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The secret to managing dry eye triggers.

One of the challenges with Dry Eye Disease is how variable the symptoms can be daily, depending on the individual. Usually, multiple factors feed into the symptoms. These include various external triggers (weather, allergens) and fluctuations in a person's body (as with hormones and aging). The trick is to know what triggers you the most, what combinations of triggers are annoying, and to minimize those as much as possible.

First, some triggers are easier to manage than others. It's essential to get enough hydration every day. Water is best. Eating healthy meals with ample vitamin A in your diet is a plus (be careful if using vitamin A supplements, as those need to be properly monitored to avoid excessive levels).

Some people's medications may be drying, especially antihistamines, certain antidepressants, beta-blockers, painkillers, and more. Investigate the side effects of your medications and ask your doctor for an alternative if your current regimen is excessively drying.

Wearing contacts can irritate some people until they figure out the best contact solutions for their bodies. Eye surgery such as Lasik can have short-term drying effects.

Autoimmune conditions such as Sjögren's can dry the eyes if left untreated.

Aging, especially for those over 50, can be a factor in menopause and other hormonal changes. Paying attention to your body's changing landscape and taking extra care to minimize other triggers you have more control over.

We may have more control over our lifestyle choices, such as driving, screens, and reading. Life still has to go on, and it's common for people to test just how far we can push ourselves and ignore our body's signals. If you are like this, plan a cushion around heavy usage times, hydrate more, eat moister foods, and stay out of the wind.

We have less control over the weather, allergies, infections, and exposure to smoke. While our eyes may have been pretty good in one moment, as soon as the weather shifts, or we encounter allergens, our eyes may feel dry and burning.

We must support our eyes best to guard against any new and emerging triggers. The more we know our bodies and triggers, the better we can tend to our eye health.

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