Tears are clear liquids secreted by the lacrimal glands that help to lubricate the eyes, remove irritants, and provide immunity to the eyes. Normally, the glands produce tears to provide a layer of coating for the eye and the absence of this salty liquid feels uncomfortable and can cause pain in the eye.
What Are The Causes Of Dry Eye Syndrome?
Tears form a coating around the surface of the eye, every time we weblink. It consists of three layers, where each of the layers serves a different purpose. The outside oily layer makes the surface of the tears smooth and prevents the tears from drying up.
The middle watery layer washes away the irritants. Finally, the inner mucus layer keeps the eye moist. Problems arising with any of these layers can cause dry eyes. The reasons may include
👀 hormone changes
👀 vitamin A deficiency
👀 omega 3 deficiency
👀 LASIK surgery
👀 meibomian gland dysfunction
👀 prolonged wearing of contact lenses
👀 prolonged exposure to dust wind, or heat
👀 long screen time and not blinking enough
👀 certain medications like antidepressants medicines,
👀 hormone therapy, antihistamines, and blood pressure tablets
👀 Long exposure to tobacco
What Is Dry Eye Syndrome?
Dry eye syndrome or keratoconjunctivitis sicca is a condition in which the lacrimal glands in the eyes cannot produce enough tears or the tears are not able to maintain a layer of coating around the eyes. This instability can cause inflammation and damage to the surface of the eye.
Dry eyes are common in people over the age of 50. Although dry eyes are seen in men, it is more common in women. This is because pregnancy and menopause can increase the risk of getting dry eyes. People with conditions like chronic allergies, thyroid disease, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis are also at risk.
Dry Eye Syndrome Symptoms
Symptoms usually begin with mild discomfort like itchy, inflamed, or irritated eyes. Everyone can experience this once in a while but when these discomforts last more than a week, these might be symptoms arising from dry eyes.
👀 Stingy mucus
👀 tiring eyes
👀 difficulty in reading
👀 scratchy eyes
👀 gravelly feeling in the eye
👀 night dryness
👀 discomfort in opening eyes in the morning
👀 sense of foreign material in the eye
👀 frequent blurred vision, and excessive mucus
Eye pain is perhaps the most draining of the symptoms. Sometimes the pain is too extreme to open the eyes. Redness is another common symptom. People with dry eyes have been said to have some level of redness in their eyes.
The symptoms do not necessarily mean dry eye syndrome in the beginning and it is important to see a doctor if the symptoms persist for more than a week. So it is essential for a proper diagnosis before we go for treatment. If given the wrong medicines, the condition may worsen.
A comprehensive eye examination including the overall health and eye health can help doctors to diagnose dry eye syndrome. Measuring the volume of tears by Schirmer test and red phenol test are also used for the diagnosis. In addition, a tear osmolarity test and tests to determine the quality of tears are the other diagnosis methods.
Now that the diagnosis has shown the possibility of dry eyes, it is important to consider methods to treat the disease.
✔ Eye Drops
If you are suffering from a mild dry eye, doctors are going to prescribe you eye drops called artificial tears. This helps to keep the eye moist. Some moisturizers and ointments serve the same purpose. These can be bought even without a doctor’s prescription.
For a more serious issue, the doctor will prescribe medicines like cyclosporine or liftegrast. These help the eyes to produce more tears. For inflammations, anti-inflammatory drugs can be used.
✔Using Tear Plugs
Putting a special plug known as a punctual plug in the eye’s tear duct can help to keep the tears in the eyes. Often it is given to people whose tears drain off quickly.
If the lower eyelids are too loose, the doctor may suggest you go for surgery. The loose eyelids allow the tears to drain out quickly keeping the eyes dry
These changes in your lifestyle can bring about changes in the health of your eyes.
- Avoiding smoke, wind, and heat,
- limiting screen time,
- using humidifiers,
- wearing wraparound sunglasses when exposed to the sun,
- avoiding air conditioners,
- maintaining a healthy diet,
- staying hydrated,
- and getting an adequate amount of sleep
- Quitting smoking and taking omega 3 and vitamin A supplements
If the medicines you are presently taking cause dry eyes, the doctor may prescribe an alternative medicine
The eyes are one of the most important organs in our body. Dry eyes can cause complications by decreasing the quality of life. It would be difficult to go on with our everyday activities like reading and writing. Since it would be difficult to open the eyes and often face blurred vision-walking, driving, and even looking at something can be hard.
If you face the symptoms for more than a week it is important to consult a doctor as early as possible before trying out something on your own. Hear his take on whether the symptoms are due to dry eye syndrome or any other disease. Be regular with your medications and continue to follow a healthy lifestyle to bring back the health of your eyes.