A Brief Introduction of Dry Eye Syndrome
Dry eye, as indicated by the very name, is a syndrome that shows your eyes are dry due to a persistent lack of sufficient lubrication and moisture on the surface of pupils. To make it more perceivable, our eyes need tears from times to times to maintain certain level of lubrication and moisture, otherwise, our vision and viewing comfort will be greatly influenced. There are several components in tears that separately do their job, water for moisture; oils for lubrication; mucus for further spreading; and some antibodies and special proteins for infection-resistant purpose. So lacking in tears, our eyes are extremely susceptible to all kinds of disorders.
The symptoms of Dry Eye
When you are experiencing dry eye syndrome, that is, your eyes don’t receive enough tears to lubricate themselves, and you would in all probability suffer from the following symptoms:
- itchy feeling
- redness of pupils
- blurred vision
- foreign body sensation ( feeling that something in your eyes)
- light sensitivity
- gritty/scratchy feeling
The impact of Dry Eye Syndrome
Statistics show that at least 5% of Americans suffer from mild, moderate, or severe dry eyes, with more than eight million people utilizing artificial tears preparations in any given year. Besides its affecting ocular health, our general wellbeing, emotions and work will also be influenced in a great measure. In addition, there are immeasurable indirect costs related to decreased productivity and efficiency and lost work time.
The causes of Dry Eye Syndrome
The Dry Eye Syndrome can be caused by the following factors:
- imbalance in the tear-flow system of the eye
- result of natural aging, menopause in particular
- side effects of certain drugs, antihistamines, birth control pills, pain killers, to name a few
- some diseases’ complications-Sjogren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, and collagen vascular diseases, all of which can influence eye’s ability to produce tears
- exposure to a dry, windy climate, as well as smoke and air conditioning, which can speed tear evaporation
The treatment for Dry Eye Syndrome
It is really hard to eradicate the root of dry eye syndrome, though, a few countermeasures can be of service to your avail, to ameliorate your discomfort and offer relief. Treatments for dry eye syndrome often include:
1. Apply some artificial tear drops and ointments to add to lubrication. Dry eye syndrome is not an insurmountable disease, the simple application of some artificial tear drops and ointments will do you good, and they are normally the primary first treatment for dry eye. You can get them over the counter.
2. Temporary punctal occlusion. If artificial tear drops don’t suffice, the time is ripe for you to do some temporary punctal occlusion, which means to close the ducts that drain tears out of the eye. This may be done temporarily with a plug that can be removed or will dissolve over a few days is inserted into the tear drain of the lower eyelid to determine whether permanent plugs can provide an adequate supply of tears.
3. Permanent punctal occlusion. Suppose temporary plugging of the tear drains does the trick, you should think about exercise permanent punctal occlusion, which will hold tears around the eyes to improve lubrication for a greater length of time. The plugs can be removed. Rarely, the plugs may come out spontaneously or migrate down the tear drain. Many patients find that the plugs improve comfort and reduce the need for artificial tears.
4. Restasis. The FDA approved the prescription eye drop Restasis for the treatment of chronic dry eye. It is currently the only prescription eye drop that helps your eyes increase their own tear production with continued use.
5. Other medications. Other medications, including topical steroids, may also be beneficial in some cases.
6. Surgery. If circumstances demands, the ducts that drain tears into the nose can be permanently closed to allow more tears to remain around the eye. This is done with local anesthetic on an outpatient basis. There are no limitations in activity after having this surgery.