Dry eye occurs when the eye produces too few tears or the tears evaporate too quickly.
Dry eye can range from mild to severe. OTC medications may help in mild cases, while more severe cases may require prescription medications. In rare cases, a person may need surgery to treat some causes of dry eye.
Lifestyle changes can also help treat and control the condition.
This article describes the symptoms and causes of dry eye and discusses the risk factors for the condition. We also provide information on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of dry eye syndrome and discuss some of the possible complications of the condition.
Dry eye symptoms
Dry eye syndrome can be accompanied by a variety of symptoms, including:
- redness or pain in the eyes
- excessive tearing
- stinging or burning sensation in the eyes
- feel the sand in my eyes
- thick mucus in or around the eyes
- sensitivity of the eyes to smoke or air
- sensitivity to light
- blurred vision, especially at the end of the day
- Double vision
- The eyes get tired even after reading
- it is difficult to open the eyes
- Discomfort when wearing contact lenses
- eyelids stick together when waking up
Some people have severe eye pain that can cause anxiety and difficulty in daily life.
Causes dry eyes
Healthy eyes have a permanent layer of “tear film“, a liquid membrane that provides clear vision and protects the eye from drying out. The lacrimal gland is responsible for the production of tears.
The main reason for dry eyes is a decrease in tear production and an imbalance in the tear mixture, which causes the eyes to evaporate too quickly.
Imbalance fractured mix
The tear duct has three layers: oil, water and mucus. Any of these problems can cause dry eye symptoms.
The upper layer of the tear mixture contains oil secreted by the meibomian gland at the edge of the eyelid. The oil helps lubricate the tear surface and slows down the rate of tear evaporation. Improper oil levels can cause tears to evaporate too quickly.
Some conditions can block the meibomian glands, inhibit oil production, and make the eyes more susceptible to dryness. Examples are the inflammatory disease of the eyelids, blepharitis and the inflammatory disease of the skin, rosacea.
The middle floor
The middle layer of the tear mixture is the thickest and contains water and salt from the lacrimal gland, or “tear”. Water and salt help clean the eyes by removing particles and irritants.
If the aqueous layer is too thin, the oil and mucus layers may come into contact with each other, resulting in the sticky discharge typical of dry eye.
The inner layer contains mucus that distributes the tears evenly in the eye. Problems with the inner layer can cause dry spots on the cornea, the clear membrane that sits in front of the iris and pupils.
Decreased tear production
At the age of 50, the production of tears decreases. When tear production falls below a certain level, the eyes can become dry, irritated and inflamed.
Risk factors for dry eyes
Here are some factors that can increase your risk of dry mouth.
Every time a person blinks, the eyelids collect a thin layer of tears on the surface of the eye. Eyelid problems can affect blinking, which distributes the tear film more evenly throughout the eye. Examples of such problems include:
- ectropion, where the eyelids turn outward
- entropion, where the eyelids move inward
Wearing contact lenses can also affect blinking, which can cause dry eyes.
Other medical conditions
Certain medical conditions can reduce tear production. for example:
- Lack of vitamin A
- Autoimmune diseases such as:
- Sjogren’s disease
- Arthritic joint disease
- Radiation therapy
- Environmental issues
Certain environmental factors can affect the amount of water vapor. for example:
- Weather factors such as drought, heat or wind
- Room heating or air conditioning
- Smoke exposure
- Using contact lenses
Other environmental factors can cause blurred vision, rapid eye inflammation, and dry eyes. for example:
- Using a computer screen
- you are reading
The following medications and medical procedures may cause or contribute to dry eye:
- Some diuretics
- Some sleeping pills
- ACE inhibitors (angiotensin converting enzyme).
- Some antidepressants
- Some acne medications, especially the isotretinoin family
- Morphine and other opiate pain relievers
Refractive surgery, such as laser-assisted in situ keratectomy (LASIK), can increase the risk of temporary dry eye.
Diagnosing dry eyes
To diagnose dry eye, doctors ask about a person’s symptoms and examine the eye. They may also perform a pupil exam to look at the back of the eye, which is a simple, painless procedure that involves giving the eye fluid to dilate the pupil.
A mydriatic test provides the following information:
- The number of tears that flow from the eyes
- Egg evaporation rate
- Eyelid shape
The doctor will review the person’s medical history and ask about any medications or supplements the person is taking.
Dry eye treatment is imminent
The goals of dry eye treatment are:
- Restore or maintain adequate tear levels
- Reduces dryness and discomfort
- Maintains overall eye health
Depending on the cause of dry eye, treatment may include one or more of the following methods:
- Another tear
- Hide your tears
- Increased tear production
- Close the cause
Over-the-counter artificial tears can be used to treat dry eyes. Your pharmacist can recommend the best product to use.
In general, products that contain preservatives or other additives should be avoided because they can make dry eyes worse.
Applying eye cream before engaging in activities that aggravate dry eye symptoms can help. Creams are best used at night because they can temporarily improve your vision.
Hide your tears
This procedure aims to keep tears in place longer to prevent dry eyes, and includes blocking tear ducts.
Treatment involves using a small silicone or gel-like plug to block the canal. Other permanent solutions include surgery to close the canal.
Prevent dry eyes
The American Optometric Association offers the following tips to help prevent dry eyes:
- It constantly vibrates when you read or look at the computer screen for a long time.
- Wear sunglasses outside to protect against the causes of dry eyes
- Avoid dry outdoor environments
- Use a humidifier at work or at home to increase the humidity in the room
- Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration
Talk to your doctor about what supplements you should take to treat dry eyes.
Dry eye problem
Most mild cases of dry eyes do not cause problems. However, severe or persistent cases can cause problems such as conjunctivitis, ulcers or corneal ulcers.
Conjunctivitis is the medical term for inflammation and swelling of the conjunctiva, the thin, membrane that covers the white part of the eye. Most cases of conjunctivitis are resolved with appropriate treatment. However, in severe cases, it can cause serious problems such as blindness.
Corneal lesions and ulcers not only cause pain, but can also cause permanent changes in a person’s vision.
Symptoms of conjunctivitis and corneal scarring can mimic those of dry eye. If you develop symptoms such as severe or worsening eye pain or vision changes, you should see a doctor immediately.