09 Jul 5 Ways to Prevent Red Eyes
These days everyone is busy.
We’re juggling work and family, attempting to have a social life, trying to stay fit and healthy, and herding cats just to keep things interesting. It’s no wonder so many of us are burning the candle at both ends.
For many, it’s not uncommon to wake up from a sleepless night with bloodshot eyes hinged by dark circles.
In fact, every day our Dry Eye Center fields calls from patients with the same complaint: “My eyes are red at the end of the day (or first thing in the morning).” In our previous blog, Dr. Day listed several of the potential causes of red eyes, including conjunctivitis, iritis, chronic dry eye, and allergies.
But what if your red eyes are simply from a lack of sleep?
Your eyes don’t itch or burn; they don’t water and you can see just fine. You’re not in pain. Yet your eyes look like they belong to an extra in a post-apocalyptic drama.
We’ve all been there…
Your toddler wakes you up at 3am to express his very real concerns about the monsters who inhabit the space under his bed and he just can’t go back to sleep, which means that neither can you… Or Happy Hour with the girls turns into an unintended all nighter.
So what do you do when you have to at least appear to be awake for your 6am client meeting?
Chances are you will reach for the closest bottle of liquid that resembles an eye drop.
While artificial tears offer some relief from dry eye and other causes of redness, the effects are not instant. In other words, it will be awhile before your redness dissipates enough that you can pass for human.
Prevention is key
Here are 5 ways you can minimize the unpleasant effects of an unavoidable late night:
- Drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated can help mitigate the effects of environmental and systemic causes of red eyes including dry eyes and tear film deficiencies.
- Avoid sleeping with ceiling fans or other direct sources of air billowing directly onto your eyelids. Many people sleep with their eyes at least partially open, and this contributes to dry, red eyes for many people.
- Use a humidifier. Whether it’s the dead of winter or the dog days of summer, you are likely subjected to forced air at work and at home. A humidifier forces moist air into your environment, which can also decrease symptoms of allergies and dry skin.
- Keep artificial tears handy. We recommend Soothe, Refresh Optive, and Similasan to many of our patients.
- And for the times when you don’t heed our advice, you’re still not out of luck. Bausch & Lomb recently released a drop called Lumify. This drop has been FDA approved to decrease redness in as few as 60 seconds and the effects last up to 8 hours!
So while we don’t recommend staying out all night, or giving in to your toddler’s every whim, we understand that life happens. While prevention is best, simple lifestyle changes and new products on the market can help in a pinch.
Oh, and when you get a minute- schedule an appointment with your eye doctor.
*It is never recommended to self-diagnose; always consult your Optometrist before treating an eye condition.