Getting the Red Out
We live in a modern world. How we function in our daily lives puts an enormous stress on the our body’s ability to produce tears. Our computers, Blackberrys, Androids and iPhones are great…they bring the world to us. But they also can lead to itchy, irritated and dry eyes. Most of my patients want the quick fix for dry eyes, such as the bottle of Visine that “gets the red out”, but this is a temporary solution that can actually exacerbate the problem of dry, irritated and itchy eyes. Throughout a session at a patient’s computer, I often suggest that he or she stare into space and blink several times. I’ve heard it before, “Stare into space? That’s going to fix my problem?” The answer is “no”, it’s not going to fix the problem, but it will help your eyes from getting into the dry eye cycle in the first place. Visine and other drops that offer temporary solutions to redness are okay, in limited use. If you’re heading to a dinner party and you don’t feel you look your best, certainly reach for a product that will offer you a temporary solution. But what I recommend to my patients as a more sound, long-term solution is to use lubricating drops throughout the day. There are many “wetting” or “lubricating” drops on the market that do not require a prescription and a pharmacist will certainly be able to point you in the right direction. If, after a week of blinking routinely throughout the day and using lubricating drops has not helped to alleviate the problem, an ophthalmologist can prescribe a prescription strength lubricating drop.