September 15, 2022

Dry Eye Awareness

Dry Eye Awareness
Dr. Brandon Hauer
Time Read
3
min

Itchy, burning, dry eyes after a couple hours staring into a screen…sound familiar?

 

With the recent increase in screen time and digital device use, our blink rates have dramatically decreased leading to a higher prevalence of digital eye strain (1).

 

In fact, digital eye strain is now one of the most common reasons for visits to the eye doctor in North America, and may also have major adverse impacts on quality of life (2-5).

 

Symptoms of digital eye strain include dry eyes, stinging, scratching, or burning feelings, redness, or light sensitivity, happening because your eyes aren’t producing or maintaining enough tears to stay moist.

 

A recent estimate suggests more than 6 million people suffer from dry eyes in Canada (6), which is proportional to the global prevalence of dry eye symptoms (7). 

 

Thermal therapy is a well-known and used modality for maintaining healthy eyes. The basic idea behind eye heating (or peri-ocular warming, as it’s known in the scientific literature) is that glands that secrete oil onto your eyes (meibomian glands) become clogged from infrequent blinking, or various disorders.

 

Providing heat at a particular temperature – typically right around 40° Celsius – helps to melt these clogs and allow the natural oils of your eyes to once again coat them, soothing your tired, strained eyes and providing relief (8-10). As an added bonus, eye warming before bed works like a warm bath and can actually help you fall asleep faster and get more deep sleep (11)!

 

In fact, cooling has been shown to be beneficial for your eyes too! Imagine keeping your eyes open and looking into the wind – soon enough, your eyes will start to water. Why?

 

Well, it turns out there are special receptors in your eyes (technically, corneal and conjunctival TRPM8 cold receptors (12)) that can detect this dryness (technically, they respond to the cooling that happens when your eyes become dry) and respond by signaling the body to start producing more tears (13,14).

 

The need for a mental break and better eye health is why we built REST: A Thermal Meditation™ experience you can feel, for digital rest and recovery.

 

REST provides a 5-10 minute relaxation routine that transforms your typical bedtime routine into a wake up and wind down ritual. It provides both heating and cooling at the precise temperatures needed for eye relief, while being fully adjustable, portable, and rechargeable for maximum comfort and convenience.

 

The warming modes of REST release moisturizing oils onto your eyes, while the cooling sessions are like putting artificial tear drops in your eyes, except that you’re producing real, immediate tears, full of all the natural goodness your eyes want (15). 

 

The fascinating effects of heating and cooling on whole body wellness continue to be extensively studied, from benefits for sleep quality, to performance, to recovery, and beyond (11,16)!

 

REST has been designed from the ground up based on an extensive body of scientific literature. Our choices at every step have been informed by peer-reviewed publications in leading journals, carefully guiding our design decisions to optimize your wellbeing every single time you use REST. 

 

For more information, visit us online at https://umay.rest/

 

 

  1. Kenrick Christen J, Alloo Sabiha S. The Limitation of Applying Heat to the External Lid Surface: A Case of Recalcitrant Meibomian Gland Dysfunction. Case Reports in Ophthalmology 2017;8(1):7-12.
  2. Sakakibara M, Wu H, Wang Y, Dong N, Yang F, Lin Z, et al. Meibomian Gland Dysfunction Determines the Severity of the Dry Eye Conditions in Visual Display Terminal Workers. PLoS ONE 2014;9(8):e105575.
  3. Lin H, Yiu SC. Dry eye disease: A review of diagnostic approaches and treatments. Saudi Journal of Ophthalmology 2014;28(3):173-81.
  4. Erdur SK, Aydin R, Balevi A, Ozsutcu M, Kocabora MS. Dry Eye Assessment in Patients With Vitiligo. Cornea 2018;37(4):412-5.
  5. Vehof J, Wang B, Kozareva D, Hysi PG, Snieder H, Hammond CJ. The Heritability of Dry Eye Disease in a Female Twin Cohort. Investigative Opthalmology & Visual Science 2014;55(11):7278.
  6. Caffery B, Srinivasan S, Reaume CJ, Fischer A, Cappadocia D, Siffel C, et al. Prevalence of dry eye disease in Ontario, Canada: A population-based survey. The Ocular Surface 2019;17(3):526-31.
  7. Lemp MA, Crews LA, Bron AJ, Foulks GN, Sullivan BD. Distribution of Aqueous-Deficient and Evaporative Dry Eye in a Clinic-Based Patient Cohort. Cornea 2012;31(5):472-8.
  8. Pang S-P, Chen Y-T, Tam K-W, Lin IC, Loh E-W. Efficacy of Vectored Thermal Pulsation and Warm Compress Treatments in Meibomian Gland Dysfunction: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Cornea 2019;38(6):690-7.
  9. Lee J-E, Kim NM, Yang JW, Kim SJ, Lee JS, Lee JE. A randomised controlled trial comparing a thermal massager with artificial teardrops for the treatment of dry eye. British Journal of Ophthalmology 2014;98(1):46-51.
  10. Lam PY, Shih KC, Fong PY, Chan TCY, Ng AL-K, Jhanji V, et al. A Review on Evidence-Based Treatments for Meibomian Gland Dysfunction. Eye & Contact Lens: Science & Clinical Practice 2020;46(1):3-16.
  11. Ichiba T, Suzuki M, Aritake-Okada S, Uchiyama M. Periocular skin warming promotes body heat loss and sleep onset: a randomized placebo-controlled study. Sci Rep. 2020 Nov 23;10(1):20325. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-77192-x.
  12. Yang JM, Wei ET, Kim SJ, Yoon KC. TRPM8 Channels and Dry Eye. Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2018;11(4):125. Published 2018 Nov 15. doi:10.3390/ph11040125
  13. Belmonte C, Gallar J. Cold Thermoreceptors, Unexpected Players in Tear Production and Ocular Dryness Sensations. Investigative Opthalmology & Visual Science 2011;52(6):3888.
  14. Kao A, Latkany R. Use of Artificial Tears vs Cold Compresses for the Treatment of Dry Eye. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science 2013;54(15):6052.
  15. Pan Q, Angelina A, Marrone M, Stark WJ, Akpek EK. Autologous serum eye drops for dry eye. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2017 Feb 28;2(2):CD009327. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD009327.pub3.
  16. Moore E, Fuller JT, Buckley JD, Saunders S, Halson SL, Broatch JR, Bellenger CR. Impact of Cold-Water Immersion Compared with Passive Recovery Following a Single Bout of Strenuous Exercise on Athletic Performance in Physically Active Participants: A Systematic Review with Meta-analysis and Meta-regression. Sports Med. 2022 Jul;52(7):1667-1688. doi: 10.1007/s40279-022-01644-9. Epub 2022 Feb 14.