Dry eyes can be uncomfortable. For kids, the dryness makes their eyes feel stretched out. In fact, dry eye syndrome often causes a sandy, gritty sensation in the morning that usually gets worse throughout the day. It may cause your child to have blurry vision. But dry eyes don’t usually cause lasting problems with vision.
There are different causes of dry eyes. Most often dry weather, smoke, or pollution can bother the eyes. Other times, allergies or contact lenses can also irritate the eyes. You can work with your ophthalmologist to find ways to help your child’s eyes feel better. Meanwhile, home treatments often do help.
What causes dry eyes in children?
Dry eye syndrome can make it challenging for kids to do regular daily activities, such as reading, using a computer, and playing. Sometimes burning, itchy and irritated eyes, along with constant blinking, interfere with focusing in the classroom. A range of reasons can be responsible for your child’s dry eyes. Some of them include:
1. Severe allergies, with dryness caused by aggressive antihistamine use
2. Contact lens wearing
3. Sometimes, conjunctivitis (pink eye) can lead to a type of dry eye
4. Nutritional deficiency
5. Extended use of smartphones and other digital devices
What are the various symptoms of dry eyes in kids?
Children cannot communicate their eye related problems in a proper way. Most of the time, they will rub their eyes, if there are any such issues. But the parents should keep a vigil on their kids to read their behaviour to understand the underlying cause of such behaviour.
Also, read: Summer eye care: Protect your eyes from the harsh heat wave
Here are some common dry eye syndrome symptoms in children:
- Frequent blinking
- Redness around the eyes
- Constant eye rubbing
- Veering away from sources of light
- Stinging or burning sensation in and around the eyes
- Moments of blurred vision
- Difficulty in reading, working on digital devices, or any activity that requires visual attention.
How to treat your child’s dry eye at home
Your doctor may recommend artificial tears to reduce the symptoms related to dry eye but you can also do home remedies to relieve dry eye syndrome.
Some helpful suggestions include:
1. Avoid smoke and other things that irritate the eyes.
2. Ensure your child wears sunglasses that wrap around the sides of the head. Try to use caps or umbrellas as these can protect the eyes from sun, wind, dust, and dirt.
3. Place a humidifier by your child’s bed or close to your child. Always follow the directions for cleaning the machine.
4. Do not use fans while your child sleeps.
5. If your child usually wears contact lenses, have your child use rewetting drops or wear glasses until the eyes feel better.
6. Be safe with medicines. Ensure that your child takes medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your ophthalmologist if you think your child is having a problem with a medicine.
7. Have your child use artificial tears at least 4 times a day.
8. If your child needs drops more than 4 times a day, use artificial tears without preservatives. They may irritate the eyes less.
9. If your child wears contact lenses, supply him or her with rewetting drops.
10. Put a warm, moist cloth on your child’s eyelids every morning for about 5 minutes. Then massage the eyelids lightly. This helps to increase the natural wetness of the eyes.