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National Dry Eye Awareness Month

Healthy Vision Month
July: Dry Eye Awareness Month. A few of the symptoms are burning or stinging, particles in the eye, gritty, sandy feeling, and itchiness.

National Dry Eye Awareness Month

July marks National Dry Eye Awareness Month in the United States, a time dedicated to raising awareness about dry eye syndrome—a common condition affecting millions. This observance highlights the symptoms, prevalence, and treatment options available.

Understanding Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry eye syndrome, also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca, occurs when the eyes don’t produce enough tears or the tears evaporate too quickly, leading to dryness, irritation, and inflammation. It’s most common among older adults and women but can affect anyone.

According to the American Optometric Association, up to 6.8% of U.S. adults suffer from dry eye syndrome, with numbers expected to rise as the population ages. Many people may dismiss symptoms as part of aging or seasonal allergies. By raising awareness, National Dry Eye Awareness Month encourages people to seek treatment, reducing the risk of complications like corneal damage or vision loss.

Causes and Risk Factors

While aging and gender are common risk factors, dry eye syndrome can also result from medications, environmental conditions, and underlying health issues. Understanding these causes is essential for effective management.

Importance of Early Diagnosis and Management

Early diagnosis and treatment can significantly improve quality of life. Although not usually serious, untreated dry eye syndrome can lead to corneal damage, infections, or even vision loss.

Prevention Tips

Here are some tips to help prevent dry eyes:

1. Take breaks from screen time : Follow the 20-20-20 rule—every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.

2. Blink frequently : Remember to blink more often, especially when using digital devices.

3. Use a humidifier : Adding moisture to the air can help alleviate symptoms.

4. Wear sunglasses : Choose wraparound styles that block 100% of UV rays to protect against wind and dust.

5. Avoid smoking : Smoke can exacerbate dry eye symptoms.

6. Stay hydrated : Drink at least eight glasses of water a day and limit caffeine and alcohol intake.

7. Consider omega-3 supplements : These can help reduce inflammation related to dry eyes.

8. Practice good eye hygiene : Wash your hands frequently and avoid rubbing your eyes.

Treatment Options

There’s no cure for dry eye syndrome, but various treatments can manage symptoms effectively. Options include artificial tears, prescription medications, punctal plugs, and lifestyle changes. Working with an eye doctor is crucial to identify the underlying cause and tailor the best treatment plan.

Our Commitment

At the Conklin Davis Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, we are dedicated to eye health and understand the impact of dry eye syndrome. Since 1988, our mission has been to provide comprehensive services that foster hope, opportunity, and independence for those who are blind or visually impaired. We support National Dry Eye Awareness Month in its mission to educate the public about dry eye syndrome.

By prioritizing eye health and seeking early treatment, we can protect our vision and improve our quality of life. If you or a loved one are experiencing low vision and need assistance, contact us at (386) 258-3441 for programs that support personal success.

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