Dry Eye Syndrome: Understanding the common Eye disorder

Tears are essential for our eye to stay healthy.  A film of tear spreads evenly over the eyeballs everytime we blink our eyes. The tears help in maintaining the smooth and clear surface of the eye. For having a good vision, the film of tear is essential. Sometimes our eyes fail to make enough tears or one or more layer of the tear film is affected which leads to the condition called dry eyes. Here is everything you need to know about this disorder.

What is dry eye syndrome?

Dry eye syndrome is also called Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca. It is a common defect of the eye where the eyes are not lubricated adequately due to the lack of tear production. There is chronic lack of moisture and sufficient lubrication on the surface of the eye. It results in subtle yet constant irritation of the eye along with inflammation. It could eventually lead to scarring of the eye.

Dry Eye Syndrome: Understanding the common Eye disorder
Woman dripping eye drops to man

Dry eye is usually felt in certain conditions like in an air-conditioned room, on an airplane, when you’re gazing at a screen for long or while riding bikes. This condition usually affects people over the age of 40 years and is mostly seen in women than men. The term ocular surface disease and dysfunctional tear syndrome is also used for the defect.

Related Article: Dry Eye Syndrome: Are Dry Eyes A Cause For Concern?

When to see a doctor?

According to Lafayette Optometrist, Dr. Durocher, you should make an immediate visit to the doctor if you are suffering from any of the following symptoms:

  • Itchy eyes
  • Burning sensation in eyes
  • Sore eyes
  • Dry sensation in the eye
  • Fatigued eyes
  • Heavy sensation in eyes
  • Aching sensations
  • Blurred vision
  • Red eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Difficulty in wearing contact lenses
  • Trouble in nighttime driving
  • Presence of stringy mucus in and around the eyes

Some people also have the sensation of having some object or material in the eyes called the foreign body sensation. Even too much watering of the eyes could be a symptom of dry eyes as it is a reflex reaction of the eye to the drying.

What is dry eye syndrome?

Causes of dry eye syndrome

Our tears are a mixture of water, fatty oils, and mucus. This mixture is essential for keeping the surface of the eyes smooth and moist and preventing infection.

  • Decreased production of tears: One of the reasons for this condition is the inadequate production of tears by the eyes. The common causes are
  • Medical conditions like diabetes, vitamin A deficiency, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, scleroderma, thyroid disorders and Sjogren’s syndrome.
  • Some drugs or medications like antidepressants, antihistamines, hormone replacement therapy, decongestants and drugs for birth control, high blood pressure, Parkinson’s disease and acne.
  • It can also be a side effect of laser eye surgery.
  • Damage to the tear gland due to radiation or inflammation.
  • Increased evaporation of tears: Reasons of evaporation of the tears include wind or dry air, blinking less often and concentrating while reading or driving
  • Problems in the eyelids like turning out or in of the eyelids.
  • The imbalanced composition of tears: If any of the three components of the tears, oil, water or fatty acids are not secreted in the right amount it could lead to the condition called dry eye syndrome.

Related Article: Dry Eyes Syndrome: Causes, Risk factors, and Treatment

Treatment

The cause and severity of the condition can profoundly affect the success of the treatment. The available treatment options have successfully provided eye comfort, reduced symptoms, and better vision. You will be well evaluated by your doctor before the procedure is determined.

  • Artificial Tears: In people with mild cases of dry eyes the use of artificial tears or lubricating eye drops can be very efficient. Eye drops are available in different brands and can also be purchased over the counter. The effect of the eye drops are instant but are short-lived. Hence it should be used frequently.
  • Restasis: It is a prescribed eye drop that your doctor might provide you instead of the artificial tears. It reduces the inflammation along with the lubrication.
  • Steroid eye drops: These eye drops are preferred over the other eye drops as they very quickly manage the symptoms and decrease the inflammation. They also help in reducing the risk of cataract and high eye pressure.
  • Nutritional supplements: Certain supplements can help cure this condition. Omega 3 fatty acids have successfully decreased the dry eye symptoms. Drinking more water has also proven to be helpful.

The dry eyes syndrome can cause permanent damage or scarring to the surface of eyes. So if you are suffering from any of the symptoms, book an appointment with your eye doctor today!

References:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dry_eye_syndrome
  2. https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-is-dry-eye
  3. http://opmt.com/education/dry-eye/

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