We all have our mountains to climb in life, but some are more literal than others. Just ask Lisa Thompson, the second American woman to climb the K2 mountain in Northern Pakistan, the world’s most difficult summit.

In only a few short years, the renowned mountaineer has added Mount Everest, Tharke Khang, and Denali to her list of conquered summits. But climbing K2, commonly referred to as the ‘savage mountain’ due to its dangerous ascent and extreme weather conditions, presented its own set of challenges.

“In the mountain climbing world, summiting K2 is like competing in the World Cup,” says Thompson. “It’s in a league of its own and even more challenging than Everest.”

Conquering the savage mountain

Located on the border of China and Pakistan, K2 is 8,611 metres above sea level and notorious for its bad weather. The mountain often sees extreme storms, freezing temperatures, and howling winds, making it impossible to ascend outside of the summer months. It’s so difficult to climb that about one in four perish on their journey to the top.

The winds were so strong that even an experienced climber like Thompson had challenges. While chapped skin and dry eyes might not seem like life-threatening conditions, the two are incredibly painful at high altitudes and distract from the job at hand — staying alive on the top of the world’s most dangerous mountain.
To combat the elements and remedy her blurry vision and dry, uncomfortable eyes, Thompson used her secret weapon: artificial tears.

“With the wind whipping in my face, my eyes tend to dry out and makes it harder to see. If I’m climbing at 7,000 metres, I can’t afford to have any sense, especially my vision, compromised,” says Thompson. “My eye doctor recommended SYSTANE® COMPLETE Lubricant Eye Drops for the climb, which made my dry eye a non-issue on K2.”

Dry eye occurs when your eyes don’t produce enough tears, or when they produce tears without the proper chemical composition. Common symptoms of dry eye can include burning, stinging, gritty, scratchy, or uncomfortable eyes, fluctuating vision, and feeling like something is in the eye.

No time for dry eye

According to Dr. Judy Parks of the Ancaster Eye Clinic, experiencing dry eye isn’t limited to those who participate in extreme sports, like Thompson. In fact, between increased screen time and longer workdays, dry eye is becoming one of the most common conditions seen by Canadian optometrists.

“Dry eye is a chronic condition and can’t be cured. It can be caused by things like hormonal changes or the weather, but it can also be caused by spending significant time staring at TV, computer, phone, gaming, and tablet screens,” says Dr. Parks.

“However, what many people don’t realize is that there isn’t just one type of dry eye. There are actually three major types, but most eye drops on the market are only designed to treat one,” she says.

“By comparison, SYSTANE® COMPLETE is an all-in-one drop for all types of dry eye that provides hydration and lasting protection for optimal dry eye relief.”
For Thompson, the relief was real.

“Whether you’re trying to summit K2 or cooking dinner for your family, there is no time to be bothered by dry eye symptoms,” she says. “I suffered for months, not knowing that the cause of my poor vision and uncomfortable eyes was dry eye. SYSTANE® COMPLETE Lubricant Eye Drops makes choosing the right eye drop easy because it’s suitable for all kinds of dry eye conditions, and the relief I feel with SYSTANE® COMPLETE is real. It’s important that we’re all advocates for our health and that we continue to seek out the people who understand our challenges and can help us get through them.”

Speak to your eye care professional to determine if you have dry eyes. You can find SYSTANE® COMPLETE at your local pharmacy for dry eye relief.

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