You sit in front of your computer with the curtains open. Your boss just asked for an update on that presentation you are working on. Tick-tock, tick-tock. It’s one in the afternoon. It’s bright, so you have to close the curtains. It’s still too bright, so you lower the brightness settings on your computer, and you feel as if there’s something stuck in your eye. You try to rub it off (even if this is a no-no) and try to go back to work.
Tick-tock, tick-tock. The deadline is almost approaching, and discomfort comes up again. This time you check your mirror, and your eyes have gone red, but there’s nothing stuck on your cornea. Eye strain? It has only been a few hours since you started work. Or maybe, this is a case of dry eyes.
Dry eye disease is a common condition; your eyes do not provide enough tears to lubricate your eyes. It is caused by a number of factors but commonly from decreased tear production and increased tear evaporation.
But how do we provide relief to dry eyes? Some people go the easy way and use eye drops, but that requires you to constantly drip temporary relief. Eye drops come with their risks, and to be honest, it’s a hassle.
So what can we do to minimize the discomfort? Why don’t we try using a humidifier for dry eyes?
What is a humidifier?
Humidifiers are devices that provide moisture to the air in a given space by releasing water
vapor or steam. It is a home remedy to counteract irritation due to dryness like:
- Chapped lips
- Dry skin
- Dry throat
- Irritated nose
- Irritated vocal cords
- Dry cough
It is ideal to have a good humidity level in your space to provide comfort. Too much? Sweat trickles down your neck, drown in high moisture in the air, and makes your hair go poofy (not a good look). Too little? Well, better have your eye drops, ginger tea, chapstick, and lotion ready at arm’s reach.
Consider: Relative Humidity
“Relative humidity is a measure of the water vapor content of air… The amount of water vapor present in the air is expressed as a percentage (%RH) of the amount needed to achieve saturation at the same temperature.” It is proportional to temperature.
Ergo, changes in temperature bring a change in relative humidity in an area. If the air is too cold (during winter; or when your AC thermostat is high during sweltering hot summer days), then the water in our bodies evaporates, which results in dry skin, chapped lips, and dry eyes (increased tear evaporation).
It is recommended that humidity stays between 30 and 50 percent. An instrument called a hygrometer can help you measure how much humidity is present, which is built in some humidifiers or can be found in hardware stores.
Hot take: Seek a medical professional
Dry eyes are not directly linked to present humidity levels. It is always a good idea to give a medical professional a call and see if there are measures you can take to alleviate the discomfort. Prolonged dry eyes may indicate damaged tear ducts, intake of certain medication, or certain medical conditions.
What humidifier is perfect for me?
There are many humidifier sizes present on the market, but the perfect one depends on the size of your room. The type of humidifier depends on your preferences and budget. There are two major categories below:
- Cool Mist Humidifiers – these use fans, rotating discs, or vibrating plates to evaporate water. The mist comes out as a cool fog.
- Warm Mist Humidifiers – these require heat to boil water to produce steam. Some add essential oils for a little aromatherapy.
Pros and Cons of Humidifiers
Like any other device on the market, humidifiers have their pros and cons.
Pros? Humidifiers can help with your electric bills, especially during the cold seasons. As mentioned earlier, low temperature is equal to low humidity. A humidifier running in your space can raise the relative humidity to make you feel warmer, and your eyes maintain moisture.
You can avoid blasting your heater up, which results in low energy bills! Humidifiers also aid in preserving the construction materials used in your home. If you have hardwood floors, it needs to be constantly moisturized to prevent them from cracking or shrinking. These devices also help avoid static electricity buildup, which damages your electronics.
Cons? It comes mostly with the maintenance of your humidity levels in your space. Too much humidity can cause mold and mildew to grow. Proper care and maintenance also come with humidifiers, as when they are unclean, it causes bacteria to grow. This might result in coughs and colds. Ensure that children cannot reach humidifiers as injuries may happen, especially when using a warm mist humidifier.
Using a humidifier is an effective home remedy for your dry eyes and other irritations caused by low humidity. As long as you take care of your device, take precautions by seeking a medical professional when needed, and you’re all set! Say hello to relief, productivity, and relaxation!