What is Dry Eye?

 
Dry eye occurs when the eye does not produce tears properly, or when the tears are not of the correct consistency and evaporate too quickly.
With each blink of the eyelids, tears spread across the front surface of the eye, known as the cornea. Tears provide lubrication, reduce the risk of eye infection, wash away foreign matter in the eye, and keep the surface of the eyes smooth and clear. Excess tears in the eyes flow into small drainage ducts in the inner corners of the eyelids, which drain into the back of the nose. Dry eyes can occur when tear production and drainage is not in balance.
In addition, inflammation of the surface of the eye may occur along with dry eye. If left untreated, this condition can lead to pain, ulcers, or scars on the cornea, and some loss of vision. However, permanent loss of vision from dry eye is uncommon.
 

Reasons for Dry Eyes

Dry eyes can develop for many reasons, including:
 

i) Age-The majority of people over age 65 experience some symptoms of dry eyes. ii) Medications- Certain medicines, including antihistamines, decongestants, blood pressure medications and antidepressants, can reduce tear production.

iii) Medical condition- People with rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and thyroid problems are more likely to have symptoms of dry eyes. Also, problems with inflammation of the eyelids (blepharitis), inflammation of the surfaces of the eye, or the inward or outward turning of eyelids can cause dry eyes to develop.
iv) Environmental conditions. Exposure to smoke, wind and dry climates can increase tear evaporation resulting in dry eye symptoms. Failure to blink regularly, such as when staring at a computer screen for long periods of time, can also contribute to drying of the eyes.

Dry eye symptoms may include any of the following:

 
-stinging or burning of the eye;
-a sandy or gritty feeling as if something is in the eye;
-episodes of excess tears following very dry eye periods;
-a stringy discharge from the eye;
-pain and redness of the eye;
-episodes of blurred vision;
 

How to treat Dry Eyes?

 
1.Adding tears
 Mild cases of dry eyes can often be managed using over-the-counter artificial tear solutions. These can be used as often as needed to supplement natural tear production. Preservative-free artificial tear solutions are recommended because they contain fewer additives, which can further irritate the eyes.
 
2.Wearing sunglasses 
Wearing glasses that fit close to the face (wrap around shades) or that have side shields can help slow tear evaporation from the eye surfaces. Indoors, an air cleaner to filter dust and other particles helps prevent dry eyes. A humidifier also may help by adding moisture to the air.
 
3.Increasing tear production
Your optometrist can prescribe eye drops that increase tear production. Taking an omega-3 fatty acid nutritional supplement may also help. Supplements or dietary sources (such as tuna fish) of omega-3 fatty acids (especially DHA and EPA) may decrease symptoms of irritation. The use and dosage of nutritional supplements and vitamins should be discussed with your primary medical doctor.
A Few Tips for Healthy Eyes
 
Remember to blink regularly when reading or staring at a computer screen for long periods of time.
To help alleviate digital eye strain, follow the 20-20-20 rule; take a 20-second break to view something 20 feet away every 20 minutes.
Avoiding becoming dehydrated by drinking plenty of water (8 to 10 glasses) each day.
Source-Doctorinsta.com

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