A doctor stands in between a large smiling mouth and an eyeball.

Daily Eye Care Should Be as Routine as Daily Dental Care

We go to the dentist twice a year for cleaning and checkups. Our dentists stress home care like brushing twice a day, flossing, using a waterpik, and using mouthwash–all for the preventative care of our teeth and gums. After living with chronic dry eye for two years, I have learned that daily eye care should be just as routine as daily dental care. But why isn’t it? Aren’t our eyes as important, if not more so, than our teeth? If they are, then why aren’t we taught daily eye care as we are growing up? I think we should be.

Daily preventative eye care

Here are some daily preventative measures that I think are important for both those with and without dry eyes. These are things I wish I had begun doing in my teenage years:

A clean face

Gently wash your face and take off all makeup, especially eye makeup, before going to bed. Use a cleanser or wipe that is non drying and non irritating to the eyes. Make sure you clean your eyelid area and lashes of dead skin and debris. My doctor explained to me that demodex mites feed on these things at night and can cause blepharitis and meibomian gland dysfunction.

Technology breaks

Remember to blink, and monitor your usage of technology. Take frequent breaks when on your phone or computer. We blink less frequently when we are using technology. My doctor explained to me that the oil in the meibomian glands can become thick and stagnant when we blink less because blinking releases that oil onto our eyes.

Lifestyle

Live a healthy lifestyle. Diet, exercise, and stress management all play a role in not only the health of our bodies but also the health of our eyes. I believe that my dry eyes are partly a result of autoimmune disease, and lifestyle is a potential contributor to developing autoimmune disease.

Indoor and outdoor environment

Monitor your environment. Turn off fans and heaters that can dry your eyes. Be aware of potential allergens like dust and pets that can make eyes itchy. I lived for years with an inside cat that made my eyes extremely itchy.

Warning signs for dry eye

Notice the warning signs, and take action sooner rather than later. My eyes were mildly dry for many years before my condition became chronic. I mentioned my dry eyes casually to my eye doctor at my routine visits, but I was never given any preventative measures to take. I wish I had known how serious the condition could become. I began using over-the-counter artificial tears with preservatives on my own. I wish I had known to use preservative free drops, and I wish I had known about how prescription drops like Xiidra and Cequa could help me before my dry eye became serious.

Consistent care

Now that I have chronic dry eye, my eye care routine is even more involved than these steps listed. I know just how important consistent care is to maintaining my eye health. Eye care for me is just like brushing my teeth–it’s just a natural part of my day.

Do you practice consistent care to maintain eye health? What preventative measures do you like to use? Let us know in the comments below!

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