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  • Writer's pictureMin Jeon

Bring Tears of Joy and Soothing Relief to Dry Eyes




Picture a cozy evening, curled up with your favorite book, engrossed in the captivating story. But wait, the words start to blur, the page seems a bit hazy, and your eyes feel scratchy and fatigued. Or picture those days when your eyes are weary from staring at screens, and they just yearn for a break. Been there, right? How about when allergies turn your eyes into temporary deserts? Sound familiar? Welcome to the world of dry eyes, a condition many of us have encountered, disrupting our everyday moments.




Think back to the last time you had an eyelash in your eye, or when an unexpected gust of wind made your eyes water and itch incessantly. Increase that discomfort substantially—that's the pesky annoyance of dry eyes. Your eyes, the precious windows to the world, deserve better!




In this exploration of dry eye, we'll discuss various potential causes, decode the signs that your eyes might be pleading for moisture, and share how acupuncture may be a promising treatment for dry eye. So, let's explore this condition and allow it to guide you back to comfort and clarity.





Understanding Dry Eyes


Dry eye, or dry eye syndrome, a common condition affecting millions of people worldwide, is an eye condition where the eyes don't have sufficient moisture or the right quality of tears to keep them adequately lubricated and nourished. Tears are a complex blend of water, oils, proteins, and enzymes. They are essential for maintaining the health and comfort of the eyes. They provide a protective film, ensuring a smooth surface for clear vision, reducing the risk of infections, and washing away debris or foreign particles. Dry eye occurs when either the quantity of tears produced is insufficient, or the composition and distribution of these tears are imbalanced. This ailment can lead to discomfort, irritation, and in severe cases, vision impairment. While conventional treatments often include artificial tears and prescription medications, there is a growing interest in acupuncture as a potential treatment. Acupuncture is a comprehensive approach, addressing the root cause of the condition, not only the symptoms, unlike many other treatments.





Potential Causes of Dry Eyes


Dry eye is often a bothersome condition and can be triggered by various factors, disrupting the delicate balance of moisture and comfort in our eyes. Some potential causes include, but are not limited to:



Aging:


  • The passage of time can diminish tear production and the ability to maintain moisture, leading to dry eyes as we age.


Environmental Factors:

  • Dry or windy climates

  • High-altitude locations

  • Exposure to smoke and pollution


Health Conditions:

  • Sjögren's syndrome

  • Rheumatoid arthritis

  • Diabetes

  • Lupus

  • Thyroid disorders

Medications:

  • Antihistamines

  • Decongestants

  • Antidepressants

  • Birth control pills

  • Hormone replacement therapy


Contact Lens Wear:

  • Extended or improper use of contact lenses

  • Poor lens hygiene


Eyelid Problems:

  • Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD)

  • Blepharitis (inflammation of eyelids)


Hormonal Changes:

  • Menopause

  • Pregnancy

  • Hormonal fluctuations


Prolonged Screen Time:

  • Excessive use of computers, smartphones, or tablets leading to reduced blinking and dryness


Lifestyle Factors:

  • Smoking

  • Excessive alcohol consumption

  • Inadequate hydration


Nutritional Deficiencies:

  • Lack of omega-3 fatty acids

  • Deficiency in vitamins essential for eye health, such as A, B6, B12, C, D


Eye Surgery:

  • LASIK or other refractive surgeries can cause temporary dry eyes. These procedures can temporarily affect tear production and quality.

Allergies:

  • Seasonal or environmental allergies leading to irritation and dryness


Incomplete Closure of Eyelids:

  • Difficulty in fully closing the eyelids during sleep, causing increased tear evaporation


Long-Term Use of Eye Drops:

  • Prolonged use of certain eye drops, especially those containing preservatives


Systemic Diseases:

  • Parkinson's disease

  • Multiple sclerosis


Chemical and Heat Exposure:

  • Chemicals

  • Fumes

  • Excessive heat





Potential Symptoms of Dry Eyes


Irritation and Redness:

Persistent dryness can cause irritation and redness in the eyes, making them appear bloodshot.


Stinging or Burning Sensation:

Dry eyes may cause a stinging or burning sensation, making it uncomfortable to keep your eyes open or focused.


Excessive Tearing:

Paradoxically, dry eyes can trigger an overproduction of tears in an attempt to soothe the irritation.


Blurred Vision:

Vision can become temporarily blurred, especially during extended periods of reading, using a computer, or performing tasks that require concentration.


Sensitivity to Light:

Individuals with dry eyes may experience increased sensitivity to light or glare, making it challenging to be in brightly lit environments.


Stringy Mucus:

Dry eyes can cause the production of a thick, stringy mucus around the eyes, particularly upon waking.






Potential Benefits of Acupuncture for Dry Eyes


Enhanced Blood Circulation:

Acupuncture may enhance blood circulation, potentially promoting better circulation to the eyes and surrounding tissues, potentially reducing dry eye symptoms.


Improved Tear Production:

Acupuncture may stimulate lacrimal gland function, potentially enhancing tear production and promoting better lubrication of the eyes.


Reduction of Inflammation:

Acupuncture may have anti-inflammatory effects, which may be beneficial in treating inflammation in the eyes, a common factor in dry eye.


Alleviation of Eye Strain:

Acupuncture may help relax the eye muscles and reduce eye strain, particularly for individuals who spend long hours in front of screens, which can worsen dry eye symptoms.


Targeting the Underlying Cause:

Acupuncture potentially targets the underlying causes of dry eye by addressing imbalances in the body's energy flow and potentially promoting overall well-being. By targeting these root causes, acupuncture seeks to restore balance to the body and its systems, addressing the fundamental issues contributing to dry eye and aiming for long-term relief and improvement.


Stress Reduction:

Stress can exacerbate dry eye symptoms. Acupuncture is known to reduce stress by releasing endorphins, which may potentially aid in relieving stress-related dry eye issues.

It's important to note that individual responses to acupuncture may vary.





Lifestyle Changes to Potentially Improve Dry Eyes

Alongside acupuncture, including certain lifestyle changes may help improve dry eyes..


Blinking Exercises:

Regularly blinking your eyes can help distribute tears and prevent the eyes from drying out. Take breaks during screen time to blink consciously and moisturize your eyes.


Warm Compresses:

Applying a warm compress to your closed eyelids can help unclog blocked glands and stimulate oil production, promoting a more stable tear film.


Hydration and Diet:

Ensure you stay adequately hydrated and maintain a well-balanced diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids (flax and chia are great sources of omega-3), which can support eye health and reduce dry eye symptoms.


Humidifier Use:

Using a humidifier in your home or workspace can add moisture to the air, preventing dryness of the eyes.


Eye-Friendly Environment:

Adjust your screen's brightness and font size, position your computer screen at eye level, and maintain good lighting to reduce eye strain and dryness.






Dry eyes can be an incredibly frustrating and uncomfortable condition that affects many individuals. The incessant itchiness, gritty sensation, redness, and even occasional blurred vision can disrupt daily routines. Acupuncture has emerged as a beacon of relief for dry eyes, potentially helping alleviate the symptoms of dry eyes and improve quality of life. So, if you're tired of constantly reaching for artificial tears and longing for lasting relief, it might be time to give acupuncture a try. It's a path to potentially rejuvenating those tear ducts, rediscovering the joys of clear, comfortable vision, and bringing the sparkle back in your eyes.




If you're interested in acupuncture as a treatment for dry eyes, please feel free to reach out to us at Acupuncture and Wellness Clinic. Dr. Min K. Jeon, our highly skilled acupuncturist, possesses a wealth of knowledge and experience in her field. She has years of experience treating dry eyes, with many of her patients reporting significant improvements in their condition. Dr. Min employs a comprehensive approach, combining acupuncture with complementary therapies to achieve the most optimal results for her patients. If you would like to schedule a free consultation to meet with Dr. Min, where she will take the time to discuss your concerns, evaluate you and share a potential treatment plan customized to your specific needs, we invite you to contact us. It’s time to bring tears of joy and relief to your dry eyes.





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