Dry eye causes and treatments

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Resulting from chronic lack of sufficient lubrication and moisture in the eye, dry eye is very common ocular condition affecting people at all ages. Dry eye syndrome has various symptoms, e.g. persistent dryness, foreign body sensation, scratching and burning eyes, which may lead to subtle but constant irritation or ocular inflammation of the front eye tissue. To diagnose dry eye syndrome, the eye doctor may use a Schirmer test to measure the amount of tears.

Dry eye can be caused by a huge variety of factors

The direct reason for dry eye is tear insufficiency or rapidly evaporating tears. Tears are critical for good eye health because they can wash out dust and debris and keep the eye moist. In this case, problems associated with any of the tears’ layers including oily lipid layer, watery lacrimal layer and mucous layer can lead to dry eye.  Dry eye syndrome can result from natural aging, side effects from certain medications such as antihistamines, certain blood pressure medicines and so on. Dry environments such as dusty or windy climate and air conditioning system can also dry out the eyes in an abnormal way. Incomplete closure of eyelids, eye diseases and even long-term contact lens wearing are some of the other reasons for dry eye.

Artificial tears are widely used for dry eye relief

While dry eye syndrome is hard to cure, its symptoms such as dryness, scratchiness and burning can be alleviated easily by using artificial tears. Restasis and “get the red out” eye drops that help the eye produce more tears are also useful for relieving dry eye symptoms. But dry eye patients should be careful of some red reduction formulas, because they may perform by contracting the eye’s blood vessels and make the users addictive to them.

Tips of dry eye prevention in different circumstances

In most cases, contact rewetting drops are sufficient for people wearing contact lenses to achieve temporary effects of eye moisture. If some people want to take eye drops for longer comfort, remember to take off the lenses before applying the drops. Check with an optometrist or ophthalmologist to determine which type of eye drop is appropriate and its regular price. Sunglasses can protect the eyes from direct sunshine, so that tears are also under protection from accelerated evaporation. An air cleaner can filter out dust and a humidifier adds moisture to air, all of which are helpful.

Plugs that prevent tears drainage

Another treatment for dry eye involves the prevention of tears drainage. Lacrimal plugs or punctal plugs can be plugged in the lacrimal ducts to keep tears in the eyes, which can be conducted in the doctor’s office painlessly. These plugs can be made of silicone, acrylic or hydrogel. For people who can not get a good effect from these plugs, their ducts should be closed surgically. Compared with other solutions like eye drops, the use of plugs in the eye is more thorough and can even “cure” dry eye completely.

Dry eye prevention by taking certain nutrients

Nutritional supplement is another helpful solution to dry eye. Consumption of cold-water fish such as sardines, cod, herring and salmon that contain fatty acids is reported as a good way to alleviate eye dryness. Taking a balanced diet is really important for eye health. If dry eye is caused by certain types of medications, the right action is to consult an eye doctor about a possible switch to another medication.

Dry eye treatments in some other situations

Antibiotic or steroid drops are also treatments if dry eye is caused by an underlying eyelid disease such as blepharitis. Contact lenses may also result in dry eye, in which case it is necessary to stop wearing them and probably switch to another type of lenses. Good outcome of a LASIK surgery is always linked with the absence of dry eye, whereas dry eye as a postoperative complication requires eye drop administration.