The eyes are the most exposed parts of the body. To work well, our eyes need to stay open and keep clear. But our environment often throws things at our eyes like,
  • Wind
  • Dust
  • Pollen
  • Smoke
  • Grit
  • Low humidity
Each of these factors disrupt the layer of tears that covers our eyes, known as the tear film.

So what is the tear film?

The tear film is a complex mix of oil, water and mucous to help us see. This is anchored to the clear part of the eye, called the cornea. It works like a delicately balanced structure. It has an outer oily layer and inner watery/mucous layer.

How does our environment affect our normal tears?

Every time we blink, a new tear surface is ‘painted’ over the surface of our eye. Blinking refreshes parts of the tears that have evaporated or been disrupted by our environment. But sometimes a dry, dusty, windy or air-conditioned environment can put too much strain on our eyes. One of the main cycles is caused by evaporation. With less water, our tears become saltier (i.e. hyperosmotic). This salty environment leads to liquid stress on the cells on our eyelids, cornea and conjunctiva. This is called inflammation. We start to see more friction in the eyes, leading to further stress, and a cycle of increasing inflammation, saltiness and stress on the eyes, according to this scientific article. If you’ve ever had red, irritated, sore, stingy, light-sensitive, burning or watery eyes, you’ll know what inflammation feels like in your eyes!  

Will putting artificial tears in your eyes fix inflammation?

No. Putting drops in just makes them moister, rather than removing the stress (and chemical signals) that bathe the cells that make up your eyelids, conjunctiva and cornea. Our eyes still feel sore and irritated and we may have to stop. You should see your optometrist or ophthalmologist if your eyes are sore, red or uncomfortable for more than one day.

How can we prevent this irritation?

Imagine being able to get your work done, without having to stop to wipe or rub your eyes. If you work in a tough environment, or your eyes are sensitive, you need to reduce factors that cause stress and inflammation to your eyes. If you have Dry Eye Syndrome, protection is even more important, according to the International Dry Eye Workshop (DEWS II). Rather than wait for your eyes to get sore, red and painful, you need eye protection. Your 7Eye/Ziena Eyewear comes with Airshield and helps form a protective seal around your eyes. It blocks out dust, wind, pollen and air-conditioning. Airshield not only protects your eyes from foreign objects, but it retains a humid environment around your eyes. This keeps your tear layer stable and makes your eyes feel better.  

What evidence is there that they work?

One clinical study on moisture retention glasses, like Wiley X Facial Cavity Seal, show that they provide improved comfort for:
  • Air conditioning
  • Wind
  • Computer
  • TV
  • Reading
Improving the humidity, even slightly, can also improve dry eye symptoms, according to this article.

What do I look for in my 7Eye eyewear?

To protect your eyes best, It is important to get the best fit of eyewear for you. Make sure that the fit is snug and that there are few gaps underneath or above the eyewear. Make sure you regularly clean the padded foam or silicon eyecup or gasket. This helps reduce a buildup of natural bacteria from your skin (e.g. staphylococcus epidermidis, propionibacterium acnes). These bacteria can make your eyes feel more irritated, red and dry. Make sure that you clean your gasket as directed. Replace your eye cup regularly to ensure that it doesn’t get too dirty and so that it continues to form a good seal around your eyes.  

What else can you do for dry eyes?

Dry eye treatment is more than just adding more drops to your eyes. It’s about reducing the cycle of inflammation in your eyes, and helping them feel comfortable. 7Eye & Ziena Glasses are a valuable tool to give you relief from dry eyes. They give you the freedom to do all the things you love again. My patients love theirs!   Dr Leigh Plowman Optometrist