DID YOU KNOW?
“45% or nearly half of India’s urban population is likely to be affected by dry eye condition by the year 2030, roughly translating to a staggering 275 million people. Even rural India is likely to see 17 million new patients of dry eye disease every year.”
Dry eye is one of the most common reasons patients seek help from their eye doctor. It is a condition wherein your eyes do not produce enough tears. Dry eyes can lead to eye irritation and ultimately inflammation of the eye.
In this blog, we discuss important points on dry eye and some bonus tips to prevent it! Let’s dive into the dry eyes!
But, first, let us learn more about tears!
How do tears work?
We all know blinking is important for our eye health. Every time you blink, a tear film cleans the ocular surface of debris, and fresh tears spread over the eye. Every blink helps bring nutrients to the eye surface structures and keep them healthy. Now, you know why experts advise blinking exercise for good vision.
A tear film is made of three layers and each layer serves a purpose:
- An oily layer, the outside of the tear film, is made in the meibomian glands of the eye. It is responsible for keeping tears from drying up too quickly and making the tear surface smooth.
- A watery layer, the middle of the tear film, makes most of the tears and comes from the lacrimal glands present in the eyelids. It is responsible for cleaning the eye and helps wash away unwanted particles.
- A mucus layer, the inner layer of the tear film, keeps the eyes moist by spreading a watery layer over the surface of your eyes.
In general, your eyes consistently make tears and remain moist. When you cry, or your eyes are tired, your eyes tend to make a lot of tears. However, in some cases, the eyes cannot make enough tears and you end up with dry eyes.
Symptoms of Dry Eye
Here we have listed some of the symptoms of dry eye you need to be aware of:
- Blurred vision
- Stinging or burning eyes
- Strings of mucus in or around your eyes
- A gritty or scratchy feeling like something is in your eye
- Pain while wearing contact lenses.
- Red or irritated eyes, especially when you are in the wind or near cigarette smoke.
- Lots of tears in your eyes. This may sound odd but your eyes may make more tears when they are irritated.
Causes of Dry Eye
As you age, your eyes tend to make fewer tears due to hormonal changes. Although the condition is common in both men and women, it is more common in women—especially those who have gone through menopause.
Some of the causes of dry eye:
- Blepharitis (when eyelids are swollen or red)
- Entropion (when eyelids turn in); ectropion (eyelids turn outward)
- Certain diseases
- Using contact lenses for a long time
- Being in the smoke, wind, or a very dry climate
- Excessive reading, looking at a computer screen for a long time, and other activities that reduce blinking
- Having refractive eye surgery, such as LASIK
- Taking certain medicines, such as diuretics, antihistamines, sleeping pills, heartburn medicines, anxiety and depression medicines, etc.
Whenever you consult your ophthalmologist for dry eyes, let them know about all the prescription and non-prescription medicines you take.
Diagnosing Dry Eyes
With current advancements in eye care, there are many different tests to help diagnose dry eyes. The best ophthalmologist will begin with an eye exam. They will examine your eyelids and the surface of the eye and also check how you blink.
The ophthalmologist may do a test that measures the quality or the thickness of your tears and may also measure how quickly you produce tears.
Here’s an informative video by Dr. Soumya Basanth, the best eye doctor in Bangalore. She has shared some of the important insights into dry eyes. Do check out!
Treatment for Dry Eyes
This method involves the usage of artificial tears. You may be given certain eye drops that resemble your own tears. One can buy these artificial tears without a prescription and use them as often as one needs to. The market is full of brands, so if you’re confused about what works best for you, consult the best ophthalmologist near you.
Another treatment option for dry eyes is blocking your tear ducts, which makes your natural tears stay in the eyes for a longer time. The doctor may insert tiny gel or silicone plugs (called punctal plugs) in your tear ducts. You may remove these plugs later. Your ophthalmologist might prescribe you an eyedrop medication, which helps your eyes make more tears. If needed, the ophthalmologist might recommend surgery to permanently close your tear ducts.
Dry Eye Culprit Treatment
This approach involves the treatment of certain problems that irritate the eyes. To treat these issues, your ophthalmologist may recommend:
- prescription eye drops or ointments
- certain eyelid cleaners
- massaging your eyelids
- warm compresses on the eyes
Bonus Tips to Prevent Dry Eyes
- Protect your eyes from the drying wind by wearing glasses outside.
- If possible, try not to use a hairdryer.
- Don’t stay in very warm rooms. In winters, add moisture to the air with a humidifier.
- If you wake up with scratchy and dry eyes, use thick eye drops or artificial tear ointment just before you go to bed.
- Consult your ophthalmologist about a suitable diet for dry eye relief. You may ask to add omega-3 fatty acids.
Only a careful examination of your eyes by an eye doctor can reveal the presence and severity of dry eye and help your doctor determine the best type of dry eye treatment to keep your eyes healthy, comfortable, and seeing well.
Zamindar Microsurgical Eye Centre encourages everyone dealing with any symptoms related to dry eyes to visit the eye doctor regularly to avoid serious eye complications. If you would like to undergo a complete eye exam, please contact us at 080 4090 0562/ 97418 11667.