Reading and dry eyes


Have you ever had the feeling that your eyes are dry or even tingling while reading? Reading, like screens, can lead to a reduction in blinking frequency, which can lead to dry eyes.


Dry eyes occur when your eyes do not produce enough quality tears or when tears evaporate too quickly.


Prolonged reading can make this problem worse, as we tend to blink less frequently or only partially when we are concentrating more. This may lead to a decrease in blinking frequency and an increase in incomplete blinking, resulting in dry eyes.


The role of blinking


Blinking plays a crucial role in maintaining eye health, particularly with regard to dry eyes. When reading or working on screens, we often involuntarily reduce our blinking frequency. This may be exacerbated by intense concentration, resulting in a decrease in the number of blinks per minute. Blinking quality is also reduced as blinking is often incomplete.


Blinking stimulates the meibomian glands in our eyelids to extract the lipids that make up tears. Blinking plays an important role in maintaining good quality tears, and in distributing tears evenly over the ocular surface, which helps maintain adequate hydration to protect the cornea.


However, when the frequency and quality of blinking decreases, the eyes are less well lubricated, which can lead to excessive evaporation of tears and, consequently, dry eyes. It is therefore essential to blink regularly. Ideally, you should blink fully 15 times per minute (this equals 1 blink every 4 seconds).


How can you look after your eyes while reading?


  1. Take regular breaks

When you’re immersed in a book, it’s easy to forget the passing of time. However, it is essential to take regular breaks to rest your eyes. Use the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet (about 6 metres) away for at least 20 seconds. This helps reduce eye fatigue.


  1. Perform blinking exercises

Preventing dry eyes during reading often involves maintaining a normal blinking frequency. Regular blinking exercises can help reduce the feeling of dryness. Take advantage of your regular breaks to do blinking exercises. To do this, you can close your eyes for 3 seconds, then squeeze your eyelids hard for 3 seconds and open your eyes for 3 seconds. This exercise can be performed 5 times in a row and several times a day. Click here to see our tutorial.


  1. Adjust the lighting

Lighting plays a crucial role in preventing dry eyes. Make sure there is sufficient ambient light, but avoid direct reflections on the page. Also avoid screens that are too bright, as this can increase eye fatigue.


  1. Reduce exposure to screens

If you read on electronic devices such as e-readers or tablets, reduce the brightness of the screen and use anti-glare filters. The blue light emitted by these devices can contribute to eye fatigue and dry eyes.


  1. Buy books with large print


Opting for books with a larger font size can go a long way towards reducing the symptoms of dry eyes experienced when reading. Publishers are increasingly offering books in an adapted font size, which makes reading easier, especially for those who suffer from dry eyes, as the eyes will strain less. Larger writing provides a more comfortable reading experience. When choosing your next books, consider the size of the font to keep your eyes healthy and maximize your enjoyment of reading.


  1. Wear moisture chamber glasses

In cases of severe dry eyes, investing in moisture chamber glasses can be an effective way of reducing the effects of dry eyes when reading. These glasses are designed to maintain an optimal level of humidity around the eyes, helping to prevent the rapid evaporation of tears. These glasses create a comfortable microclimate, reducing the feeling of dryness and avoiding eye fatigue. Whether you’re an avid reader or spend a lot of time working in front of a screen, these glasses offer a practical way of looking after your eyes while enjoying your favourite activities. However, there are other treatments that will treat dry eyes and reduce symptoms for several months, such as IPL (Intense Pulsed Light).




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