Dry Eye – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
- Main cause for dry eye is ageing.
- Various other causes include smoking, excessive exposure to sun rays, wind and air that is too dry.
- Allergy and cold medications and various other prescribed medicines may cause the mucous membrane in the eye to dry out leading to dry eye.
- Autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus etc., can cause dry eye since in these disorders, the immune system attacks the lachrymal glands.
- Eye injuries and other eye disorders that interfere with the proper functioning of the eye may lead to dry eye.
- Pain in the eye.
- Burning sensation.
- Nuisance or discomfort.
- Blurred vision.
- Tired feeling of the eye even after short duration of readings.
- This condition cannot be prevented however there are several techniques to reduce the severity.
- Avoid smoking and also exposure to second hand smoke.
- Avoid outdoors and protect the eyes from wind.
- It is advised to use a humidifier in order to make the indoor air rich in moisture during winter.
- Those who use hair dryer must keep the face away from air.
- While playing hockey, skiing and even while doing carpentry works, it is a must to protect the eyes with goggles.
- Eye drops may relieve pain and also mild cases of dry eye, since they replace the tear film around the cornea.
- In certain cases, a lubricating ointment can be used to reduce the scratchiness.
- If the pain and certain other side effects of dry eye do not get relieved through different medications, then we can go for the fitting of tiny silicone plugs that actually prevent the tears from draining out of the eye. These plugs are removable.
- For certain patients with dry eye, doctor may use a hot wire just to seal off the tear ducts so as to prevent the tear from draining.
- Acupuncture treatment may help certain people, as they can tolerate the condition better.
- However this treatment is not useful in improving the amount of tear that is secreted by the Meibomian glands.
- It is advised to blink eyes regularly to make the tears spread across the surface of the eyes to relieve dry eyes.
- Dry eye condition is diagnosed based on the symptom and other tests; one must consult doctor for treatment.
- The amount of tears that eye produces is measured using a device called the Schirmer test gauge.
- Doctors conduct blotting paper tests, where the doctor places strips of blotting paper just beneath the eyelids for 3 to 5 minutes and measures the amount of tears absorbed by the paper.
- Doctors also use eye drops to measure the evaporation rate of the tears and for the identification of dry spots on the cornea.