Are you wondering if you have dry eye syndrome? If your tears evaporate quickly or your eyes fail to produce enough tears, you might have dry eye syndrome. It is a condition where the tears cannot properly lubricate the eyes. In the human body, tears can be unstable and inadequate due to various reasons like aging, lupus, scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis, or Sjogren’s syndrome.
However, this eye condition can be treated and managed well if diagnosed in time. If left untreated, dry eye can go on to result in declining vision and permanent corneal surface damage. It can also lead to inflammation and eye surface damage. It is a very uncomfortable condition as it can cause burning and stinging sensations. With dry eyes, you might also face problems while traveling in an airplane, functioning in an air-conditioned room, or riding a two-wheeler. To have a better idea, you could look here at ways to manage dry eyes.
- Natural aging.
- Certain medical conditions like lupus, scleroderma, allergic eye diseases, Sjogren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, thyroid disorders, and deficiency of vitamin A.
- Certain medications for hormone replacement therapies, antidepressants, antihistamines, decongestants, birth control, Parkinson’s disease, and acne.
- Desensitivity of the corneal nerve might be another reason for this condition. It can be caused by laser eye surgery, nerve damage, and overuse of contact lenses.
- Eye allergies.
- Blinking less than usual.
- Posterior blepharitis.
- Eyelids turning outward and inward.
- Reactions due to certain preservatives in topical eye drops.
- Environmental conditions like smoke, dry air, or wind.
- A burning or stinging sensation.
- Sensitivity towards the light.
- Changed or blurred vision.
- Formation of mucus in the eyes.
- Watery eyes with excessive tears running down the cheeks all the time.
Although the last symptom can be confusing, it is one of the most common aspects of having dry eyes. As meibomian glands are not making enough oils for the outer layer of your tear film, the watery layer in the middle evaporates fast, which results in your lacrimal glands compensating with watery tears.
Chronic dry eyes are considered to be a permanent condition that does not have a cure. But there are many treatments to manage dry eyes. You might need to try different treatments to find out what works best for you. You can talk to your ophthalmologist if the current treatment is not working for you and you want to discuss other options. However, you should also note that if your dry eyes are caused by environmental factors like overuse of contact lenses, living in a dry climate, or prolonged screen use, it can be temporary. Sometimes certain medications might also cause dry eyes and stopping those medications will stop the condition. You might also have this condition due to changing seasons and it might not persist as soon as the season changes again.
- Avoid environmental triggers like strong winds blowing toward your face or smoke coming out of cigarettes and incense sticks. You can wear sunglasses outdoors or wraparound glasses indoors as a preventive step.
- During the winters when it is natural to have very low humidity levels, your dry eye symptoms can go from bad to worse. This is when a humidifier can help. Use a humidifier in your bedroom or in any room where you stay for the most amount of time.
- Place a warm compressor or a heat mask over your eyes and leave it on for 10 minutes. It can ease the symptoms of dry eyes, by allowing your meibomian glands to produce more lipids.
- Take frequent breaks from the screen. Whether you are reading or using a computer, always practice the 20/20/20 rule. It says to stop and focus every 20 minutes and stare at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Always remember to blink often to help your tear production while browsing through your book or mobile.
- Try to take omega-3 fatty acid supplements which can support tear production and ease some of your dry eye symptoms. However, speak to your healthcare provider before taking any supplements.
Living with dry eyes is not easy. People might experience anxiety, depression, and frustration while dealing with this condition as it might hamper the quality of life and daily functions. Dry eyes can result from excessive tear evaporation or insufficient tear production. There are many treatments for dry eyes that can include anything from over-the-counter eye drops to lifestyle changes. You can speak with an ophthalmologist to find out more about managing and treating your dry eye condition. It is noteworthy that other underlying health conditions like those mentioned above might also cause dry eye conditions and improving them might improve the symptoms of your dry eye.