NT-Twin-2013The wind in your face! It’s a major reason some people ride motorcycles and many bikers are disinclined to do too much to block the wind, beyond wearing eye protection such as sunglasses or face shields (mostly to deflect bugs, dust and flying rocks). According to water and eye researcher Sharon Kleyne, even with sunglasses and face shields, motorcycle and ORV riding may lead to a condition called “biker’s dry eye” or “motorcycle dry eye.”

Kleyne recently reported on several ways to prevent this condition.

Sharon Kleyne is Founder of Bio Logic Aqua Research, a water and health research and product development center. Natures Tears® EyeMist® is the Research Center’s global signature product for dry eyes, dry eyelids and motorcycle dry eye. Kleyne also hosts the globally syndicated Sharon Kleyne Hour Power of Water® radio show on VoiceAmerica and Apple iTunes.

Kleyne’s recommendations regarding biker’s dry eye were made in conjunction with. Philip Paden, MD, the Bio Logic Aqua Research Medical Director. Paden is an ophthalmologist and a former instructor at Cornell University. He is also a former professional motorcycle racer who has been riding for 40 years and is an authority on motorcycle eye protection and motorcycle dry eye.

According to Kleyne and Paden, motorcycle dry eye primarily occurs when wind increases the pressure on water at or near the surface of the eyes and eyelids, to evaporate into the atmosphere. As a result of this moisture loss, riders frequently complain of eye irritation, discomfort or fatigue, blurred vision, watery eyes, headaches and feelings of stress. Sunglasses and face shields may not offer adequate eye protection because other dehydrating factors also play a role. The tear film that covers and protecting our eyes is 98% water.

Winter is the worst season for motorcycle dry eye because colder air is not able to hold as much humidity/water vapor as warmer air. This increases the drying effect.

Factors other than wind that can cause dry eye symptoms include: Alcohol and drug consumption, many medications) pollen, dust, cigarette smoke, air pollution, extreme heat or cold, high elevation, solar radiation, road glare, low humidity, exhaust fumes and much more. The dehydrating effect of wind on the eyes is heightened when other factors are present, for example, if the rider has recently been drinking beer in a smoke-filled room.

Kleyne and Paden offer the following eye care and eye protection suggestions for motorcyclists and ORV riders:

1.     Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day in addition to all other fluid intake. Lukewarm water is less likely to make you go to the bathroom.
2.    Apply cold, wet eye compresses after riding, to soothe eye irritation and wash out irritants.
3.    Take frequent rests stops in which you close your eyes for a few minutes.
4.    Use both face shields and sunglasses. Road glare and solar radiation are extremely dehydrating and sunglasses help a lot. Face shields, when well designed and worn properly, can trap breath moisture to help keep eyes hydrated.
5.    Avoid cigarette smoke and alcohol.
6.    Take a long, steamy bath on arrival home.
7.    Avoid rubbing the eyes when they are tired or irritated.
8.    Don’t forget to blink while riding. Twenty to 30 blinks a minute is normal but the intense concentration or motorcycle riding can drop this to 3 or 4 times a minute.
9.    Carry an all-natural, pure water eye wash or eye mist.

To maintain tear film moisture, Kleyne recommends the daily use of Nature’s Tears® EyeMist® from Bio Logic Aqua Research. When specific dry eye symptoms occur, such as burning or itching eyes, blurred vision or feelings of stress, she suggests increasing the number of daily applications. The pure water mist is 100% safe and may be applied as often as desired.