Could performing a particular breathing technique help dry eye sufferers produce more tears? New research published in Ocular Surface suggests that reduced tear secretion may be partly caused by an imbalance in the autonomic nervous system (made up of both the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems). The sympathetic system is responsible for regulating cardiovascular functions while the parasympathetic system controls the relaxation process.
Twenty Japanese women between the ages of 20 and 54 were recruited for the small study. Each participant was to visit the research lab on two separate occasions. Upon the first visit, half of the subjects were asked to breathe in their normal manner for a few minutes. The other half were assigned to breathe abdominally (a specific ‘belly’ breathing technique that involves inhaling for four seconds and exhaling for six) for three minutes. Each subject performed the opposite breathing technique during their second visit to the lab. Tear volume was measured on each occasion before and after breathing sessions and then again at the 15 and 30 minute marks.
The results showed that tear volume increased nearly 50% within 15 minutes of the slow, abdominal breathing sessions compared with the ‘normal’ breathing sessions. Study authors suggest that the slow, mindful breathing might help to restore autonomic control and, in turn, improve the volume of tears. However, no significant increase in tear volume was observed directly after the abdominal breathing.
At Envision Optical we are great believers in preventative health and wellness, however we believe the best way to determine the cause of dry eyes is to have a comprehensive dry eye assessment at one of our dry eye centers.
Around 75% of dry eyes is preventable, and the treatment options are much greater than eye drops and deep breathing. Once dry eye is diagnosed the Optometrists at Envision Optical can recommend the appropriate treatment program.
If you think you are suffering from dry eye make an appointment for a dry eye assessment at any of our four Gold Coast locations or book on line below.