Dry eyes occur when the tears are not able to lubricate the eyes properly. This is quite a common symptom in today`s world, but poorly understood among the public.
Tears are a mix comprising of mucous, water and fatty oils which help in lubricating the eyes as well as protecting the eyes from infection.
The common symptoms::
- Eyes may sting or burn
- Scratching sensation
- Redness of the eyes
- Difficulty in wearing contact lenses
- Blurred vision
- Watering of the eyes
- Ageing. Those who are above the age of 50 have reduced tears production.
- Some diseases such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disorders, deficiency of vitamin A can be associated with dry eyes.
- Some medicines such as antihistaminics, some medicines for blood pressure control, anti depressants, hormone tablets can cause dryness of the eyes
- Inflammation or radiation can damage the tear glands
- Diseases of the eye lids where it is turned inwards or outwards can increase tear evaporation.
- Those exposed to smoke, hot air or heavy winds can have increased evaporation of tears.
- Reduced blinking of the eye lids as in those reading a lot or driving a lot or those using the computers for long hours can have dryness of the eyes.
- Those who consume a diet deficient in omega 3 or vitamin A can have dry eyes.
- Those using contact lenses are prone to dry eyes.
- Avoiding air blowing directly to the eyes from the air conditioners as in cars, hair dryers or fans.
- Humidified air will help
- Donning protective eye wear
- Giving the eyes breaks of rest while reading or computing for long hours at a stretch.
- Close eyes in between to reduce evaporation as when flying in aeroplanes, traveling through deserts or in high altitude areas.
- Position the computer below eye level
- Stopping smoking or avoiding being in a smoke filled room.
- Using artificial tears
- Meet the eye Dr who might advise antibiotics if inflammation is the cause or advise surgery if there are problems with the eye lids or tear ducts. The treatment depends on the severity.
- Special contact lenses, if applicable.
- Eye drops ( artificial tears) can be those with preservatives to increase shelf life or those without preservatives. The ones with the preservatives might be a cause of irritation.
- Eye ointments are oily and will last longer, but can cause clouding of vision and hence advised to be sued at night time before bedtime.