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Dry Eye Syndrome (DES) is a condition in which there is an imbalance between tear production and drainage on the surface of the eyes. This results in tears that evaporate too quickly, leaving the eyes feeling uncomfortable and irritated.
Note: This is strictly not a medical article and does not contain direct treatments. Simple-level recommendations were compiled by compiling the resources found on the Internet. Please do not take this article seriously in case of a serious illness and consult a doctor directly. It contains practical recommendations for simpler treatments.
What Are Dry Eyes and Dry Eye Syndrome?
Dry eye syndrome (DES) is a condition where there’s an inadequate supply of tears on the surface (or “lubricating”) part of the eye. A regular supply of tears helps prevent irritation and keeps the eye moist, which makes reading easier and reduces the risk of developing cataracts.
Tears help cleanse the eyes’ surface by keeping it moist and washing away dirt, debris, and microbes that could damage the corneal tissue and cause an infection.
The normal human tear film has three main components:
- An oily (lipoid) component made by meibomian gland cells in the eyelids,
- An aqueous (watery) substance secreted by lacrimal glands situated behind the outer aspect of your upper eyelid.
- An aqueous component produced by, Mucus is a sticky substance that coats the inside of your eyes. It protects them from foreign objects and keeps infections at bay. Mucus is a thin, sticky fluid secreted from glands called mucosa.
Each component of the human tear fluid has its own specific role to play. For instance, tear lipids help prevent the tear fluid from evaporating too quickly so that it doesn’t run off the eyes’ surface. Tear mucins help spread the tear fluid evenly across the surface of the eyes.
Dry eyes can cause them to feel scratchy and irritated.
Dry eyes can cause mild to severe discomfort. They may even lead to permanent damage of the front part of the eyeball.
Dry eyes are often referred to by several different names including keratitis sicca (Kerato), dry eyes, and dysfunctional tear syndromes. They’re usually caused by an imbalance between the production and drainage of tears.
Dry Eye Categories
Dry eye symptoms come in various forms, depending on which part of the body they affect.
If the meibomian gland doesn’t produce enough oil, then the tear film may evaporates too quickly. This is an issue known as “evaporative dry eyes.” Meibomian gland disease (MGD) is now known to be one of the factors in many cases of dry eyes.
Dry eye can be caused by several different factors, including a lack of tears (aqueous deficiency dry eye), an excess of tears (overly wetting the cornea) or both.
Your eye care professional may recommend one particular type of treatment for your dry eye depending on which type of dry eye you have.
Causes & Risk Factors
Dry eye syndrome occurs when there isn’t an adequate supply of watery fluid for lubricating the surface of the eyeball. It may be caused by insufficient tear production or inadequate drainage of the tear film from the ocular surface.
Inadequate amount of tears:
Tears are produced by multiple glands in and around the eyes. Tearing occurs because of an imbalance between the fluids inside the eyeball (the aqueous) and those outside (the mucus). Dryness of the cornea causes irritation and inflammation of the conjunctiva, resulting in tearing. In addition, the lacrimal gland produces tears to keep the surface of the cornea moist. A lack of moisture in the air surrounding the eyes leads to drying out of the eyes.
Poor quality of tears:
Tears are composed of three components: liquid, protein, and lipid. Each component serves a specific function. The liquid provides lubrication and protection for the eyes. Protein coats the outside of the eyelid and prevents dirt particles from entering the eyes. Lipids coat the inside of the eyelid and help keep moisture in the eyes. When one of these components becomes deficient, dry eyes may occur.
Dry eyes can develop from many different causes, including:
Age: Dry eye syndrome (DES) is a common condition among older adults. Most people over age 65 experience at least one symptom of DES.
Gender: Pregnancy, the use of oral contraceptive pills, and menopause are among the causes of dry eye disease in women.
Medications: Some drugs, such as antihistamines, decongestants, blood pressure medication, and antidepressants, can decreased tear production.
Medical conditions: Dry eyes may be caused by several different conditions. Some people who suffer from these conditions are more prone to developing dry eyes than others.
Smoke: Dryness of the cornea can be caused by exposure to smoke, wind, and dry climate conditions. Blinking frequently may help prevent dryness of the cornea. Staring at a computer screen for extended periods of time may cause dryness of the corneal surface.
Other factors: Dryness of the eye may result from long-term use of contact lens. Refractive eye surgery, such as laser vision correction (LASIK), can cause decreased tear secretion and lead to dry eye.
If you have advanced dry-eyedness, you could be at risk for damaging the front surface of your eyeball and causing permanent vision loss.
Management and Treatment
It’s important to talk to an ophthalmologist (an eye specialist) if you experience symptoms of dry eye. Sometimes, dry eye is caused not just by dry air but by another underlying medical problem, so it’s important to rule out any other conditions that may cause the dryness.
Here are some common ways to treat dry eyes:
Topical Cyclosporine eye drops (Restasis®):
These are given twice daily in each eye to treat underlying inflamma. This is strictly not a medical article and does not contain direct treatments. Simple-level recommendations were compiled by compiling the resources found on the Internet. Please do not take this article seriously in case of a serious illness and consult a doctor directly. It contains practical recommendations for simpler treatments.tion in the tear gland so they produce more and improved quality tears. It typically requires one to four month before the Cyclosporine A drop reduces symptoms and sign of dry eye. These eye drop medications have been found to be effective and safe.
The main adverse effects include burning sensation upon application, which usually improves with continued therapy. Occasionally, the physician may also prescribe topical steroids (cortisone) prior to initiating Cyclosporine A to hasten the recovery process and minimize any discomfort associated with the medication. Corticosteroid eye drop medications should not be used long-terms because they can lead to cataract formation, glaucoma, and thinning of the cornea.
These drops are also used twice daily in each eye to help relieve the underlying irritation in the tear glands. FDA approval was granted for XitiDRA to be used to help alleviate the symptoms associated with dry eyes within two months of use. It is the first drug in a new class known as LFA-1 antagonists.
Artificial tear drops and ointments:
The primary symptom of Sjögren’s syndrome is painless blurring of vision due to damage to the lacrimal glands. Artificial tear solutions may temporarily relieve these symptoms, but they do not cure the underlying problem. In addition, repeated application of artificial tear solution can irritate the eyes and lead to further problems. Therefore, if you have Sjögren’s Syndrome, you should avoid using artificial tear products unless directed by your doctor. You may also experience burning, stinging, itching, redness, swelling, or discharge from your eyes. These symptoms are caused by inflammation of the eyelids and surrounding tissues. Your doctor may prescribe medications to reduce the irritation.
Temporary punctal occlusion:
Sometimes it is necessary for an individual to close the ducts through which tears flow out of the eyes. This can be accomplished through a simple surgical procedure where a small piece of plastic is placed inside the tear duct. The plastic dissolves within a short period of time. This is a temporary measure taken to determine whether permanent implants will provide relief.
Permanent punctal occlusion:
If temporary plugging of the tear drains works very well or if plugging is considered to be important for the wellbeing of the eyeball, then silicon tubes may be utilized. (Some doctors will go straight to silicon tubes without using temporary punctal occlusion.) The everlasting tubes will keep the eyes moist as long as they’re in position. They can be taken off. Occasionally, the tubes may fall off on their own or slide down the tear drain. A lot of people discover that the tubes enhance comfort and decrease the requirement for artificial lubricants.
If necessary, the duct that drains tears from the eyes can be permanently blocked to prevent tears from draining into the nose. This is usually done with local anesthesia on an outpatient basis. Topical cyclosporine A may be used for up to six weeks before permanent punctal occlusion to ensure the patient doesn’t experience epiphora when the dryness is treated and the lacrimal gland produces more tears.
Symptoms can be greatly improved by these treatment options.
If you have not used the drops and other drugs here before and you are worried about their side effects, definitely consult your doctor and use them afterwards. These do not replace medical advice.
Will fish oil help dry eye?
Omega-3 fatty acids may be safe for use, but there isn’t enough evidence yet to recommend their use for preventing or treating dry eye disease.
Are there any risks associated with dry eyes?
Anyone can get dry eye, but you might be more likely to have dry eye if you:
- Are aged 50 or older
- Are women
- Use contacts lenses
- You don’t need to worry too much if you’re not getting enough vitamin A or omega-3 fatty acid.
- If you have certain autoimmune diseases, like lupis or sjogren’s syndrome.
What will my eye doctors look at when they examine my eyes?
You may be able to get an estimate of your risk of developing dry eyes from your optometrist during a routine visit. During a comprehensive dilated examination, your optometrist will examine your eyes for signs of dryness and other conditions.
If you’re concerned that you may have dry eyes, ask your doctor to test for them by checking:
- The amount of watery eyes your eyes make,
- How long it takes your eyes to stop crying,
- Your eyelid structure.
Dry eye syndrome can be relieved by using these techniques:
- Artificial tears are useful for treating dry eyes. You may want to use them occasionally during the day. They shouldn’t need to be preservative-free if used less than six time per day.
- Warm compresses help stimulate the flow of lymph fluid and may improve the overall condition of your eyes.
- If you want to avoid feeling dryness in your eyes, don’t sit in a windy, dusty, smoky environment, and don’t sit under an air conditioner.
- Keep an air conditioner running at night. This will help maintain humidity levels throughout the day.
- Make sure to take regular screen time off. You won’t blink as often if you’re staring at a screen for long periods of time, so make sure to take regular screen times off.
- Drinking enough fluids may be helpful for your tear ducts to produce more tears.
If those approaches aren’t working, you may be a good fit for:
- If your eyes get irritated by something, your doctor may recommend an anti-inflammatory drug, such as cyclosporine (Restasis) or Xiidra.
- Pluggs. For those who suffer from aqueous deficient dry eyes, an ophthalmologists can insert a tiny plastic tube into your tear-drip channel. Placed inside the inner corners of your eyes, a tube prevents tears from draining out and keeps them moist. It’s a quick procedure that takes places in your doctors office. The tubes are either temporary (drying within days to months) or permanent (lasting at least a couple of years).
- Contact lenses can be helpful if they’re worn properly. However, wearing them incorrectly can cause even more damage than not wearing them at all.
- However, there isn’t a single treatment for dry eyes. It requires multiple treatments and different approaches.