Dry eye is a common condition in which there is a lack of adequate lubrication to your eyes to be healthy and comfortable. Lubrication to the eyes is provided by tears.
The tear film is made up of three layers
- Oily layer or fatty oils
- Mucus layer
- Watery layer or aqueous fluid
Anything that disrupts the healthy tear film can lead to dry eye.
Dry eyes can be caused by many reasons including:
- Decreased tear production
- Increased tear evaporation
- Autoimmune disease
- Inflammation in eye glands
- Being in smoke, wind or dry climate
- Looking at the computer screen for a long time
- Refractive surgery
- Hormone changes
- Certain disease like thyroid, lupus
- Certain medications
Symptoms of dry eyes include:
- Eye redness
- Burning sensation in eyes
- Blurred vision
- Eye puffiness
- Watery eyes
- Eye discomfort
- Eye fatigue
- Scratchy feeling
- Difficulty to wear contact lenses
Diagnostic procedures to determine the cause of dry eyes include:
- Eye exam
- Various tests to measure:
- Quality of tears
- Thickness of tears
- Volume of tears
- Tear osmolarity
Once affected by dry eyes, find out the situations in which it gets worse and avoid them.
- Avoid the use of hair dryers or anything that can blow air into your eyes
- Use humidifiers to moisten the air indoors
- Stay away from very warm rooms
- Take eye breaks from activities that require visual concentration
- Add omega 3 fatty acid contents to your diet
- Avoid smoking
- Take good care in environments like desert areas and aeroplanes. It is good to frequently close your eyes in such situations to reduce quick evaporation of tears.
Treatment methods for dry eyes include:
- Eye drops that act as artificial tears to provide adequate lubrication to your eyes.
- Blocking tear ducts helps in reducing quick evaporation of tears.
- Medications such as drugs to reduce and control inflammations and tear stimulating drugs can be used to treat the condition.
- Treating dry eye culprits or the underlying cause such as changing medications that are likely to cause the condition, help in providing adequate lubrication to the eyes.
- Special contact lenses are also available in treating dry eyes.
- Light therapy followed by eyelid massage is used in people with severe dry eyes.
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