Holistic Approaches to Managing Dry Eye in Nigeria

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Dry eye is a common condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It occurs when the eyes do not produce enough tears or when the tears evaporate too quickly, causing irritation, discomfort, blurred vision and an increased risk of infection. Dry eye can have many causes, such as aging, hormonal changes, environmental factors, medications, diseases and lifestyle habits.

In Nigeria, dry eye is especially prevalent due to the hot and dry climate, the high levels of air pollution, the lack of access to clean water and the widespread use of digital devices. According to a study by Ogun et al., dry eye affects 26.7% of Nigerians aged 40 years and above, with higher rates among women and urban dwellers.

While there are many conventional treatments for dry eyes, such as artificial tears, lubricating ointments, anti-inflammatory drops and punctal plugs, they may not be enough to address the root causes of the condition or to provide long-term relief. Moreover, some of these treatments may have side effects or contraindications for certain patients.


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That is why many people are looking for holistic approaches to managing dry eye, which involve addressing the whole person and not just the symptoms. Holistic approaches aim to improve the overall health and well-being of the individual by considering the physical, mental, emotional and environmental factors that may contribute to dry eye.

Here are some holistic approaches that you can try to manage your dry eye in Nigeria:

1. Increasing water intake:

One of the simplest and most effective ways to prevent or reduce dry eye is to drink enough water every day. Water helps to hydrate your body and your eyes, as well as to flush out toxins and impurities that may cause inflammation or infection. The recommended daily intake of water for adults is about 2 liters or 8 glasses, but this may vary depending on your age, weight, activity level and climate. You can also drink herbal teas, fruit juices or coconut water to boost your hydration, but avoid caffeinated, alcoholic or sugary drinks that may dehydrate you.


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2. Managing a balanced environment:

Another important factor that affects your tear production and evaporation is your surrounding environment. You should try to avoid or minimize exposure to dry, dusty or smoky air, as well as to extreme temperatures or wind. You can use humidifiers, air purifiers or fans to improve the quality and humidity of the air in your home or workplace. You can also wear sunglasses, hats or protective eyewear when outdoors to shield your eyes from harmful UV rays or irritants.

3. Improving diet via nutrition or adding supplemental care:

What you eat can also have a significant impact on your eye health and function. You should aim to consume a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats. These foods provide essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids that support your immune system, reduce inflammation and protect your eyes from oxidative stress. Some of the best foods for dry eye include flaxseed, salmon, sardines, walnuts, spinach, carrots and blueberries. You can also take supplements such as fish oil, evening primrose oil or vitamin A to boost your intake of these nutrients, but consult your doctor before doing so.


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4. Avoiding toxic offenders in products:

Some products that you use on your face or around your eyes may contain ingredients that can worsen your dry eye symptoms. These include cosmetics, eye drops, contact lens solutions, facial cleansers, moisturizers, and sunscreen. Some of these products may contain preservatives, fragrances, alcohol, or other chemicals that can irritate or dry out your eyes. To avoid this problem, look for products that are hypoallergenic, natural, organic, or preservative-free.

Conclusion 

These are some of the holistic approaches that can help you manage and prevent dry eye naturally, by addressing the root causes and the whole person, not just the eyes. However, you should always consult your eye doctor before starting any new treatment or making any changes to your lifestyle, as they can provide you with more personalized and professional advice based on your specific condition and needs.

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