Dry Eye

Signs and Symptoms to Look Out For and how to deal with the condition

What Is Dry Eye?

Insufficient quantity and/or quality of tears caused by ageing, the environment, hormonal changes, or disease. This condition produces pain and discomfort in the eyes. Dry eye may occur in any disorder that scars the cornea (such as erythema multiform), Sjögren syndrome, lagophthalmos, RileyDay syndrome, the absence of one or both of the lacrimal glands, paralysis of the facial or trigeminal nerves, medication with atropine, and deep anaesthesia. Suitably prepared water-soluble polymers are effective in treating this condition

Signs and Symptoms 

Signs and symptoms, which usually affect both eyes, may include:

  • A stinging, burning or scratchy sensation in your eyes
  • Stringy mucus in or around your eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Eye redness
  • A sensation of having something in your eyes
  • Difficulty wearing contact lenses
  • Difficulty with nighttime driving
  • Watery eyes, which is the body’s response to the irritation of dry eyes
  • Blurred vision or eye fatigue

Causes

Sometimes, there’s a lack of balance in your tear-flow system. This may be caused by your air conditioner, heater, or other things around you could dry out your tear film. Other causes include:

  • The natural ageing process, especially menopause
  • Side effects of certain drugs like antihistamines
  • Diseases that affect your ability to make tears, like Jorgen’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, and collagen vascular diseases
  • Problems that don’t allow your eyelids to close the way they should

Treatment of Dry Eyes

There are a number of options. Ask your eye doctor what to do. Treatments include:

Artificial tear drops and ointments. This is the most common treatment. Many types of drops are available over the counter. No one product works for everyone, so you might have to try a few to figure out the one that’s right for you. If you have chronic dry eye, you need to use the drops even when your eyes feel fine, or they won’t stay wet enough. If your eyes dry out while you sleep, you can use a thick product, like an ointment, at night. You might think about sleeping with airtight goggles on. They’ll create a mini “moisture chamber” for your eyes.

Prevention of Dry Eyes

If you experience dry eyes, pay attention to the situations that are most likely to cause your symptoms. Then find ways to avoid those situations in order to prevent your dry eyes symptoms. For instance:

  • Avoid air blowing in your eyes. Don’t direct hair dryers, car heaters, air conditioners or fans toward your eyes.
  • Add moisture to the air. In winter, a humidifier can add moisture to dry indoor air.
  • Consider wearing wraparound sunglasses or other protective eyewear. Safety shields can be added to the tops and sides of eyeglasses to block wind and dry air. Ask about shields where you buy your eyeglasses.
  • Take eye breaks during long tasks. If you’re reading or doing another task that requires visual concentration, take periodic eye breaks. Close your eyes for a few minutes or blink repeatedly for a few seconds to help spread your tears evenly over your eyes.
  • Be aware of your environment. The air at high altitudes, in desert areas and in airplanes can be extremely dry. When spending time in such an environment, it may be helpful to frequently close your eyes for a few minutes at a time to minimize evaporation of your tears.
  • Position your computer screen below eye level. If your computer screen is above eye level, you’ll open your eyes wider to view the screen. Position your computer screen below eye level so that you won’t open your eyes as wide. This may help slow the evaporation of your tears between eye blinks.
  • Stop smoking and avoid smoke. If you smoke, ask your doctor for help devising a quit-smoking strategy that’s most likely to work for you. If you don’t smoke, stay away from people who do. Smoke can worsen dry eyes symptoms.
  • Use artificial tears regularly. If you have chronic dry eyes, use eye drops even when your eyes feel fine to keep them well-lubricated.

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