Predicting Good and Bad Days with Dry Eye
The only thing predictable about life with dry eyes is that good and bad days are unpredictable. I might do everything “right” with my eye care routine to ensure a good day, and my eyes may still bother me all day long. Predicting good and bad days seems impossible.
Why is that? My guess is that it is because dry eye is such a multifaceted disease that has so many potential contributing factors: our own genetics, lifestyle, and environmental conditions, just to name a few. This mixture is constantly changing, making a recipe for success difficult to pin down.
Still, after living with chronic dry eye for a couple of years, I have been able to notice a few patterns of things that help make for better days for me, for the most part. Here they are:
What helps me
A good night's sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep and sleeping on my back helps my eyes the next day. Living with chronic dry eye has forced me to really start listening to my body. I pay attention to things that make me feel better or worse, like the things I eat or my quality of sleep. I’ve noticed that if I sleep all the way through the night without waking up, my eyes feel better the next day. If I’m up several times using the bathroom or feeling restless, my eyes suffer the next day.
I’ve noticed that monitoring my caffeine consumption is really important in helping me get a good night’s sleep. I no longer drink coffee every day, only a couple of times a week, and I’ve found that really helps me sleep better.
Also, my left eye has always been my eye that bothers me the most. I’ve found that if I sleep on my right side, my left eye bothers me more the next day. If I sleep on my left side or on my back, my left eye feels better the next day. I’ve also noticed that if I sleep on my back, I am less likely to have to get up and use the bathroom in the middle of the night. So that is now my preferred position for getting a good night’s sleep.
Taking a shower at night
Taking a shower at night before I go to sleep also helps my eyes. I’ve noticed that when I do this, my eyes seem less itchy and more comfortable. My guess is that I’m washing allergens off of my hair and body, and so I’m not sleeping with those allergens on me all night long. My eyes almost always seem better the next day when I do this.
Spending time outside
Spending time outside also helps contribute to a good day. Fresh outside air on my eyes usually makes my eyes feel as close to normal as possible. I’m not talking about windy weather, but instead humid air; that’s what feels the best. If I have outside activities planned during the day, my eyes almost always feel better at the end of the day than if not.
Dry eye can still be unpredictable
Even if I do all of these things, I may still have days in which my eyes are irritated, and that’s frustrating. Like I said, dry eye is hard to plan for, so I’ve just got to give myself grace and sometimes just call it a day and hope for better the next day.
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