I Just Found Out I Have Dry Eyes—Here Are 5 Things That Have Helped Me
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I just found out I have dry eyes. I know you're probably thinking, "How did you not know that you had dry eyes? Couldn't you feel the discomfort?" But here's the thing: I've worn contact lenses almost every day for the last 17 years and have had seasonal allergies my entire life. I suppose I just thought the dryness, itchiness and redness was normal (spoiler: it's not).
I recently had a routine checkup with my optometrist, and when he looked at my eyes he seemed concerned about the dryness. He asked me if I worked in front of a computer all day (yes), if my eyes were usually a little red when I woke up (yes), if I drank enough water (probably not) and if I slept with a fan on at night (another yes). He told me I had "super dry" eyes, and sent me off with a printout titled, "Dry Eye Management Patient Instructions."
The suggestions on the printout included various therapies, from artificial tears to more intense in-office procedures (thankfully I'm not to the latter part yet). After about a week of trying some of my doctor's suggested over-the-counter treatments, I'm already feeling so much better—and the redness and irritation in my eyes is nearly gone. If you work in front of a computer all day and/or suffer from dry eyes, check out these five things that have helped me (as always, talk to your doctor before trying anything new).
5 Products That Have Helped My Dry Eyes
My doctor recommended this specific brand, and I can see why—they're literally a game-changer for my dry eyes. I use them in the morning and evening (before I put in and after I remove my contact lenses), and they feel instantly relieving.
An Omega-3 Supplement
I usually try to get my vitamins and minerals from whole foods over supplements, but most people (including me) don't eat enough omega-3s. My doctor recommended this omega-3 supplement because it contains both the EPA + DHA types of omega-3 fatty acid, which research says may help dry eyes and overall eye health. I like this brand because it's third-party verified, has a pleasant lemon flavor (read: no fishy taste) and I can pick it up at my local supermarket or drugstore.
A Warming Eye Mask
I may only be 30 years old, but I felt about 100 when I put this bad boy on for the first time. I won't lie to you—it's not a cute look, but it feels so good. You simply microwave it for 20 seconds and wear it for 10-15 minutes to lock in moisture. I try to use this mask every day after work (it feels really nice after a long day of staring at a computer screen). Bonus: It's reusable, hand-washable and anti-bacterial.
I was a little skeptical about these wipes my doctor recommended, because I don't feel like I have excessively oily or "dirty" eyelids—but they really do make all the difference. After doing some research, I found out that beauty products (think: oils, serums, moisturizers and makeup) can actually build up on your lids and harm your eye health over time. I thought I was doing a pretty good job of washing off my makeup and skin care products, but these eyelid wipes help remove any lingering oil, debris and dead skin cells. A little gross, but definitely necessary.
I've written about my humidifier before (it came in handy when I had COVID). Turns out, sleeping with a humidifier and turning off your fan can also help with dry eye symptoms. I love this Canopy humidifier because it runs until the water is completely gone from the tank (up to 36 hours) and it's safe to put in the dishwasher, so it stays clean and prevents mold growth. Plus, it's aesthetically pleasing and can hydrate a room up to 500 square feet.
Jaime Milan is EatingWell's senior digital editor for all things newsy and trending. She's always on the hunt for the latest and greatest things to share with EatingWell's readers. In her spare time, you can find her experimenting in the kitchen, tackling home projects with her husband or taking pics of her very photogenic American Eskimo Dog, Grits. Follow her on Instagram at @jaimemmilan.
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