What is Dry Eye Syndrome?
The condition where there are inadequate tears that helps in nourishing and lubricating the eye is termed as dry eye. The purpose of the tears is to provide clear vision along with preserve the health of the front eye surface. People suffering from this condition generally don’t have sufficient tears or are having bad quality tears. This chronic condition can be mostly seen in old age people.
Causes of Dry Eyes
Medical Conditions: People who are suffering from thyroid problems, arthritis, and diabetes have more chances of developing the symptoms of dry eyes. The condition of dry eyes can also develop if there is an inflammation of the surfaces of the eye, outward or inward turning of the eyelids and inflammation of the eyelids.
Gender: There are more chances for women to develop the condition of dry eyes. The factors that lead to dry eyes include the condition of menopause, hormonal changes due to pregnancy and the use of oral contraceptives.
Medications: There are certain medications that can decrease the number of tears in the eyes leading to the condition of dry eyes. These medications are decongestants, antidepressants, blood pressure medications and antihistamines.
Age: One of the major factors of dry eyes is the natural aging process. Elderly people who are between the age of 60-65 may experience the symptoms of dry eyes.
Environmental Conditions: Environmental factors such as dry climates, dry winds and exposure to smoke can ultimately lead to dry eyes. These environmental factors raise the tear evaporation that develops the symptoms of this condition. The long-term inability to blink regularly while looking at a computer screen is also one of the conditions of dry eyes.
Additional Factors: Over and long-term use of contact lenses can also attribute to the condition of dry eyes. LASIK is one of the refractive eye surgeries that can lessen dry eyes and tear production.
Dry Eyes Symptoms
- Sensitivity to light
- Scratchy, stinging or burning sensation in the eyes
- Eye redness
- The blurred vision gets worse by the end of the day or after focusing for a long period
- Increased eye irritation from wind or smoke
- Periods of excessive tearing
- Eye fatigue
- The problem is wearing contact lenses
- Stringy mucus in and around the eyes
- A sensation of having something in your eyes
Diagnosis of Dry Eyes
A complete eye examination is done in order to diagnose dry eye conditions. The tests are done to evaluate the quality and quantity of the tears that are created by the eyes including –
- An external examination of the eye is done that also includes blink dynamics and lid structure.
- The measurement of both quality and quantity of the tears is done to evaluate any kind of abnormalities. To thoroughly observe the tear flow, particular dyes can be put into the patient’s eyes. These dyes also emphasize on some changes on the outer surface of the eye due to insufficient tears.
- The history of the patient is evaluated in order to find out any symptoms of dry eyes and also the presence of health problems, environmental factors and medications which may have resulted in the problem of dry eyes.
- The evaluation of the cornea and the eyelids is done with the help of magnification and bright light.
Treatments for Dry Eyes Condition
This chronic condition can be treated by using different approaches such as –
Conserving the Tears: The approach is to maintain the natural tears in the eyes for a longer period in order to reduce the dry eye symptoms. The tear duct of the eye is blocked by which the tear drains. Gel-like plugs and small silicone plugs are used for blocking the tear duct. If required, the tear duct can also be removed. With the help of surgery, a tear duct can be permanently closed. In any case, the approach is to maintain the available tears in the eyes for a longer time in order to lessen the dry eye problem.
Treatment of ocular surface inflammation of the eyelid: The doctor may prescribe eye ointments, lid massage, warm compresses, eyelid cleaners and eye drops. This can help in reducing the inflammation around the eye surface.
Adding Tears: Artificial tear solutions can be used for managing mild cases of dry eye conditions. Artificial tear solutions can be used a number of times in order to increase the production of natural tears. To decrease the irritation of the eyes, a preservative-free artificial tear can be used that has the very least amount of additives. In some cases, the condition of dry eyes is persistent and they do not react to artificial tears. More approaches may also be required for treating dry eyes.
Increasing Tear Production: An optometrist may prescribe eye drops that help in increasing the production of tears. The omega-3 fatty acid can also be recommended which is a nutritional supplement.
Benefits of Dry Eyes Syndrome Treatments
- The treatments help in conserving the natural tears in the eyes.
- The treatments aim at increasing the production of tears in the eyes.
- Eye drops, eyelid cleaners, lid massage, warm compresses and eye drops can be used for treating dry eyes.
- Omega-3 fatty acids can be used to provide natural relief and also help in maintaining the proper function of the tear.
Cost of Dry Eyes Treatments
The cost of dry eyes treatments is available at a very affordable price in India. The treatment also depends upon the symptoms of dry eye syndrome.