Hi there! Just a quick question...
Hi there! Just a quick question...
Thank you for your response

Home> Health & Wellness


Eye-rrigate Your Peepers

By: Ivan Olegario, MD, MDevComEye-rrigate Your Peepers

The initial reaction of the eye to irritation is to cry, producing copious amounts of tears that will wash the surface of the eyes from this uncomfortable feeling. However, like every other body part, our tear glands eventually become enervated. And like every other body part that we overuse, they break down. That’s when dry eyes set in. Up to one in five adults can have dry eyes at one point in their life, and for many, it can persist for years.


There are many known causes of dry eyes. These include:

  • Medications such as isotretinoin, sleeping pills, antidepressants, antihypertensive medications, anti-allergy pills, cold medications, and oral contraceptive pills;
  • Aging and menopause;
  • Contact lens use, even with the use of soft contact lenses;
  • Eye injuries;
  • Vitamin A deficiency; and,
  • Eye surgery, including laser surgery, on occasion.

Not all people who have dry eyes have these causes as their culprit. There are also factors that lead to this condition: eye strain, inadequate sleep, dry air (from air conditioning), cigarette smoking, and computer use can also cause dry eyes. The latter can lead to computer vision syndrome (CVS), which is a cluster of eye problems caused by frequent computer use including severe near-sightedness or glaucoma. In short, all these cause overall degeneration of the eyes that push the tear glands to fatigue.

Unfortunately, clinical studies have not been able to determine any specific measures to prevent dry eyes from happening. But don't lose hope! There are many ways we can lessen the discomfort of dry eyes. Even those without the symptoms of dry eyes should take notes so they can take good care of their eyes.  

  • Avoid smoky environments and eye-irritating dust.
  • When reading, concentrating, using the computer, or staying in an air-conditioned room, close your eyes periodically to rest your eyes and replenish the tear film covering of your eyes.
  • Do not rub your eyes. We have been taught this since grade school.
  • Avoid exposing your eyes to wind drafts, especially from warm air from the hair dryer or heater. This will cause your tears to evaporate quickly, leaving your eyes dry.
  • When your eyes are exposed to drafts, wear goggles that can break the breeze.
  • If you are wearing contact lenses, remove them at night or every time you need your eyes to rest. Or consult an optometrist or ophthalmologist about ways to improve your vision without contact lenses. If your dry eyes are really bothersome, consider going back to spectacles.
  • Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize — but regular eye drops may not do much for those with moderate to severe dry eyes. Instead, use an eye lubricant or artificial tears which are available over the counter, but you may need to ask the pharmacist for assistance. Apply artificial tears at least three times daily.

Lastly, if you are experiencing bothersome eye pain, eye redness, eye discharge (muta), or blurring of vision, it is best to see a health professional such as an optometrist or ophthalmologist.

Know your eye drops

Not all eye drops are the same. The most common eye drops we know are the ones that remove eye redness and usually contain the drug tetrahydrozoline. These drops work by constricting the blood vessels in our eyes but will cause dryness.

For dry eyes, use artificial tears (sometimes called eye lubricants) instead. Look for any one of these ingredients to know if your eye drops are artificial tears:

  • Carboxymethyl cellulose
  • Polyvinyl alcohol
  • Hydroxypropyl methylcellulose or hypromellose
  • Hydroxypropyl cellulose
  • Hyaluronic acid or hyaluronan
  • Propylene Glycol 

If you have moderate to severe dry eyes, it is best to ask your optometrist or ophthalmologist which one has no preservatives or non-irritating preservatives.

Computer vision syndrome

The computer’s bright glare and our tendency to blink less while reading from a page or screen can lead to a 20th century condition called computer vision syndrome (CVS).  It is caused by several factors that we experience during computer use – the first is the constant strain of the eyes when trying to clearly see nearby objects, the second is the intrinsic damage caused by screen glare and the third, as previously mentioned, is reduced blinking. These three stresses push the different parts of the eyes:

  • From the cornea, which can dry up or become distorted in shape;
  • To the tear glands, which can become dysfunctional over time;
  • To the eye muscles that become tired and fatigued; and
  • To the eyeballs, which become exposed to strain.

For many of us, there is no escaping from the computer. However, there are ways to prevent or cope with CVS. Here are some eye-opening tips:

  • Keep your computer screen at least 2 feet away from your eyes.
  • Install a glare-reducing computer screen filter.
  • Use a moderate-intensity light source: not too bright that it glares, and not too dim that you have to strain your eyes to read.
  • Think 20/20: Every 20 minutes, rest your eyes by closing them for 20 seconds, and looking at something 20 feet away.
  • Make a conscious effort to blink frequently. Post a note on your screen that reminds you to “BLINK”.
  • Use over-the-counter artificial tears or eye lubricants. Apply a drop to each eye at least three times a day, more if needed. (Tip: Apply a drop every 2 hours or so.) If these don’t work after a few days of continued use, see a health professional such as an optometrist or ophthalmologist.
Suggested Readings
Hepatitis 101: A Focus on Hepatitis B
Hepatitis has gained fame throughout the years, probably due to...read more
Butter or Margarine
Butter and margarine are both fat foods. They are delicious...read more
Gym 101: Your Guide to Working Out
Almost everyone has a horror story to tell about their...read more
You Take My Breath Away!
The guidelines define chronic obstructive pulmonary disease as a state...read more
Copyright © 2020 Medicomm Pacific Inc.
All Rights Reserved.
Follow us:    Facebook    Twitter