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Smoking and Dry Eye

Smoking is harmful, because cigarettes contain many chemicals that can damage our bodies.1 

The eyes are no exception, and you might have noticed that cigarette smoke can make your eyes itch or burn. 1 

For sufferers of Dry Eye Disease, this reaction can be even worse. In fact, there are a number of scientific studies which have concluded that smoking could increase the risk of Dry Eyes. 2

 

What is Dry Eye?

 

Dry Eye Disease is a common eye condition that causes the ocular surface to become dry and irritated, either due to an increase in tear evaporation, or a decrease in tear production. It affects one in four people in the UK alone and can be caused by multiple factors.3 

There are many different symptoms of Dry Eye which can include itchy, sore, gritty, blurry, red or light sensitive eyes, to name a few. 4

 

Why Smoking Aggravates Dry Eye

 

When we blink, the glands in our eyelids coat the ocular surface with a layer of tears. This protects them from dust, debris and drying out.5 The many harmful chemicals in cigarette smoke can break down this layer, leading to insufficient tears, causing the eye’s surface to become dry and irritated.6 Smoking can even change the composition of your tears over time, which can lead to further Dry Eye symptoms. 7

 

In addition, the harmful metals found in cigarettes can not only cause damage to the ocular surface, but can also severely affect the blood vessels that supply it with much-needed nutrients.8

 

How can I help ease symptoms of Dry Eye? 

 

Ultimately, if you are experiencing symptoms of Dry Eye Disease due to smoking, the most effective solution would be to consider significantly reducing consumption or quitting. 

 

For advice about quitting smoking, and other smoking-related health concerns, please visit the NHS website. 

 

Smoking is just one potential factor that can cause or worsen symptoms of Dry Eye Disease and we recommend that you seek the advice of a medical professional to better understand your condition. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, there are a variety of treatment options, from ocular lubricants, a to daily lifestyle changes that you could begin to implement. 9

 

3 Step treatment plan 

 

A 3 step treatment plan can help to effectively manage your Dry Eye, and avoid painful flare-ups.

 

Step 1: Apply a heated compress, such as MeiboPatch®, to unblock your meibomian glands and relieve your eyes.

 

Step 2: Cleanse and wipe away the melted oil blocking your glands, as well as any built up debris with a cleanser like Naviblef ®, that is specially designed to reduce discomfort.

 

Step 3: Incorporate an effective eye drop into your daily routine, such as VisuXL® Gel. A single drop provides 12 hours of protection, meaning you only need to able application once when you wake up and just before you head off to sleep. 10 11

 

Remember, if you’re struggling with Dry Eye Disease, or worried about smoking-related conditions, please talk to your GP. 

 

For more advice on how to treat dry, itchy eyes, visit our treatment page.

 

Alcohol can also cause dry eyes, read more.

 

Find out which lifestyle choices can help dry eye sufferers 

 

References: 

 

  1. NHS UK, https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/lifestyle/what-are-the-health-risks-of-smoking/, Accessed Feb 2022.
  2. Li Xu, Wei Zhang, Xiao-Yu Zhu, Tao Suo, Xian-Qun Fan, and Yao Fu, ‘Smoking and the Risk of Dry Eye: a Meta-Analysis’, Int J Ophthalmol. 2016; 9(10): 1480–1486.
  3. Garty, David, ‘Why Are My Eyes so Scratchy and Dry?’, The Wimpole Eye Clinic, https://wimpoleeyeclinic.com/the-human-eyes-explained/why-are-my-eyes-so-scratchy-and-dry/#:~:text=It%20is%20usually%20caused%20by,on%20a%20long%2Dterm%20basis, Accessed Feb 2022
  4. NHS UK, https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/dry-eyes/, Accessed Feb 2022.
  5. Griffin, Morgan. ‘Smoking and Dry Eye’, https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/smoking-dry-eyes, Accessed Feb 2022.
  6. Jyothi Thomas, George P. Jacob, Lekha Abraham, and Babu Noushad, ‘The effect of smoking on the ocular surface and the precorneal tear film’, Australas Med J. 2012; 5(4): 221–226.
  7. Griffin, Morgan. ‘Smoking and Dry Eye’, https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/smoking-dry-eyes, Accessed Feb 2022.
  8. ‘The Shocking Effects Smoking Has On Eyes’, Optical Express, https://www.opticalexpress.co.uk/magazine/article/the-shocking-effects-smoking-has-on-eyes, Accessed Feb 2022.
  1. ‘Chronic Dry Eye’, Healthy Women’, https://www.healthywomen.org/condition/chronic-dry-eye/overview, Accessed Feb 2022. 
  2. VisuXL Instructions for Use (IFU).
  3. Brancato R, Fiore T, Papucci L, et al. Concomitant Effect of Topical Ubiquinone Q10 and Vitamin E to Prevent Keratocyte Apoptosis After Excimer Laser Photoablation in Rabbits. J Refract Surg 2002; 18: 135-9.

 

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6 Lifestyle Tips to Get Rid of Dry Eye

The COVID19 pandemic has sparked people all over the world to reconsider the importance of health and well-being in their day to day lives. It turns out that this source of inspiration around healthy eating and positive lifestyle choices can also be great for improving your eye health

Patients suffering from Dry Eye often look straight towards eye drops to alleviate their symptoms. Whilst artificial tears and other medication is an essential part of many people’s journey towards being able to manage their condition, there are also many lifestyle choices that you can make to ease symptoms of Dry Eye.

 Here are 6 lifestyle changes that are easy to implement and can help keep your eyes healthy and hydrated.

Food 

 It might seem obvious that eating healthily can help your body absorb vitamins, but it can be useful to know which foods to prioritise to ease a chronic condition. For eye health, make sure that your diet is full of: 

 – Fish which is rich in omega 3, 

-Leafy greens that are packed full of antioxidants

-Fruit and veg like oranges, sweet potatoes and carrots that contain vitamins A, C and E.1

Cutting down on screen time

We’ve all felt the urge to rub our eyes after staring at a screen for too long. Well, this is because when looking at screens, we blink less often, which dries out our eyes. 2

Reducing the amount you look at screens is obviously the first thing to try, but if you need to use screens for work or in your personal life, the 20,20,20 method is a great way to protect your eyes. Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds! 3

Vitamin supplements 

If you are suffering from chronic Dry Eye, or even mild Dry Eye, you should always consult your GP before changing your diet or starting any new treatment. But if you are struggling to obtain the nutrients you need to protect your eyes in your diet, then food supplements can sometimes be a good option. Coqun® OS capsules supplement the body’s natural levels of Coenzyme Q10, an antioxidant that protects against stress and inflammation in the eyes. The capsules not only strengthen eye health but can also boost full body health for people over 50 whose natural levels have dropped. 4

Drinking more water

Eyes become dry when they are dehydrated, like the rest of the body. So, drinking enough water can help to keep them hydrated and help to get rid of Dry Eye symptoms. Experts recommend drinking between 8 and 10 glasses of water a day if you suffer from Dry Eye Syndrome. 5

 Getting enough sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep is good for your health full stop. In fact, many health conditions can be exacerbated by not getting enough rest. Symptoms of Dry Eye can even be worse at night due to the eyes having been open all day and receiving less nutrients at night. 6 Cleansing your eyes at night with a cleanser like Naviblef®, or using a warming device like Meibopatch® are both great ways to make sure your symptoms don’t flare up at night.

 Humidifier 

 Whether it’s in your bedroom, home office or living room, a humidifier adds moisture to the air, protecting your tear film and making sure the eyes don’t become as dry.

 

 Overall, it’s best to have a treatment plan which encompasses medication like VisuXL® eye drops, as well as healthy lifestyle choices, to maximize the chance of reducing Dry Eye symptoms and maintaining a great quality of life. 

In most cases, the best way to treat dry eyes, Also known as dry eye syndrome, is to use eye gel or eye drops.

VisuXL Gel® is a preservative-free smart gel lubricant for dry eye syndrome. It provides comfort in a bottle with it’s long-lasting lubrication properties giving 12-hour dosing with just one drop and is suitable for both day and night use.

VisuXL® is a preservative-free eye drop lubricant for dry eye syndrome. Due to its unique ingredients, VisuXL® will help you recover from eye surgery, an injury or persistent damaging dry eye.

VisuEvo® is a preservative-free eye drop that prevents excessive evaporation of the tear film. Its unique formula contains omega-3 essential fatty acids, Vitamins A and D and ultra-filtered phospholipids that facilitate tear film presentation and control evaporation.

All three products are contact lens-friendly and can be used for 180 days after opening.

 For more top tips about daily routines to follow if you suffer from Dry Eye, why not follow us on Facebook and Instagram

References:

  1. Vimont, Ceila. ‘36 Fabulous Foods to Boost Eye Health’, American Academy of Ophthalmology, Jan 2020, Accessed September 2021: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/fabulous-foods-your-eyes
  2. Wheeler, Regina Boyle. ‘Dry Eye and Screen Use’, WebMD, 21/06/21, Accessed Oct 2021: https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/dry-eye-screen-use
  3. Marcin, Ashley , ‘How Does the 20-20-20 Rule Prevent Eye Strain?’ Healthline https://www.healthline.com/health/eye-health/20-20-20-rule#:~:text=The%2020%2D20%2D20%20rule%20can%20help%20your%20eyes%20refocus,your%20eyes%20for%2015%20minutes
  4. Coqun OS Instructions for Use (IFU) 
  5. Complete Eye Care, ‘How Does Hydration Affect My Eyes’, Accessed Sep 2021: https://www.completeeyecare.net/featured-articles/how-does-hydration-affect-my-eyes/
  6. Lazarus, Russell. ‘Burning Eyes at Night’ Optometrists Network, 6th February 2021. https://www.optometrists.org/general-practice-optometry/guide-to-eye-conditions/dry-eye/guide-to-eye-drops/burning-eyes-at-night/ Last accessed August 2021.

 

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