What Can Make Dry Eye Worse?

Man inserting eye drops to relieve dry eye

Do you notice that your eyes feel dry and gritty all the time? Do you have dry eyes and find that they get irritated when you do certain activities?

If you are experiencing dry eyes, there are many things that can make them worse. Some of these things are environmental or activities you may take part in.

No matter what, you should be aware of them, so you can keep your eyes calm and happy. Here are some different things to be aware of that make dry eye worse:


Not only does smoking hurt your lungs, but it can also hurt your eyes. Smoking or being around smoke can irritate your eyes more than just creating dry eyes.

You might feel a burning, scratching, or stinging sensation in your eyes because of smoking. The good news? Dry eye symptoms will usually get better once you stop smoking!

Using the Wrong Eye Drops

Artificial tears or eye drops help keep your eyes moist when your eyes cannot do it on their own. They can help reduce some of the irritation that comes from having dry eyes.

But some artificial tears and eye drops are better than others. Avoid those that say they get rid of redness.

This actually shrinks the blood vessels in your eye, which can make dry eyes worse. Your doctor will tell you the right eye drops to get.

Not Using Sunglasses

If you have dry eyes, protecting your eyes from wind and sun is important. Pick sunglasses that are close to your face and protect your eyes on the sides as well.

Use them year-round, not only when it’s sunny and you can see the sun is shining.

Allergy Medications

Allergy medications can dry out your eyes. This makes it harder for your eyes to get rid of allergens.

If your eyes are too dry because of them, ask your doctor about alternatives that will not dry out your eyes.

Looking at Screens For Too Long

You need to give your eyes regular breaks by practicing the 20-20-20 rule. The 20-20-20 rule means that you take a break every 20 minutes.

You should do this by looking at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. It is important to keep your screens below eye level, so you do not strain your eyes.

Not Blinking Enough

When you are focusing too intensely, you do not blink enough. This can occur when looking at a screen for too long, reading, or driving.

It is good for your eyes to blink because it dispurses tears across your eyes and keeps them moist.

Being Dehydrated

Getting dehydrated impacts your entire body, including your eyes. They can dry out when your body is dehydrated.

You should have between eight and ten glasses of water per day. If this is challenging for you, eat water-rich foods like watermelon or lettuce.

Being in Dry Air

If you are indoors and the air is dry, use a humidifier. This will put moisture back into the air.

Opening the windows for a little in the winter or spring/summer helps. If you are around a lot of dust, you should use air filters to keep the air from getting too dusty.

Not Eating Enough Omega-3s

Foods like fish, nuts, and greens contain omega-3 fatty acids. This can help your dry eyes.

Try to have a few servings of foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids per week.

Do you need help treating your dry eye? Schedule an appointment at Mid Ohio Eye in Columbus, OH!