Kristine Jensen, owner of Eyes of Howick on the importance of considering your lifestyle when it comes to eye health.
Outcomes of the recent Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society (TFOS) Lifestyle Workshop- involving 158 world-wide experts validates the importance of considering lifestyle when it comes to eye health. This is important when it comes to dry eye and ocular surface disease.
› Nutrition: omega 3, Vitamins A, B12, C and D.
› Caffeine: protective against dry eye through stimulating increased tear production.
› Endocrine- disrupting chemicals: such as BPA and phthalates may leach from food containers and can affect the eye surface—due to hormonal changes.
› Gut microbiome: pre and probiotics can improve dry eye symptoms
› Environment: high temperature, wind and low humidity disrupt the ocular surface and tear-film stability. While UV exposure is linked with ocular surface diseases such as Pterygium and air pollution ie., nitrogen dioxide, smoking and vaping can also lead to discomfort.
› Digital eye strain: limit screen use to 4-5 hours per day.
› Mental health and chronic pain conditions: anxiety, stress, depression and migraine, fibromyalgia, IBS and back pain are associated with dry eye symptoms.
› Obesity: meibomian (oil) gland disruption along with sleep apnoea (use of CPAP machines) are associated with ocular surface disruption.
› Medication: can disrupt the tear film and ocular surface. For example, Isoretinoin, prescribed for acne may irreversibly damage the meibomian glands.
› Cosmetics: preservatives such as benzalkonium chloride are toxic and endocrine disrupters such as parabens and phthalates along with retinol use around the eye can exacerbate dry eye. Eye lash treatments — tinting, curling, and extensions can increase risk of ocular surface disease.