7 Ways to Prevent Dry Eye All Year Long

Dry eye can be a year-round problem. For some people, it may only feel like a minor irritation. For others, it can appear as a constant gritty feeling that they just can’t seem to shake. To help your eyes feel comfortable every day, we’ve provided some of our favorite tips for preventing dry eye.

Caucasian man standing outside on a sunny day rubbing his eyes due to dry eye from seasonal allergies.

Ways to prevent dry eye all year long:

  1. Get a comprehensive eye exam
  2. Wear the right eyewear
  3. Stay hydrated 
  4. Blink regularly 
  5. Follow the 20-20-20 rule
  6. Use a humidifier
  7. Quit smoking

Ways to Prevent Dry Eye


1. Get a Comprehensive Eye Exam

Dry eye can have a variety of causes. With comprehensive eye exams at Hardin Valley Eyecare & Optical, Dr. Travis Thompson and Dr. Catherine Abbott can identify the root cause of your dry eye and provide treatment. Unlike the vision screenings you may remember from school, these exams allow our team to view the underlying structures of your eyes.

Comprehensive eye exams are about more than making sure your eyewear prescription is up to date. By viewing the structure of your eyes, we can detect serious health issues including:

  • Diabetes 
  • High blood pressure 
  • Autoimmune diseases 

Early detection is key for treating and managing serious health issues. That’s why comprehensive eye exams are for more than checking your vision—they’re an essential part of your preventative healthcare.

Learn everything you should know before your comprehensive eye exam.


2. Wear the Right Eyewear

The outside world can expose you to harsh environments that are dry and dusty. In situations like these, it’s important to wear the right eyewear that keeps your eyes comfortable and safe. This could mean wearing safety goggles when doing yard work or on a worksite, depending on your job. However, choosing the right eyewear can also help if you’re simply going for a walk.

Wraparound sunglasses are the perfect solution for helping reduce or prevent dry eye symptoms. They provide more protection than regular sunglasses, reducing your exposure to dust, wind, and other irritants. We provide a wide range of brands including Ray-Ban and Burberry, ensuring you’ll find the perfect pair.

Learn more about our eyeglass frames, including specialty frames for sports and other activities. 


3. Stay Hydrated

Drinking water is just as important for your eyes as it is for the rest of your body. Dehydration can affect the production and quality of your tears which can eventually lead to dry eye. 

This includes common dry eye symptoms such as:

  • Redness
  • Irritation
  • Itchiness

Tears are important for keeping your eyes feeling comfortable, providing much-needed lubrication that keeps your eyes moist. Drinking water is a simple yet effective way to prevent dry eye. Keeping them hydrated will help improve and maintain the production and quality of your tears. 

4. Blink Regularly

You may not realize it, but blinking is very important for preventing dry eye. That’s because the act of blinking actually helps keep your eyes moistened. When your eyelids close, they spread tears and important nutrients across the surface of your eyes. This keeps them hydrated, healthy, and comfortable.

Blinking also helps keep your eyes clean. Along with spreading moisture and nutrients, your eyelids help remove particles and debris from the surface of your eyes. This helps reduce any irritation you may experience from pollen, dust, or other irritants that can dry out your eyes. 

5. Follow the 20-20-20 Rule

Young Asian woman suffering fry dry eye removing her glasses and rubbing her eye.

Blinking sounds easy enough, but it can actually be more difficult than you think. This is especially true if you look at digital screens a lot. Regular screen use can result in computer vision syndrome, which includes dry eyes among its symptoms. 

Most people blink between 15 and 20 times per minute. However, people tend to blink much less when looking at a computer screen. Following the 20-20-20 rule will help ensure that your eyes stay hydrated throughout the day.

To incorporate the 20-20-20 rule into your daily routine, all you have to do is:

  • Look at something 20 feet away
  • Every 20 minutes
  • For 20 seconds

Following the 20-20-20 rule is a great way to avoid computer-related dry eye along with other symptoms. By incorporating it into your daily routine, you’ll be helping your eyes stay comfortable during work as well as afterward.

Learn more about computer vision syndrome and the steps you can take to prevent it. 


6. Use a Humidifier

Dry air can play a major role in developing dry eye. Living in a dry region or simply living in a home with dry air increases your risk. Indoor environments can play a significant role since heaters and air conditioning can dry out the air in your home. This can cause your tears to evaporate more quickly and cause you to have dry eyes more often.

Humidifiers are an ideal solution to this problem. They add moisture to the air to help keep it more comfortable in specific rooms or throughout your home. As the humidifier does its work, it allows your eyes to retain their moisture. This keeps them feeling comfortable during hot and cold weather when your eyes may dry out more easily.

7. Quit Smoking

Chances are that you’re aware of the dangers of smoking. However, you may not be aware that smoking is just as bad for your eyes as it is for your lungs. That’s because smoking causes your eyes to become irritated and inflamed, resulting in dryness. This can lead to dry eye symptoms or make them worse if you already struggle with the condition.

Quitting smoking removes these effects from your body. Over time, your eyes will be able to increase their tear production as well as improve the quality of your tears. Quitting smoking, or never starting to begin with, helps ensure that your eyes, and your body, remain healthy for years to come.

Are you suffering from dry eye but aren’t sure what’s causing it? Contact us today to schedule your appointment!


The first steps for reining in dry eye are a comprehensive eye exam and wearing the right eyewear. You should also be sure to keep your eyes moisturized by staying hydrated, blinking regularly, and following the 20-20-20 rule when working on your computer. Add a humidifier to your home or workspace for added moisture and quit smoking to ensure your eye comfort.

Hardin Valley Eyecare & Optical has been serving Knoxville since 2009. Located at 10904 Spring Bluff Way, you can schedule an appointment online or give us a call at (865) 888-0892.


Medically Reviewed By:

Dr. Thompson was born and raised in Knoxville, TN. His family has lived in the Hardin Valley area since 1998, and he graduated from Karns High School in 2004. Dr. Thompson runs Hardin Valley Eyecare & Optical alongside his wife, Dr. Catherine Abbott.

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"Dr. Thompson is super professional, and has some of the best 'bedside manner' that I have ever witnessed from any doctor. His staff was very helpful in assisting me with picking out regular frames and sunglasses. I’d happily recommend Dr. Thompson to anyone looking for a eye doctor."
Cody C.