Dry eye can be a major source of frustration. The constant irritation and grittiness can lead to headaches and redness, and you might find yourself searching for relief.
If you’ve searched the internet looking for ways to relieve your symptoms you might have come across the use of a humidifier, but can it really help?
The short answer is: it depends.
By increasing the humidity in the air, a humidifier can help to reduce the evaporation of tears and keep the eye moist. However, it’s important to keep in mind that a humidifier may not work for everyone or solve underlying causes of dry eye.
Some people may find that a humidifier makes their dry eye symptoms worse, particularly if they are allergic to mould or have sensitive skin.
Thankfully, there are many dry eye treatments available at See & Be Seen Eyecare, we can help you decide which will work best for you.
What Is Dry Eye?
First, let’s define dry eye. Dry eye occurs when the eye doesn’t produce enough tears, or when the tears evaporate too quickly. Tears are necessary to keep the front surface of your eye moist and comfortable, and to help wash away dirt and other foreign particles.
Without enough tears, your eyes can feel dry and uncomfortable, and you may experience symptoms such as:
- Blurred vision
- Sensitivity to light
There are many potential causes of dry eye syndrome, including:
- Certain medications (such as antihistamines and decongestants)
- Medical conditions (such as Sjogren’s syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis)
- Environmental factors (such as dry or dusty air)
- Hormonal changes (such as during menopause)
- Using a computer or other digital device for long periods
If you think you may have dry eye syndrome, it’s important to see an eye doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment. Treatment options may include using artificial tears, changing your medication, or using special eye drops or ointments to improve tear production.
So, how does a humidifier fit into all of this?
How Does a Humidifier Affect Dry Eyes?
A humidifier is a device that adds moisture to the air. This can be especially helpful in an environment where the air tends to be very dry, like areas with dry climates or buildings with lots of AC or heating use.
Benefits of Using a Humidifier for Dry Eyes
Using a humidifier can be a helpful way to alleviate dry eye symptoms by adding moisture to the air, which can help to keep your eyes hydrated. Some potential benefits of using a humidifier for dry eyes include:
- By increasing the humidity in the air, a humidifier can help to reduce the evaporation of tears and keep the eye moist
- Reducing dryness, irritation, and redness of the eyes
- Improving tear film stability
Drawbacks of Using a Humidifier for Dry Eyes
There are also some potential drawbacks to using a humidifier for dry eyes:
- It may not be fully effective for everyone
- It does not solve the root cause of your dry eye; it only treats the symptoms
- It can be difficult to determine the optimal humidity level for your eyes
- It requires regular maintenance, such as cleaning the humidifier to prevent the growth of mold or bacteria
- It may be inconvenient to use, especially if you need to use it frequently or need to use it while you’re on the go
What Are Other Tools to Help with Dry Eyes?
LipiFlow Thermal Pulsation System
LipiFlow Thermal Pulsation System treatment involves the use of a device that applies gentle heat and pressure to the inner eyelids to help unclog blocked meibomian glands. These glands produce the oil layer of your tears, which helps to keep the front surface of your eye moist and comfortable.
By unclogging the glands, the LipiFlow Thermal Pulsation System can help to improve tear production and reduce dry eye symptoms.
Intense pulsed light therapy (IPL)
Intense pulsed light therapy is a treatment used for dry eyes. The treatment uses specific wavelengths of light to reduce inflammation around the eyes. This allows the oil-producing meibomian glands to produce more lubrication for the eyes, reducing the effects of dry eye.
During the procedure, the heat from the light warms and liquefies the oil your body uses to create tear film. IPL therapy can help this oil to move more freely and reduce blockages that cause dry eye symptoms.
Radiofrequency (RF) Therapy
Radiofrequency (RF) delivers high frequency electrical current to the skin to generate heat and stimulate collagen production. This is a safe and effective in-office treatment for your dry eyes.
The heat from RF helps to melt the thick oil secretions and unclog the meibomian gland, improving the quality of your tears. RF can also reduce inflammation around your eyes that could be contributing to your dry eye symptoms.
BlephEx treatment involves the use of a special tool to gently exfoliate the eyelids and remove excess oil and debris. It can help to improve the quality of your tears and reduce dry eye symptoms.
Scleral Contact Lenses
Scleral contact lenses are specialized contact lenses that are designed to cover the entire front surface of the eye and create a “vault” over the cornea. This helps to keep the front surface of the eye moist and comfortable and can be especially helpful for people with severe dry eyes or other corneal conditions.
What Can You Do to Help Dry Eye Symptoms at Home?
In addition to talking to your eye doctor about dry eye treatments, there are several other things you can do on your own to help alleviate dry eye symptoms:
- Blink frequently
- Use a warm compress on your eyes
- Take frequent breaks from screens and devices
- Protect your eyes from wind with sunglasses or protective glasses
- Use eye masks for relief
- Drink lots of water
- Avoid alcohol-based skincare products such as makeup remover
Dry Eye Therapy at See & Be Seen Eyecare
A humidifier can potentially help with dry eye by adding moisture to the air and reducing the evaporation of tears. However, it’s important to keep in mind that a humidifier may not work the same for everyone, and it’s always a good idea to speak with an eye care professional before starting any new treatment.If you’re looking for other ways to help treat your dry eye, book an appointment with us for dry eye therapy at See & Be Seen Eyecare. No one should have to struggle with the symptoms of dry eye.