Dry Eyes

What is Dry Eyes?

The chronic lack of adequate lubrication and moisture on the surface of the eye can result in a condition called dry eye syndrome. Dry eye occurs when the eye does not produce tears properly, or wh...

Symptoms

Dry eye symptoms may include any of the following:

  • Stinging or burning of the eye.
  • A sandy or gritty feeling as if something is in the eye.
  • Episodes of excess tears following very dry eye periods.
  • A stringy discharge from the eye.
  • Pain and redness of the eye.
  • Episodes of blurred vision.
  • Heavy eyelids.
  • Inability to cry when emotionally stressed.
  • Uncomfortable contact lenses.
  • Decreased tolerance of reading, working on the computer, or any activity that requires sustained visual attention.
  • Eye fatigue.

 

Causes

Dry eye can be a temporary or chronic condition. Some of its probable causes include:

  • Side effects of medications such as antihistamines, nasal decongestants, tranquilizers, certain blood pressure medicines, Parkinson’s medications, birth control pills, and antidepressants.
  • Skin disease on or around the eyelids.
  • Diseases of the glands in the eyelids, such as meibomian gland dysfunction.
  • Dry eye can occur in women who are pregnant.
  • Dry eye can also develop after the refractive surgery known as LASIK.
  • Chemical and thermal burns that scar the membrane lining the eyelids and covering the eye.
  • Infrequent blinking associated with staring at computer or video screens, may also lead to dry eye symptoms.
  • Both excessive and insufficient dosages of vitamins can contribute to dry eye.
  • Dry eye may occur from exposure keratitis, in which the eyelids do not close completely during sleep.

 

Risks

The main risk factors include:

  • Computer use.
  • Contact lens wear.
  • Aging.
  • Menopause.
  • Indoor environment.
  • Outdoor environment.
  • Frequent flying.
  • Smoking.
  • Health conditions.
  • Medications.
  • Eyelid problems.

 

 

Prevention

To prevent the occurrence of this disease, there are certain things one should take care of:

  • Using artificial eye drops regularly.
  • Avoiding smoke.
  • Being aware of the environment.
  • Adding moisture to the air.
  • Positioning your computer screen below eye level.

How is diagnosed?

The only sure shot way to find out if you are suffering from dry eyes syndrome is to get your eyes thoroughly checked by an optometrist or ophthalmologist. At Medanta, our ways to diagnose dry eyes...

How is it treated?

Depending on the causes of dry eye, our doctor may use various approaches to relieve your symptoms at Medanta. Dry eye can be managed as an ongoing condition. 

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  • Cyclosporine

    It is an anti-inflammatory medication, and is the only prescription drug available to treat dry eye. It decreases corneal damage, increases basic tear production, and reduces symptoms of dry eye. In some cases of severe dry eye, short term use of corticosteroid eye drops is required which decreases inflammation.
    If dry eye results from taking a medication, your doctor may recommend switching to a medication that does not cause the dry eye side effect.

     

  • Avoiding contact lenses

    If wearing contact lens is the problem, your eye care practitioner may recommend another type of lens or may ask you to reduce the number of hours you wear your lenses. In the case of severe dry eye, your eye care professional may advise you not to wear contact lenses at all.

  • Usage of plugs

    Another option is to plug the drainage holes, small circular openings at the inner corners of the eyelids where tears drain from the eye into the nose. Lacrimal plugs also called punctal plugs, can be inserted painlessly by an eye care professional. The patient usually does not feel them. These plugs are made of silicone or collagen, are reversible, and are a temporary measure. In severe cases, permanent plugs may be considered.

  • Punctal cautery

    In some cases, a simple surgery called punctal cautery is recommended to permanently close the drainage holes. The procedure helps keep the limited volume of tears in the eye for a longer period of time.

  • Eye healthy foods

    In some patients with dry eye, supplements or dietary sources (such as tuna fish) of omega-3 fatty acids (especially DHA and EPA) may decrease symptoms of irritation. The use and dosage of nutritional supplements and vitamins should be discussed with your primary medical doctor.

When do I contact the doctor?

You should immediately consult a doctor, if you experience symptoms like burning of the eye, pain and redness of the eye, heavy eyelids, and sensitivity to light. These symptoms will be treated just right by our clinical and medical experts at Medanta. 

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