About 5 years ago, I noticed I was no longer able to wear mascara without looking like a raccoon and couldn’t tolerate wearing contacts. I would blink them out about halfway through the day. I switched to my glasses and moved on…
𝘐 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘢 𝘣𝘶𝘴𝘺 𝘯𝘦𝘸 𝘥𝘰𝘤𝘵𝘰𝘳 𝘮𝘰𝘮 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘥𝘪𝘥𝘯’𝘵 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 (𝘮𝘢𝘬𝘦) 𝘵𝘪𝘮𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘨𝘦𝘵 𝘤𝘩𝘦𝘤𝘬𝘦𝘥 𝘰𝘶𝘵.
In hindsight, this was one of the ways my Sjogren’s presented. Key symptoms of Sjogren’s are dry eyes and mouth. That said, dry eye is super common so not all dry eye is Sjogren’s. Phew!
𝗪𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐝𝐨𝐞𝐬 𝐝𝐫𝐲 𝐞𝐲𝐞 𝐟𝐞𝐞𝐥 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐥𝐨𝐨𝐤 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞?
-Stinging, burning or scratchy sensation typically in both eyes.
-Increased mucous around the eyes (a.k.a. eye boogers)
-Difficulty tolerating contact lenses
-Trouble with nighttime driving
-Blurred vision or tired eyes
𝗪𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐜𝐚𝐮𝐬𝐞𝐬 𝐢𝐭?
-Decreased tear production caused by aging, conditions like Sjogrens, medications, laser eye surgery or tear gland damage
-Increased tear evaporation caused by dry or windy conditions, smoke exposure, blinking less often (like when we watch/read on screens), eyelids not closing all the way
-Imbalance in tear composition- due to clogged meibomian glands (sweat glands for your eyes).
𝘐𝘵 𝘪𝘴 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘶𝘯𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘮𝘰𝘯 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘥𝘳𝘺 𝘦𝘺𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘱𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘺 𝘴𝘪𝘮𝘪𝘭𝘢𝘳𝘭𝘺 𝘵𝘰 𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘦𝘳𝘨𝘪𝘤 𝘦𝘺𝘦 𝘴𝘺𝘮𝘱𝘵𝘰𝘮𝘴. 𝘈𝘭𝘭𝘦𝘳𝘨𝘺 𝘮𝘦𝘥𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴 𝘤𝘢𝘯 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘴𝘦𝘯 𝘥𝘳𝘺 𝘦𝘺𝘦. 𝘚𝘦𝘦 𝘢 𝘣𝘰𝘢𝘳𝘥 𝘤𝘦𝘳𝘵𝘪𝘧𝘪𝘦𝘥 𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘦𝘳𝘨𝘪𝘴𝘵 𝘵𝘰 𝘩𝘦𝘭𝘱 𝘴𝘰𝘳𝘵 𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘢𝘶𝘴𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘸𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘺 𝘪𝘳𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘦𝘺𝘦𝘴.
𝗪𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐨 𝐝𝐨 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐢𝐭?
-Take breaks from looking at the screen all day.
-Use artificial tears. In particular, look for formulations that are preservative-free.
-Stop smoking and avoid smoke exposure.
-Minimize air blowing in your eyes from hair dryers, wind, or fans.
-Add moisture to the air with a humidifier or consider wraparound glasses.
-Increase your omega-3 fatty acid intake by eating fatty fish (salmon is our favorite), walnuts, and/or taking a supplement. Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega 2x is my go to.
-Lid scrubs with a gentle cleanser AM and PM can help unclog the meibomian glands.
-Avoid irritants in the eye area including make up and chemical sunscreens.
-Wash your hands with soap and water often. We touch our eyes all the time without thinking and this transfers irritants and potential allergens to the eye area. Plus, the antibacterial hand sanitizer stings!
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