Dry eyes can feel like they ruin everything. Work. Studying. Sports. Dates. Watching movies. Being on vacation. If there’s something you enjoy, there’s a good chance dry eyes can make it miserable. Experts estimate that up to half of all US adults experience the symptoms of dry eyes.
At Aveo, we’re all about happy eyes — and our team of in-house scientists, engineers, and eye experts has spent a lot of time researching the unique needs of dry eyes! We’ll share everything we know about the causes, symptoms, and best treatments for dry eyes, so you can find relief — and focus on your favorite activities.
What causes dry eyes?
Your eyes need tears to keep them lubricated and nourished. When you blink, tears spread across your cornea (the front surface of your eye). There are two primary causes of dry eyes: a shortage of tears, or tears that don’t adequately hydrate your eyes.
A lack of tear production can happen for lots of reasons, which can be short- or long-term. These include:
- Weather (wind, dry climates, seasonal dry/cold)
- Allergies (seasonal, environmental)
- Medical conditions and/or medications
- Smoke (fires, cigarettes, even smog!)
- Hormonal changes
- Stage of life (more common in older adults)
- Not blinking for long periods (studying, looking at digital devices)
- Eye makeup (especially with sensitive eyes)
- Low quality contact lenses (or sensitivity to contacts)
- Improper use or care of contact lenses
Did you know dry eyes can be caused by tears that don’t provide enough hydration for your eyes? It’s true! This specific condition is called keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), AKA dry eye syndrome.
Symptoms of dry eyes
Many people who experience dry eyes feel some combination of the most extreme symptoms: itching, redness, burning, a scratchy or gritty feeling, watering, and blurred vision. These symptoms of dry eyes are super distracting, and usually result in having to quit what you’re doing to take care of your eyes.
Other people might only have that vague “something in my eye” feeling, making them blink more frequently or want to rub their eyes. They might have no problem continuing the task at hand.
Understanding the exact cause of your dry eyes can help you find the right methods of treatment.
Dry eye treatments
Some causes of dry eyes can be treated with over-the-counter treatments, ointments, or drops, while others require prescription medications or even surgery.
If you wear contacts, the first step is to make sure your lens habits aren’t causing your dry eyes! Here are our best tips for people who occasionally experience dry eyes while wearing contacts:
- Avoid wearing contacts longer than their intended use
- Don’t sleep with your contacts in
- Avoid swimming with contacts
- Be careful to touch your contacts only with clean hands
If you wear reusable lenses, you need to clean them properly every single night to remove buildup, bacteria, and other irritants. That’s why we love daily lenses! You get to start each day with a clean lens and throw it away after one use, so there’s no risk of leftover buildup.
If your dry eyes are the result of natural or environmental causes (think hormones, allergies, or the weather), your solution could be as simple as changing your diet or finding a safe over-the-counter treatment.
What to eat to relieve dry eyes
Increasing your intake of specific nutrients can yield great results for eye health, tear quality, and tear production. Try adding these:
- Omega-3 fatty acids — chia, pumpkin, and flax seeds; fatty fish (salmon, tuna, trout or halibut); walnuts; omega-3 enriched flour, pasta, oatmeal; omega-3 enriched eggs, milk, yogurt; Brussels sprouts, kale, parsley, spinach
- Potassium — bananas, sweet potatoes, potatoes, white beans, yogurt, soybeans
- Antioxidants — leafy greens (spinach, kale, collard greens), berries (acai berries, goji berries, blueberries)
- Vitamin C — citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruit, lemons), cooked spinach, tomatoes, bananas, apples
- Vitamin E — wheat cereal (wheat germ), almonds, sunflower seeds, peanut butter, hazelnuts, sweet potato
- Beta carotene and vitamin A — carrots, sweet potatoes, milk, yogurt, ricotta cheese, liver
- Zinc — oysters, beef, lobster, pork, yogurt, salmon, milk, fortified cereals, eggs
- Water — yup, those 8–10 glasses per day are critical for lubricating your eyes, and you should add more glasses if you’re dehydrated from playing sports, taking medications, drinking alcohol, or living in a dry climate
Other ways to soothe dry eyes
In plenty of cases, simply adjusting your diet won’t work, or it won’t give you enough relief to get through a long day. Try these easy and affordable treatments:
If you have dietary restrictions, you can increase the vitamins and nutrients we mentioned above through nutritional supplements.
Most artificial tears are safe to use if you wear contacts, because they’re exactly what the name indicates: liquids meant to replicate tears. Just be careful not to choose a product with a dual purpose, like reducing redness — and look for artificial tears that are preservative-free. Immediately rinse your eyes and discontinue use (and throw away your contacts!) if a product causes stinging.
If your dry eyes are caused by a medical condition or medication — or if your condition is particularly persistent — you may need prescription eye drops, ointments, or other treatments. In severe cases, you might even need surgery to help preserve your tears.
What about contacts for dry eyes?
In most cases, you absolutely can wear contacts if you have dry eyes. Daily lenses are the smart choice for dry eyes — reusable lenses are prone to bacterial buildup that triggers dryness, especially toward the end of their wear cycle.
When seeking out the best contacts for dry eyes, you’ll want to feel confident that they’ll give you long-lasting comfort. This means digging into how the lenses are made — look for high-quality contacts made from materials specially designed to bind to water and increase hydration.
All Aveo daily contacts are made with a premium hydrogel that’s naturally biocompatible — so they don’t need a bunch of artificial agents to make them wearable — and offers best-in-class breathability.
Our AquaLock technology is integrated into the lens material to keep your contacts 96% hydrated even after 12 hours of wear and repel bio-buildup that causes cloudiness and irritation. Natural biocompatibility also means Aveo contacts take up to 20x less water to produce, making them more sustainable.
Remember, millions of people are experiencing the same dried-out frustration as you. You don’t have to “just put up with it.” Get to the bottom of what’s causing your dry eyes, and then you can find the right way to keep them hydrated, healthy — and happy.