Dry eyes used to be a problem that generally only affected older generations. But now, even millennials (those born between 1980 and 2000) are suffering from dry eye syndrome. Eye dryness usually develops because the eyes can’t produce enough tears to provide enough lubrication. This condition can also occur if the quality of a person’s tears is poor. Dry eye syndrome has many causes and many unpleasant symptoms that may interfere with your quality of life. People living with dry eye syndrome experience symptoms like stinging or burning, pain, eye redness, or a feeling like something is stuck in the eye. If you’re one of the many millennials with dry eyes, here’s what you need to know. Dry Eye Syndrome on the Rise It’s no secret Americans, especially younger generations, spend more time in front of screens than ever before. One study revealed the average American spends almost half their waking hours looking at a screen. Screen time includes time staring at a computer, TV, smartphone, or tablet, among others. Studies also show that 74% of people living in the United States use a computer for their job. The rise of social media, coupled with the computer’s integration into the workplace, means more people than ever are spending most of their time in front of some type of screen. And with millennials taking up a large share of the workforce, and spending free time endlessly scrolling on their phones, cases of dry eye are increasing for this generation. In fact, in a recent survey, 76% of eye doctors reported an increase in dry eye among patients between 18 and 34 years old, in contrast to a decade ago. Dry eye occurs for many reasons, and spending time in front of screens is one of them. When you look at a screen, you’re less likely to blink. When you don’t blink, the tears you produce aren’t spread over the surface of your eyes. This means your eyes aren’t lubricated or moisturized properly, which may lead to dry eye symptoms. Other factors contributing to dry eye syndrome in millennials include: Certain medications, such as birth control pills, antidepressants, and antihistamines Long-term contact lens use Medical conditions like diabetes or thyroid problems Women are also more likely to experience dry eye syndrome resulting from hormonal changes caused by oral contraceptives or pregnancy. Promoting Millennial Eye Health Fortunately, you can take several steps at home to help promote eye health and prevent symptoms of dry eye. To keep your eyes as healthy as possible: Blink regularly: If you work in front of a computer or other screen, be sure to blink frequently. Drink plenty of water: Dehydration may contribute to symptoms of dry eye. Increase humidity: If you live or work in a very dry environment, you could be more likely to experience dry eye. Increase the humidity around you by using a personal humidifier to help combat this problem. Use nutritional supplements: Some nutritional supplements, such as those containing essential fatty acids, may help prevent dry eye symptoms. Before starting any nutritional supplement, ask your doctor if it’s right for you. Wear sunglasses: If you spend significant periods of time outside, wear sunglasses. Sunglasses helps reduce your eyes’ exposure to the sun and to drying winds. If home treatments aren’t enough to manage your dry eye symptoms, ask your doctor about other treatment options. Your doctor may recommend medications to increase tear production. Alternatively, they may be able to change any medication you take that’s associated with dry eye. In severe cases, doctors may suggest surgical options or medical devices to help keep your eyes healthy. Dry eye syndrome can be difficult to live with, but it’s possible for people of all ages to find relief. Taking steps at home to promote eye health, such as cutting down on screen time, may be all you need to help you manage your symptoms. But if you try home remedies and they don’t work, or you can’t change factors like your working conditions, asking your doctor about other ways to handle dry eye is a good option.