dry eye syndrome PPE

Dry Eye Syndrome sufferers need Safety Glasses – Coronavirus PPE shortage in 2020

Dry Eye Syndrome sufferers are struggling to find suitable Safety Glasses as Health workers understandably Buy up PPE because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dry Eye Syndrome

I suffer from Dry Eye Syndrome (DES) and it can be a real problem. When I first realised it was actually a thing I was surprised. I never realised it was anything real but how wrong was I?

What is Dry Eye Syndrome?

DES is a condition that many are at risk of getting in this modern screen-based world we live in. 

What causes DES?

There are two main causes of Dry Eye Syndrome but also can be an environmental issue.

  • The tear ducts do not produce enough tears
  • The surface of the eye is allowed to dry too quickly
  • Overuse of computer and device screens

The tear ducts do not produce enough tears

This is not as common but some people do not make tears as readily as others or the tear ducts are blocked. We know that the overproduction of tears is an emotional response but they also need to lubricate the surface of the eye.

The surface of the eye is allowed to dry too quickly

The eyes need to remain moist as this lubricates the eye but also washes the surface of the eye from fine airborne debris. If you are a worker like me who works in dusty environments you with know you wipe your eyes more than an office worker. I am a woodworker and I suffer from DES and I am very aware of the effect the fine dust has on my eyes. This fine dust that lands onto the surface of my eyes accelerates the drying of the tears and cause cracking like the salt flats! I regularly use eye drops to moisten the eyes while working and use safety glasses suitable for Dry Eye Syndrome.

Overuse of computer and device screens

Screen use can be the main cause of Dry Eye Syndrome? Yes, this is true. I sit here in front of my computer screen writing a blog about DES and I forget to blink. Yes, it is as simple as that, when you concentrate on a screen for long periods of time you forget to blink! This exposes the eye without lubrication to the drying effect of the air flowing over the surface. Wate bath glasses can help prevent DES.

How to prevent Dry Eye Syndrome

Luckily there are some things we can do to lower the risk of DES and some are just obvious. We do need to make some small changes to way we go about our lives. 

  • Wear water bath glasses
  • Regular application of eye drops
  • Blink
  • Lower the use of device screen use
  • Rest your eyes 
  • Clean the air

Water bath Glasses

No these are not a pair of clear water balloons but glasses that have foam inserts to protect the eye from dry air pulling the moisture from the eyes surface. As a woodworker I know that eyecup safety glasses are available with foam inserts and these will also protect the eye from dry air.

Blink

Yes, you need to blink more to help coat the eye with tears to protect the eye. Sometimes with early-onset DES, this is all you need to do. Every time you close your eyelids a small amount of tear will be distributed onto the eyes surface.

Reduce screen use

I know for some of you this is a tall order not far from being lockdown to control the spread of COVID-19. You need to blink between 15 to 20 times a minute. Watch a kid while they are using a smartphone and count how many times they blink in one minute. You will surprise how little they blink. When using a device or stuck in front of the computer make a conscious effort to blink as this will drastically reduce the risk of Dry Eye Syndrome.

Rest more

It is always good to rest more and resting our eyes is no exception. Just sitting with our eyes gently closed is a great way to allow our eyes to heal after prolonged work. If you have not experienced meditation then now is the time to try your hand at a little relaxation meditation techniques. Not just good for the eyes but also the mind.

Clean your Air

If you have ever needed to clean your air then this is it. Sounds odd hey? Well not really as we have done just that. I have installed two HEPA air purifiers in our home and high filtration air filtration in the workshop. As far as the Air cleaners we bought two units, one small and one larger unit.  Small particles are cleaned from the air in the house via a Levoit LV-H133 and a smaller LV-H132 room unit in the bedroom. 

These air cleaners capture the moisture zapping dust before it can land on my eyes. Greatly reducing the risk of Dry Eye Syndrome while in the home. After cleaning the filter recently I was shocked how much dust was captured in the filter. We have to remember that airborne dust is made from dried faeces, dead skin cells, poo dust mite dust etc. Quite nasty really and is considered an irritant so trapping it in a TRUE HEPA filter before it can cause an eye born allergic reaction.

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