Adult walking up pathway on a hike while breaking free of chronic dry eyeball and chain

Spending Time Outdoors With Dry Eye

I am a huge fan of the outdoors. Throughout all the turbulent times in my life, nature has always been my “safe place.” It’s the one place I feel truly at peace within myself, where I don’t feel judged or misunderstood.

Nature is a place of immense healing for me.

Learning to appreciate time outside

I wasn’t always a fan of being outdoors and hiking. However, dealing with chronic health conditions changed that pretty quickly. I began to appreciate nature in ways I never have before.

Not only do I just feel at peace and grounded when I am outdoors, but I have also found it helps me immensely when it comes to managing symptoms and keeping my stress levels under control.

Dealing with dry eye symptoms

Unfortunately, the one symptom that typically gets worse instead of better when I am outdoors is usually my chronic dry eye symptoms. This is especially true during the winter season, when it is windier and drier outside.

I find my eyes dry out very quickly when I go for a hike during these times. It’s extremely frustrating as my vision becomes very blurry and I feel that stinging and burning sensation in my eyes, like something is poking at it. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t put a bit of a damper on my hikes and time outside.

Making sure I'm prepared is essential

However, I don’t let it deter me from doing it altogether. I make sure I’m extra prepared. This means having extra eye drops, daily lenses, and even my tools for scleral lenses in my backpack. I have an entire handbag designated for all of this, in fact. (Better safe than sorry!)

It’s never fun to experience the symptoms that come with chronic dry eye, especially when we are trying to do something fun and enjoyable for ourselves. I absolutely hate having blurry vision at any time, but especially out in nature when I want to really see the beauty of everything around me.

Over the years though, I’ve slowly started to learn how to at least cope with this and not let it stop me from doing what I love.

I refuse to let health conditions control me

Oftentimes, we let chronic health conditions dictate our lives and what we can and can’t do. Of course, at times this is unavoidable and there are truly things we can’t do while experiencing symptoms.

But one of my goals, especially throughout the last year, has been to continue living despite the chronic illnesses. I spent far too much time bedridden, isolated, and hiding from the world. I was only existing, just living in survival mode, and not truly living. Thankfully, this has slowly been shifting.

These days, I go outside and enjoy my hikes as much as I can, regardless of if I’m having a flare-up with my skin, eyes, or experiencing other symptoms. I’ve also made it a point to go out in public more and do more of the things I love that bring joy to my heart and recharge my soul. I refuse to let my symptoms stop me from living my life, even though it’s extremely difficult more often than not.

I have spent far too long merely existing. Now, I’m ready to live.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The ChronicDryEye.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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