My eyes have been very scratchy and red recently

Dr Stephen Taylor

Question: My eyes have been very scratchy and red recently, and it often feels like there is something in them. My friend thinks that it is dry eye. What is dry eye and how do I treat it?

Answer: Those symptoms among others including irritation, fluctuations in vision, and tired feeling eyes, are all very common with dry eye. Dry eye can be caused by many things. A visit to your Optometrist would be the first step to determine what type of dry eye you have, which will ultimately determine the best treatment course for you. Often this will include the use of artificial tears, warm compresses, and a discussion about how your environment can affect your dry eye. Further recommendations may be made based on your personalized treatment plan.

One of the biggest offenders in dry eye is our increased reliance on electronic devices. When we stare at them for hours at a time there is a tendency to blink less. This causes the tears on the eye to evaporate more readily and worsens the dry eye. An up to date glasses prescription can help reduce strain, along with following the 20/20/20 rule. Every 20 minutes take a 20 second break from working on a computer screen, looking at something at least 20 feet away. Finally, if you often look back and forth between a monitor and desktop at your workstation, try positioning your screen at arm’s length away from you and 15 to 20 degrees below eye level.