March 04 2021
What is dry eye syndrome and what are the causes?
In a healthy eye, the tear film consists of three layers namely: fatty oils, mucus, and aqueous fluid, which as a whole helps in keeping your eye surface lubricated and safe from harmful microorganisms. If any problem occurs in any of the layers, it will result in having dry eyes. There are a lot of reasons behind your tear glands and ducts getting disrupted. These include hormonal changes or imbalance, allergic eye disease, autoimmune diseases, etc, or simply in some cases, decreased tear production or evaporation. Researches have shown that more than 50% of adults suffer from acute dry eye syndrome and the most common cause of which is MGD or Meibomian gland dysfunction which decreases the tear content of your eyes.
The common reasons include:
- Eyelid infection or Blepharitis
- Sometimes it happens with age, especially menopause
- Antihistamines or other drugs may also promote this syndrome
- Other diseases that disrupt the ability to form tears like Rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome, other vascular diseases
- Long term wear of contact lenses
- Vitamin A deficiency or exposure keratitis
Commonly found symptoms of dry eye syndrome are:
- Burning in the eyes
- Persistent or frequent pain
- Redness around the cornea
- Blurred vision
- A feeling of having sand or particles stuck in your eye
- A feeling of eyes becoming heavy
- Excessive tearing
- Sore and sensitive eyes
- Itchy sensation
- Inflammation and permanent damage to the eye
How to prevent it?
Some useful home remedies to prevent this:
- Taking the help of natural tears by lubricating your eyes by yourself. Use a humidifier to keep retain moisture in your rooms and to prevent dry climates. Also, it is advised that you should avoid direct air blowing into your eyes from objects like fans, air conditioners, hairdryers, etc.
- Use protective eyewear or wraparound sunglasses if you are riding a bike or when you go out for blocking dust, wind, or air into your eye which can further dry the surface of your eye and make it worse. Also, this increases the chances of developing another condition called photophobia which means the abnormal sensitivity to light.
- Apply warm compresses to your eyes. This will help with the irritation, loosen the clogged oils, and make your eyes moist. Wet a clean cloth with warm water and place it over closed eyes after wringing it out for a few minutes. This will reduce the inflammation and make you feel relieved too.
- Quit smoking and avoid smoke as among other health complications, it will worsen your dry eye symptoms.
- Cleaning the eyelids and eyelashes with clean water more often. Avoid wearing too much eye-makeup and make sure to cleanse it off using a mild cleanser or a little amount of baby shampoo. Consider cleaning your eyes more often with plain water after sitting in front of the computer and working for too long.
- Rest your eyes, they need a break too. The blue light generating from your computer mobile or television screen is highly detrimental to your eyes and health. Moreover, inefficient blinking can also make your eyes surface dry and the layer of lipids to evaporate more easily.
- Add vitamin A, D, and B supplements to your diet. Consider taking multivitamin supplements or a balanced diet to support vitamin deficiency. It has also been seen that a lack of Vitamins A, B, D has been linked to getting more prone to this syndrome.
- Choose soft contacts over hard lenses: Soft lenses keep your eyes moist, allows your eyes to breathe, and can be worn for a long period, unlike hard contacts.
- Supplements for preventing it: Omega-3 fatty acids or salmon fish oil help in protecting your eyes from dry eye syndrome and macular degeneration. It also promotes proper drainage of the intraocular fluid from the eye which prevents high eye pressure, glaucoma, and total blindness. For added health benefits like cardiovascular health, brain health, healthy skin, strong bones, etc, you should try Alvizia’s Omega-3 fish oil today.
Glucosamine Chondroitin supplements: Besides aiding in osteoarthritis treatments, it also helps in preventing dry eye syndrome. Take 3 capsules daily or as directed by your physician.
Factors that might increase the risk of having dry eyes:
- Poor quality of tears
- Age or gender; women at the onset of menopause are more prone to this
- Environmental factors like smoke wind or a dry atmosphere
- Contact lens usage for a prolonged period
- Use of birth control or antihistamines
- Lasik or other eye surgeries
- Stress or hectic work schedules with too much strain on your eye
- Diabetes, arthritis, or thyroid problems
The general medications prescribed by a doctor for treating dry eye and their purposes:
Talk to your physician as home remedies can prevent you or treat temporary or mild instances of this disorder if this persists you need to talk to your ophthalmologist as soon as possible. Some common medications which are available in the market (and which must be consumed only when prescribed) are discussed below:
Medicines like Restasis and lifitegrast (Xiidra) are prescribed by doctors for generating artificial tears, lubricating the eye surface, reducing inflammation associated with your dry eye syndrome. It induced the generation of natural tears to keep your eyes healthy.
Steroid eye drops are also given if artificial eye drops don’t address the inflammatory changes. These are often given along with the aforementioned drugs. However if not used according to proper dosage, this might have significant side effects like eye cataracts, high eye pressure, etc.
Lacrisert by Bausch and Lomb is a sterile and slow-release lubricant that helps in providing an all-day moistening effect to your eyes. It works by placing it under the eyelid. Some other medicines include LipiFlow, Punctual plugs, and so on.
Talk to your physician as home remedies can prevent you or treat temporary or mild instances of this disorder if this persists you need to consult and talk to your ophthalmologist as soon as possible before taking any step.