If Your Eyes Are Always Dry, Stop Doing This in the Bathroom Now

Changing this step in your routine could work wonders.

Protecting your eyes is essential to your vision and comfort, but far too often, your eye health flies under the radar until a more serious problem arises. Having dry eyes, for instance, may seem like a benign enough problem—uncomfortable as they are—but left untreated, they can cause a wide range of serious symptoms. Now experts are warning of one common bathroom habit which could be drying out your eyes on a daily basis. Read on to find out what you may be doing that's making your dry eyes worse, and how the condition can do serious damage to your eye health and vision.

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Having dry eyes is bad for your ocular health.

female health concerns after 40

Tears may not be at the forefront of your health concerns, but experts say they're actually an important part of your ocular health and hygiene. That's because your eyes work around the clock to produce and distribute tears made of lipids, water, and mucus, which help your eyes maintain their normal functions.

"Tears keep your eyes wet and smooth, and help focus light so you can see clearly," explains the National Eye Institute, a branch of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). "They also protect your eyes from infections and irritating things, like dirt and dust." Having dry eyes can therefore cause a whole host of eye problems, including eye infections, corneal damage, and even vision loss.

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Watch out for these symptoms of dry eyes.

Young man doing home eye exam in the bathroom

Having dry eyes can present with a wider range of symptoms than many people realize. Besides general discomfort, people with dry eyes may notice redness, sensitivity to light, stringy mucus in the eyes, and a stinging or burning sensation. Additionally, some people with dry eyes feel as though something is stuck in their eyes and experience difficulty or discomfort wearing contact lenses. They may also notice changes in their vision.

If you develop dry eyes, you may find yourself frequently rubbing your eyes. While this can help stimulate the flow of tears, it also increases irritation.

If you have dry eyes, this part of your hair care routine may be making them worse.

woman drying her hair

Experts say there's one common cause for dry eyes that you might not expect—and it could be central to your daily beauty routine: using a hair dryer. This can cause your tears to evaporate due to the intensity of heat and direct airflow, or can worsen existing symptoms from other causes.

For this reason, the Mayo Clinic suggests that you "avoid air blowing in your eyes." This includes air flow from "hair dryers, car heaters, air conditioners, or fans," all of which can irritate your eyes by reducing moisture.

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Consider these other common causes for dry eyes.

Senior man getting eye exam

If you're over 50, your eyes may produce less moisture, resulting in worsening symptoms. Certain medical conditions and medications could also be behind your scratchy, uncomfortable eyes. In particular, "antihistamines, decongestants, hormone replacement therapy, antidepressants, and drugs for high blood pressure, acne, birth control and Parkinson's disease," have all been linked to dry eyes, Mayo Clinic experts say.

Speak with your doctor if you notice symptoms without a known cause. They may recommend a range of interventions, including minimizing your exposure to irritants, getting a humidifier, or using artificial tears to reduce discomfort.

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Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more
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