The wellness habits of Hollywood star Jennifer Aniston aren’t much of a secret. The actress regularly shares tidbits about her life and behavior on various interviews and magazine segments during the course of the year. We’ve learned through various TV shows and revelations that Jennifer often eats a healthy diet, drinks quite a lot of water on a regular basis, practices yoga and barre, hits up a regular spin class, and runs often to keep her physical health in prime condition. She is also known for being a faithful lover of the daily SPF routine, and she often comments that she does her best to sleep the recommended eight hours a night. In short, there’s plenty of health related things that many of us could learn from her.
However, there was one thing in life that Jennifer had been neglecting. After mentioning during an interview that she was addicted to eye drops, Aniston was contacted by the company known as Shire. The biopharmaceutical company recommended that she should visit her doctor to learn more about dry eye syndrome.
Jennifer Aniston’s Dry Eye Discovery
She was in the midst of an interview when she was asked if she was addicted to anything in particular. At that time, she was applying her eye drops, and she answered that she was probably addicted to those, using them about three times an hour at minimum. In fact, she mentioned that she carried eye drops with her practically everywhere she went, as a way to remedy her uncomfortable eye condition. She had assumed up until that point that she had simply been suffering from irritation in her eyes as a result of environment allergies or other problems. However, as the discomfort she felt became more painful, Shire suggested that she seek medical attention.
Jennifer recalls that up until that point when the pharmaceutical company said she could have dry eye syndrome, she had no idea that it was something that could actually be diagnosed by medical professionals. She went to visit her doctor for a test and sure enough discovered that she was a victim of one of the most common eye problems in the world. She then had to go about the process of actually weaning herself off the eye drops and finding a better solution to her eye problem. Nevertheless, she felt a significant amount of relief when she realized that she could finally figure out what was wrong with her eyes.
She has now teamed up with Shire and is hoping to spread awareness about the presence of chronic dry eye syndrome throughout the country. Apparently, an estimated 30 million adults regularly report that they are suffering from symptoms that appear to be consistent with the condition. On top of that, about 16 million adults are actually diagnosed to have it.
Symptoms of Dry Eye
Dry eye syndrome happens when the eyes are not able to produce tears properly, or when the tears that are created aren’t of the right quality and end up evaporating too quickly. Most experts agree that the way people experience dry eye can differ from one patient to the next. Indeed, many people find that the symptoms of dry eye bother them in different levels of severity. However, there are some hallmark signs of this condition that can give you an indication that you might need to visit a doctor, such as itching, burning, stinging, or gritty feelings. Other symptoms are:
- Excessively watering eyes, though this seems paradoxical
- Redness around the eyes or in the eyes themselves
- Episodes of blurred vision that come and go quickly
- General discomfort or the need to rub your eyes regularly
- Stickiness around the eyes
All of these symptoms can make it very difficult for people to accomplish their typical daily activities, from reading to regularly using a computer. In fact, some people find that they struggle to drive at night, while others are unable to spend prolonged periods of time in areas that are exposed to a lot of bright light or cold weather.
Jennifer commented that the issues that often made her condition worse were frequently related to the environment. For instance, if she visited the beach her dry eye symptoms would get worse, and the presence of pollen could be something of a nightmare. She recalled that she would wake up with swollen and irritated eyes that itched for a long time. It was something that she dealt with all day. She also noted that she used to have a great deal of trouble reading computer screens and TV scripts. All of these problems are part of what led her to begin using eye drops.
Frequently, she found that she was having trouble during photo shoots and film sets because of the presence of makeup and lights. Many a time, she was forced to take a break because her eyes were so red and itchy.
Many People Don’t Know About Dry Eye
According to Jennifer Aniston, there are people in the world, including her until recently, that simply didn’t know that dry eye was an issue that someone could experience. She had assumed that she knew exactly what was going on with her health, but she noted that although she went to the doctor and dentist regularly, she didn’t really think much about her eye health.
While chronic dry eye syndrome can exist on its own, it is also regularly linked to other medical conditions and medications. Indeed, almost every medication used to treat depression, blood pressure, irregular heart beats, and lower cholesterol are associated with dry eye problems. Because of the various hormonal changes that take place, dry eye is also a serious side effect of the stages that lead up to menopause. Wearing contact lenses can increase your risk, or just make your pre-existing problems with dry eye even worse. What’s more, dry eye frequently occurs in people who suffer from rosacea of the eyelids, blepharitis, and more. Inflammation is also a significant factor. Over time, people who suffer from dry eye syndrome often find that the inflammation gets worse and worse. Experts think that various lifestyle habits, such as extra screen time and exposure to medication, dry eye has become much more common than before.
Using Eye Drops Excessively Isn’t the Solution
Relying on eye drops as a way to fight off the symptoms of dry eye in the way that Aniston did isn’t a good solution to the problem. Most of the time, these medicated drops work by constricting the blood vessels in and around the eye itself. Although this process can be effective as a short term solution, it actually reduces blood flow to the eyes over time and creates a dependence or addiction. When this happens, you’ll have to take more drops just to get the same amount of relief that you experienced in the first place. While the drops can reduce your discomfort for a few seconds, you will need to use it more often. Over the years of relying upon eye drops so significantly, Aniston found that her dry eye condition just got increasingly worse.
What’s the Solution?
So what should people who suffer from dry eye do? Most experts suggest that the first step is simply talking to your eye doctor and finding out what’s going on with your vision. In this case, you’ll be able to rule out other problems and receive a proper diagnosis and treatment strategy. If you do suffer from a dry eye condition and the problems are mild, then the most common remedy is generally to use artificial tears, which can help to rehydrate the eyes without using ingredients that you can end up getting addicted to. Doctors also might recommend that you consider taking certain supplements that will help to improve the overall health of your eyes and the Meibomian glands responsible for helping to produce tears.
In the case of Jennifer Aniston, she was advised to use artificial tears instead of eye drops. She found that this worked wonders for her comfort, and she said that now that she has weaned herself off the eye drops, she is experiencing an almost constant state of relief. Other options for treatment that might be suggested by your doctor could include minor surgery and prescription medication.
When it comes to eye health in general, many people like Jennifer Aniston find that they simply don’t pay as much attention to their eyes as they do other aspects of their health. However, a good diagnosis from your doctor can help to change that condition. Learning what is causing the discomfort in your eyes is the first step in finding a solution.
It’s worth noting that just about anyone can suffer from dry eye. This problem can be caused by a number of environmental and biological factors, including changes in hormones that women experience after menopause, exposure to common medications that reduce tear secretions, and even as a result of autoimmune problems like lupus.
Resources and References:
- Jennifer Aniston on Dry Eyes – An interview with Jennifer Aniston about her dry eye condition and how she found out about it (Health.com)
- EyeLove – Information on life with chronic dry eye syndrome and how to help dry eyes (MyEyeLove.com)
- Jennifer Aniston on Battling Dry Eyes and the New Herb She Thinks You Should Try – Interview with Jennifer Aniston on her dry eye condition (Glamour.com)