Dry Eye syndrome is a condition in which the eyes are unable to maintain the normal layer of tears. According to ophthalmologists, this is due to the lack of production of the adequate amount of tears.
The tear film is very important for the eyes as it prevents the eye from dust and other bacterial infections, avoiding burning, itching sensation. It consists of three layers,
- Oily Layer forms an outer part of the tear film and is made in meibomian gland. It keeps the eye surface smooth and prevents it from drying up quickly.
- The watery layer is situated in the middle part of the tear film and is made in lacrimal glands in the eyelids. Its function is to keep the eyes clean from all other particles that do not belong to the eye.
- Mucus layer is in the inner part of the tear film and is made in the conjunctiva. It helps to stick the tears on eye surface and help to spread the watery layer.
Consult your ophthalmologist whenever you start facing the dry eye symptoms. However uncomfortable it might be, this syndrome may never lead to permanent eye loss.
Causes of Dry Eye
The causes of Dry Eye Syndrome may vary,
- Medications like antihistamines, nasal decongestants, antidepressants, and drugs for high blood pressure, acne, birth control and Parkinson’s disease
- Medical conditions like diabetes, thyroid disorders, rheumatoid arthritis,
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Prolonged wear of contact lenses
- Low blinking rate
- Wind, smoke or dry air
Symptoms of Dry Eye
Some of the common symptoms experienced are as follows,
- Problem in wearing contact lenses
- Problem in driving at night
- Eye Fatigue
- Blurred Vision
- Reddening of eyes
- Light sensitivity
- Burning or scratchy sensation in eyes
- Heavy and sore eyes
- Watery tearing
- Stringy mucus in eyes
Treatment of Dry Eye
- Artificial Tears
This is the best treatment recommended by ophthalmologists in the mild dry eye cases caused by prolonged computer use, reading etc. These are available in a wide variety of ingredients and viscosity. Artificial tears with low viscosity are light and watery. They provide quick relief but their effect is short lived. Alternately, tears with high viscosity are gel-like lubricants that give long lasting relief but may cause blurring.
Consult your ophthalmologist before you switch the brand of an artificial tear as different ingredients determine their suitability as per different eye conditions.
- Autologous Blood Serum Drops
These are the eyedrops made from one’s own blood. These are used when one faces extreme dry eye symptoms and there is no way out.
- Drugs Stimulating Tears
Drugs that help to increase tear production are available in the form of a pill, gel or eyedrops. Example: Cholinergic
It is a type of eyedrop that can control inflammation on the surface of eyes. It helps the body to produce more natural tears in order to keep them moist and healthy.
However, one must use drops for minimum 90 days to have an effect.
- Eyelid Inflammation Reducing Drugs
Ophthalmologist might recommend one with drugs to reduce the inflammation along the edge of eyelids which prevents the oil glands from secreting oil into one’s tears. These are often used along with artificial tears and Restasis for long term treatment.
If used for extended period of time might result in high eye pressure or cataract.
- Punctal Plugs
Punctal Plug is a device that is placed at the small opening of tear drainage duct which helps tears to remain on the surface for a longer duration.
- Nutritional Supplements
A nutritional diet containing omega 3 fatty acids can decrease dry eye symptoms. Non-vegetarians can go for cold water fish (salmon, sardines), whereas vegetarians may go for flaxseed oil, Also drinking a lot of water gives some relief.
Home Remedies for Dry Eye
- Washing eyelids to remove bacteria
- Thoroughly removing makeup from eyelids and lashes
- Using computers with precaution and taking proper interval breaks
- Blinking more often
- Wearing quality lenses and eyeglasses