Dry eye syndrome is defined by lack of tears or inability to maintain a normal layer of tears to coat the eyes. Due to this, the eyes could not get rid of dust or other irritants.
Spending long hours in dry environments, computer work or reading extensively can further aggravate the eyes. An individual with dry eye syndrome is prone to bacterial infections or the surface of the eyes can end up inflamed, resulting to scarring of the cornea. Luckily, the condition will not lead to lasting vision loss.
What are the signs?
The usual sign of dry eye syndrome is eye pain, burning and redness. Other symptoms that might be present include watery tearing or stringy mucus in the eyes.
The eyes tend to tire faster than usual or there is difficulty reading or working on a computer for long periods. In addition, there is also a gritty sensation and blurred vision.
What are the causes?
Some of the usual causes of dry eye syndrome include:
- Exposure to dry air or wind
- Hormonal replacement therapy
- Certain medications such as nasal decongestants, antihistamines, antidepressants and birth control pills
- LASIK eye surgery
- Not blinking regularly
- Staring at a computer for prolonged periods
- Long-term use of contact lens
Management of dry eye syndrome
Some of the treatment options for the condition include the following:
- Artificial tears – those that increase the eye moisture is commonly used. In some cases, artificial tears are also beneficial.
- Lacrimal plugs – the doctor might utilize plugs to block the drainage holes in the corners of the eyes to slow down the loss of tears.
- Medications – an anti-inflammatory specifically cyclosporine is given for dry eye syndrome. The drug works by increasing the number of tears in the eyes and reduces the risk of damage to the cornea. In severe cases, corticosteroid eye drops for a brief period is given as the medication takes effect.
- Nutrition – a well-balanced diet with vitamins and proteins can keep the eyes healthy. Omega-3 essential fatty acid supplements are suggested to improve the oil content in the eye.
- Surgery – in severe cases that do not settle with other treatment options, surgery is suggested. The drainage holes in the inner corners of the eyes might be permanently plugged to allow the eyes with enough tears.
- Home remedies – for dry eyes, a humidifier can be used to increase the moisture in the room. Try to limit the use of contact lenses and time spent in front of a computer.