can exacerbate dry eye symptoms, so look into protective sunglasses that shield you from outdoor irritants.

(Polyphenol) Antioxidants
Dry eye can also be caused by free radical damage (oxidative stress) in the body caused by aging; poor diet; lack of exercise; and unhealthy lifestyle factors such as smoking, excess alcohol, medications (i.e. allergy medicines, anti-depressants) and chronic stress. Healthful foods rich in polyphenol antioxidants may help slow down the process of oxidation and help to “turn back the clock.”

Babies And Breastfeeding
Hormones do strange things — You may find that your eyes are less dry during pregnancy and drier during breastfeeding, or vice versa. You may have to use more drops during these times (I did during my pregnancies) and you will probably have to change your diet. Foods like salmon that are high in omega 3 fatty acids can really help with dry eye during these periods, but I’ll get to that shortly.

The computer is hard on your eyes. Limit computer usage if possible or make sure to take frequent breaks. Position your laptop below eye level so that you are blinking and closing your eyes more, advises Dr. William Trattler of the Center for Excellence in Eyecare in Miami, FL. Montefiore Medical Center in NY’s Roy Chuck, M.D. makes the same recommendation to his patients.

I’m not suggesting you plunge into depression, but your own tears are the best and most natural lubricant. A touching movie or book might not be such a bad idea when you require some all-natural relief that no drop seems to provide.

Drops, Drops, Drops
Every hour to a half an hour I apply drops and in between I use something with less viscosity, specifically preservative free vials. Saline may also be an option.

Yoga and tai chi are great anti-aging exercises and will keep oxidative stress at bay, plus exercise will help you forget about your eyes while keeping you busy.

Eye Ointment
There are several brands of mineral-oil based ointments for dry eyes recommended for nighttime usage. I actually use mine during the day. These ointments really alleviate the dry eye symptoms, but you don’t want to have eye makeup on while it’s in your eye. Most irritating to dry eye is when eye makeup gets into it!

Vitamin E
When taking fish oil supplements for dry eye, it’s recommended that you also take Vitamin E. Long term usage of fish oil may deplete you of the vitamin so it’s best to be on the safe side and consult your physician before beginning any regimen. (See the important disclaimer at the bottom of this post!)

Evening Primrose Oil
This helped bring me into labor with my first child, but I’ve also heard that some folks use it as a natural remedy for dry eye and swear by it. I don’t take it yet, but I am curious to find out more and I am in the process of researching EPO.

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