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Dry Eye Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms, and Relief Options

Author: Fardeen Ahmed

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Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry eye disease affects the tear film that covers your cornea. Dry eye syndrome is a common condition that occurs when your tears are unable to provide adequate lubrication for your eyes. The lack of tear stability leads to inflammation and damage to the eye surface. You need a smooth and stable tear film to help you see comfortably. Dry eye condition is a multifactorial disease and it takes a while to get to the root of the problem and figure out the cause. Hence, it is important to establish a regular appointment with your eye specialist to manage this condition.

Dry Eye Syndrome Types

There are several types of dry eye disease:

  • Aqueous Deficient Dry Eye

This type of dry eye is characterised when your eyes don’t produce enough tears. The lacrimal gland present in the upper, outer corner of your eye is responsible for producing aqueous tears, which make up the middle layer of the three-layer tear film. Some underlying conditions can cause inflammation of the lacrimal gland and prevent it from producing aqueous tears.

  • Evaporative Dry Eye

You have an evaporative dry eye if your tears evaporate too quickly. This could be due to meibomian gland dysfunction. These glands are responsible for the production of the outer oily layer of the tear film and the presence of an unstable oily layer will fail to protect the watery layer from drying up and result in dry eye.

  • Mixed Dry Eye

If your eyes don’t produce enough tears and your eyes have an unstable oily layer, then it is referred to as mixed dry eye.

Dry Eye Syndrome Symptoms

When you have dry eyes, you might feel like there’s something in your eye that just won’t come out. This could feel like a scratchy or gritty sensation. Other symptoms may also include:

  • Burning or stinging sensation
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Blurred or changed vision
  • Stringy mucus that comes out of your eye
  • Watery eyes due to an unstable oily layer
  • Eye redness
  • Eye fatigue

Dry Eye Syndrome Causes

Dry eyes are caused due to the disruption of the healthy tear film. Your tear film is made up of three layers: fatty oils, aqueous fluid and mucus. This combination is responsible for keeping the surface of your eyes lubricated, smooth and clear. Problems with any of these layers can cause dry eyes. Factors affecting the stability and function of tear film could be:

  • Environment & Lifestyle Factors

Things like the weather, prolonged exposure to digital screens, usage of contact lenses, smoking or allergies can increase your risk of dry eye.

  • Medications

Certain medications can increase your risk of dry eye, including some that treat depression, allergies, blood pressure, glaucome, menopause and pain. Drugs like anticholinergics, oral contraceptives and systemic retinoids can also increase the risk of dry eyes as well.

  • Medical Condition

Certain neurological conditions, eye conditions, autoimmune conditions and endocrine conditions can increase your risk of dry eye.

Dry Eye Syndrome Treatments

There are many possible dry eye syndrome treatments available. Your eye specialist will decide which treatments to go for based on the severity of your symptoms and underlying causes if any.

  • Home Remedies & Lifestyle Changes

If your symptoms are mild, they can be managed with simple lifestyle changes and home remedies like:

  • Avoiding environmental triggers like cigarette smoke, air vents blowing towards your face, wind and allergens. We recommend using wraparound glasses or sunglasses when outdoors.
  • If you live in a place with very low humidity levels, consider using a humidifier to alleviate dry eye symptoms.
  • Place a warm compress or heat mask (for eyes) over your eyes and leave it on for 5 minutes. This can help ease your symptoms and allow your meibomian glands to produce more lipids.
  • Take frequent breaks when you’re reading or using a digital screen. Try to include the 20/20/20 rule in your routine. Every 20 minutes, stop and focus your eyes on something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Also, often remind yourself to blink while using digital screens to help tear production.
  • Take omega-3 fatty acid supplements.

  • Medications

Medications prescribed for dry eyes are mostly eye drops. Some common options are:

  • Artificial tears that lubricate and soothe your eyes to give temporary relief from symptoms. Some versions contain lipids, which can help prevent tear evaporation. However, artificial tears don’t treat the underlying cause of dry eye disease.
  • Application of thicker lubricants like ointments at night to help with dry eyes while sleeping.
  • Eye drops to treat inflammation in your tear glands or provide lubrication.
  • Tablet supplements to prevent dry eye

  • Advanced Treatment Options

At Nethradhama, our expert eye professionals can perform advanced treatment procedures to help your dry eye. 

  • Intense Pulsed Light Treatment

This therapy involves the use of light pulses to melt the thick substances that block the meibomian glands. This helps in opening up the clogged oil glands, so oil can flow through them freely.

How can Nethradhama help you?

Dry eye disease has many causes and is a very common condition. But an eye care provider like Nethradhama Super Speciality Eye Hospital, with its team of experienced doctors and cutting-edge infrastructure, can help you with dry eye concerns, determine the underlying cause and provide you with suitable treatment options. Talk to us if your current treatments aren’t working or if you want to understand further about your condition.

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