In dry eyes, the eyes doesn’t produce enough tears or you aren’t able to maintain a normal layer of tears to coat the eyes. As a result, the eyes cannot eliminate dust and other irritants. This can lead to the following symptoms:
- • stinging
- • burning
- • pain
- • redness
Reading extensively, working on the computer, or spending long hours in a dry environment may further aggravate dry eyes. In dry eyes, the eyes may also be prone to bacterial infections or the surface of the eyes may become inflamed, causing scarring on the cornea. Although it’s uncomfortable, dry eye syndrome almost never causes permanent vision loss.
The most common symptoms are burning, pain, and redness in the eyes. Other common symptoms include watery tearing or stringy mucus in the eyes. You may find that the eyes get tired faster than they used to or that you have difficulty reading or sitting at the computer for long periods. The feeling of having sand in the eyes and blurry vision are common.
Tears have three layers. There’s the oily outer layer, the watery middle layer, and the inner mucus layer. If the glands that produce the various elements of the tears are inflamed or don’t produce enough water, oil, or mucus, it can lead to dry eye syndrome. When oil is missing from the tears, they quickly evaporate and the eyes cannot maintain a steady supply of moisture.
The causes of dry eye syndrome include:
- • hormone replacement therapy
- • exposure to the wind or dry air, such as constant exposure to a heater during the winter
- • allergies
- • some medications, including antihistamines, nasal decongestants, birth control pills, and antidepressants
- • aging
- • long-term contact lens wear
- • staring at a computer for long hours
- • not blinking enough
Dry eye syndrome is more common in people age 50 and older. Women who are pregnant, on hormone replacement therapy, or going through menopause are more at risk. The following underlying conditions can also increase the risk:
- • chronic allergies
- • thyroid disease or other conditions that push the eyes forward
- • lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and other immune system disorders
- • exposure keratitis, which occurs from sleeping with the eyes partially open
- • vitamin A deficiency, which is unlikely if you get sufficient nutrition
If the eyes feel dry and you suddenly find yourself unable to see as well as you used to, visit an ophthalmologist right away. After describing the symptoms, you’ll likely undergo tests that examine the amount of tears in the eyes, such as a slit lamp, or biomicroscope, exam of the tears. For this test, the doctor will use a dye such as fluorescein to make the tear film on the eyes more visible.
A Schirmer’s test may also be used to measure how quickly the eyes produce tears. This tests the rate of tear production using a paper wick placed on the edge of the eyelid.
- • Artificial Tears
Eye drops that increase the eye moisture are among the most common treatments for dry eye syndrome.
- • Lacrimal Plugs
The eye doctor might use plugs to block the drainage holes in the corners of the eyes. This is a relatively painless, reversible procedure that slows tear loss. If the condition is severe, the plugs may be recommended as a permanent solution.
- • Medications
The medication most commonly prescribed for dry eye syndrome is an anti-inflammatory. The drug increases the amount of tears in the eyes and lowers the risk of damage to the cornea. If the case of dry eye is severe, you may need to use corticosteroid eye drops for a short time while the medication takes effect. Alternative medications include cholinergics such as pilocarpine. These medications help stimulate tear production.
- • Nutrition
You need a well-balanced diet with enough protein and vitamins to keep the eyes healthy. Omega-3 essential fatty acid supplements are sometimes recommended to enhance the oil content of the eye. Usually, people need to take these supplements regularly for at least three months to see an improvement.
- • Surgery
If you have severe dry eye syndrome and it doesn’t go away with other treatments, the doctor may recommend surgery. The drainage holes at the inner corners of the eyes may be permanently plugged to allow the eyes to maintain an adequate amount of tears.
- • Home Care
If you tend to have dry eyes, use a humidifier to increase moisture in the room and avoid dry climates. Limit the contact lens wear and the time you spend in front of the computer or television.
Dry eye syndrome usually doesn’t permanently affect the vision. You can considerably decrease the discomfort with treatment.
Why choose us?
At AGRAWAL EYE HOSPITAL we have an expert team of talented and skilled doctors who have an access to the latest diagnostic and surgical modalities. Combining the conventional treatment methods along with a correct blend of modern outlook helps us treat patients with dry eyes more efficiently. Please feel free to contact us for any further queries or doubts. We are always glad to help you.