6 tips to manage dry eyes in the workplace

Dry Eye is not uncommon in workplaces around New Zealand and can be uncomfortable enough to ruin any productive workday.

Common symptoms of Dry Eye include eyes watering, appearing red, or feeling gritty, irritated, or like they are burning.

Workplaces are particularly prone to cases of Dry Eye, as they often check all the boxes that contribute to the issue. For example, the overuse of computers or laptop screens, dry air from air conditioning, or excessive airflow if you’re seated under an air conditioning unit.

Aside from environmental factors, Dry Eye is usually more common in women, those with diabetes, older generations, anyone who wears contact lenses, and those taking various medications (check the pack for side effects).

So, if you’re dealing with the annoying symptoms of Dry Eye at work, what can you do about it? Try these tips.

1. Blink more

The simplest and easiest action you can take to help relieve symptoms of Dry Eye is to blink more often, which helps to lubricate the eyes.

It can be hard to remind yourself to do this when you’re focused on a task, so consider blinking a few times every time you send or receive an email. Or, choose another frequent event to serve as your personal reminder to blink more.

2. Drink more water

A glass of water is refreshing and hydrating for your body, including your eyes.

Keep a reusable bottle of water on your desk as a physical reminder to sip throughout the day.

3. Take breaks from the screen

Take any opportunity to look away from your screen. Head outside during your lunch break, take ‘walking meetings’ with colleagues, or use a pen and paper for brainstorming sessions instead of your laptop.

4. Request a humidifier

A humidifier can help to keep the air from being too dry, which can also create a more comfortable atmosphere in general.

If the boss isn’t willing to invest in a large humidifying unit, you can purchase a small desktop version – an air vaporiser. These stylish gadgets can be paired with pleasant-smelling oils to infuse the air with refreshing smells. Just check with your deskmates first if you’re going to add fragrances to their work stations!

5. Eat more fish

Are you getting many Omega-3 fatty acids in your diet? Omega-3s may be beneficial to those with Dry Eye. These fatty acids occur naturally in fish and other seafood such as oysters. You can also chat to your GP about whether adding supplements to your diet may be beneficial to you.

6. Have eye drops on hand

Some days, no matter how much water you drink, how many times you blink, and how many breaks you take from your screen, you might still suffer the itchiness and irritability of dry eyes.

In this case, eye drops might help. Experts suggest that preservative-free eye care may be a better choice for patients, particularly if they use eye drops frequently.

Preservative-free eye drops such as HYLO-Fresh, HYLO-Forte, and NovaTears are available to reduce the symptoms of Dry Eye.

Disclamer: This content is for informational purposes only and should not substitute advice from your healthcare professional. If symptoms persist or you require specialist advice, please consult your healthcare professional.

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