When adequate tears are not produced, and /or unusual excessive evaporation of tears happens, this will cause eye irritation. This is called dry eye. The eyes will be dry and reddish. This requires attention and care.
Dry eye can be caused by any of the factors that affect tear production. Common causes for these Include
- Changes in the body with age
- Changes in hormone levels
- Excessive sunlight high winds or dry weather
- Working long hours in altered humid conditions such as room heaters, air conditioners etc.
- Excessive close work with computers, I pad gadgets, mobile phones etc., especially associated with decreased blinking.
- Contact lens
- Autoimmune diseases affecting the eye ( Sjogrens syndrome) or the whole body ( Rheumatoid arthritis etc.)
Most people are asymptomatic to some extent. Some people experience pain with severe symptoms.
- Dry eyes or sore eyes
- Redness in the eyes
- Sticking of eyelids while waking up from sleep
- Excessive watery eyes
- Blurred vision
Dry eye Management:
To maintain adequate tears in the eyes, the doctor may prescribe artificial tears as medication, along with lifestyle modifications. The drug is used as an eye drop. Since these eye drops do not contain preservatives, keep it in a clean safe place with the lid dropper firmly closed at all times. Once you open and start using from a bottle, it is important to discard the bottle at the recommended intervals. People affected by rheumatoid arthritis should take precautions to avoid their eyes becoming dry. People suffering from common physical ailments should consult a general practitioner to keep their normal body functions better. Continue taking medications if prescribed. Some may need surgery to prevent more tears from coming out of the tear duct.
Precautions to avoid dry eyes:
- Give a warm compress to your eyes. This will help to unblock the blocked tear glands. You can massage your lids to “milk out” any obstructions to the tear ducts.
- Rinse and clean your eyelids frequently with clean water.
- Blinking spreads tears over the cornea. Make regular blinking at regular intervals. Blink especially when watching TV, reading or working on a computer.
- Wear quality sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sunlight.
- Quit smoking or avoid being closer to people while smoking. Even high winds can dry out your eyes. When sitting in an AC room, do not sit facing the AC blower.
- Eat food items that are rich in omega 3 fatty acids (Fish, Walnuts, Olive oil, etc.,) to improve quality of tears
Adherence to these methods can prevent dry eyes.